Surrounded by her family and friends, Ruth Elizabeth Branagan, known to her family and friends as Liz or Betty, passed away quietly on January 13, 2013 at Queen of the Valley Hospital. She was 84 years old.
Elizabeth was born November 14, 1928 in Berkeley, California to Marvin and Ruth Beeson. The couple had moved to the Napa Valley in the early 1930's and started to grow tomatoes. Elizabeth's father was known as the "Tomato King of Napa" and of course he always called his little girl the "Tomato Queen". They grew fancy beefsteak tomatoes that were wrapped individually by hand and placed in crates for shipment to China. Elizabeth attended Salvador elementary School and graduated from Napa High in 1946. When Elizabeth's father passed away she and her mother moved into town; that is when she met a handsome young man by the name of Eugene (Gene) Branagan. The couple married in 1948.
Gene and Betty opened Harmony Inn – it was a family owned business that sold televisions, musical instruments and appliances. Betty worked there for several years and in 1973 decided to return to work at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She retired in 1990 after 28 years of service. Betty had an endearing quality of giving nicknames to friends, family and people she may have just met. You might hear her call out Ignatz, Poopsie or Pussy Cat. As a cousin once said, "she always made me laugh". Betty participated in many local clubs: Beta Sigma Phi, Lionesses, Elks RV, MAD, and both she and Gene belonged to several RV groups. They lived for their RV adventures – they traveled in their 5th wheel trailer with RV groups, friends and family through 49 of the United States – twice! Both Betty and Gene loved their animal companions, their cats and dogs always traveled with them. Betty loved her children, grandchildren, her pets and Nascar. She never missed a Sunday or Saturday race on TV. Betty had the racing schedule, the time and the channel written down on her calendar and the TV was frequently on an hour before race time.
Betty is survived by her two children; daughter Darcy Branagan, her husband Nicholas Franco and their two children Eric Branagan-Franco and Bryce Branagan-Franco; son Brad Branagan and his wife Marilyn Branagan and their two children Kelly Branagan Egloff, her husband Steven Egloff, (great grandson) Evander Egloff and grandson Chase Branagan. Betty was preceded in death by her loving husband of 53 years, Eugene Branagan and her half brothers, Ronald and Albert Beeson. Services will be held for Betty on Saturday, February 16th at 2:30 P.M. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 1917 Third Street in Napa with a reception to follow in Turnbull Hall. The family suggests contributions in Betty's memory to a charity of the donor's choice in lieu of flowers. Treadway & Wigger is serving the family of Mrs. Branagan.
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