October 1, 1945 – September 22, 2022
Branda Mangum, a vivacious, generous soul who faced a life of challenges with élan, grace, wit, and a seemingly endless reserve of grit, passed away early on the afternoon of September 22, 2022, just a few days shy of what would have been her 77th birthday.
Her artist’s eye coupled with a commitment to excellence created astounding quilts, intricate needlepoint, and brilliant decorative arts bursting with imagination, art that reflected her unsinkable beauty, both inside and out. Those creative endeavors were matched by a devotion to gardening, regularly growing multiple crops each year regardless of where life took her, regardless of soil or season. From the scrub palm woods of northern Florida to the lush Oregon Coast, she coaxed cornucopia of fruits and vegetables and every flower lucky enough to fall within her green-thumbed grasp.
That commitment also produced a relentless fighter and champion for good, crystallized by her joining the U.S. Marines the day after she graduated high school. She would go on to serve with distinction and honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant. While stationed in Camp Pendleton she met Corporal Rodney Wallace “Rod” Brandon. The couple married in June, 1968. After being honorably discharged, the couple moved to his family’s cattle ranch on the Oregon coast near Reedsport and over the next 20 years raised two sons - Troy, and Eric.
Always active in their small community, Branda volunteered at the Smith River Grange and her sons’ schools in Reedsport and Gardiner, and other community groups as well as being an elected school board member.
In the late 1980’s, the Brandon’s divorced, and Branda moved to St. Augustine Beach, Florida, to spend the summer with one of her brothers while she started a position at a local dentist office.
At the dentist office she met a patient, “Mike” Mangum and the two began to date. They eventually married in October, 1989 and settled nearby in Palatka. Branda not only gained a new husband but a new family, becoming stepmother to Mike’s adult children from a previous marriage – Jill, and Steve.
For several years the Mangum’s would journey to the Oregon Coast to spend extended periods at her son, Eric’s ranch near Reedsport. Besides being able to enjoy time with Eric and his wife, they also had the opportunity to watch their only grandchild, Avery grow from infant to high schooler. Avery graduated high school this past June.
In addition to her husband, Branda is survived by her two sons and their wives, Troy and Carrie Brandon, Eric and Laura Brandon, and grandson Avery; stepdaughter, Jill Cunningham (Craig); stepson, Steve Mangum (Rebecca); her brothers, Daniel (Anina), Robert (Patty), John (Ross) and George (Sharon).
The family plans a private memorial service and asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Community Hospice and Palliative Care.