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Branch celebrates turning 100

By Dawn Burleigh

Thursday was a day for celebrating as Violet L. LeBlanc Branch turned 100 years old.

She was surrounded by her friends and family as more friends drove by in a parade to celebrate the monumental occasion.

Standing by her side throughout the parade were her son, West Orange City Councilman Randy Branch, and her daughter, Holly Dixson. Her oldest son, who flew in from Utah for the occasion, videoed the precious memories.

Randy thanked each car as they passed, “Thank you and God bless you.”

Her young friends, Clarence Kyte, 94, and Virginia Sanford, 96, were also nearby to watch the parade with her.

Violet was born on Feb. 4, 1921 and raised in her parent’s café in Port Arthur. She met her husband just prior to WWII. They were married for 70 years when he passed in 2013.

After the war ended, the couple moved to Orange and started a family. She has five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Violet was active in the Women’s Club of Orange until it disbanded where she served as president and several other offices over the years.

She was also an avid Bridge player and only stopped due to the COVID pandemic. One of her Bridge partners stopped by to with her Happy Birthday.

Many of her friends commented that Violet always said she would make it to 100.

Violet volunteered to help children to read after her own children were grown.

She loved to travel and made several trips to Europe. She is also a member of Faith United Methodist Church in Orange and also attends Wesley United Methodist Church in Orange, where her son Randy is lead pastor.

After the parade, Orange Mayor Larry Spears, Jr. got down on one knee to read a proclamation declaring February 4th as Violet L. LeBlanc Branch Day in honor of her 100th birthday, bring a tears to her eyes.

As he handed her the proclamation, he wished her a happy birthday.