In Loving Memory of B. J. Finleybranch
5/23/2017, 3:22 p.m.
B.J. Finleybranch suffered a heart attack on April 27, 2017 and on May 3, 2017 slipped into the arms of the Lord Our Savior while surrounded by friends and family.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 3 at 2 p.m. at the Madeleine Parish Fireside Room, 3123 N.E. 24th Ave. Following the ceremony, friends and family are invited to celebrate and reminisce at McMenamins-Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Are.
Finleybranch was born on April 11, 1948 in New York City to Inez Brown and Westly Finley. Following the death of her mother, she was raised by her maternal aunt Lesley Warren, later attending and graduating from the High School of Commerce in Manhattan.
She married Harrison Branch Sr. and it was through that union that her only son, Harrison, was born. The family lived in various cities across the country, including New York, New Haven, Conn. and San Francisco before finally settling in Corvallis.
Following a divorce, she moved to Salem where she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in corrections from Colegio Caesar Chavez in Mt. Angel in 1977. She then earned an academic fellowship and studied at Baruch College in New York City.
She had a long career in state and county government, including work as a corrections officer at the Lane County Jail in Eugene; serving an investigator for the Bureau of Labor Industries; as a certification manager for the state of Oregon; and holding positions with the Oregon Youth Authority; Parole and Probation in Vancouver and Clackamas County.
Anyone who knew her knew she was an advocate who always taught and encouraged individuals to stand up for their rights. She was fearless when it came to fighting for social, legal, civil and political injustices. In 1980, she was appointed chairperson to Oregon's Commission on Black Affairs by the late Gov. Victor Atiyeh.
She was very spiritual and enjoyed cooking, fishing, camping and going to the beach. She enjoyed watching her favorite movies and TV shows like Downtown Abbey and The Big Bang Theory. She also raised several four footed family members that she loved dearly, including Grizzly, Symone, Liam and Kacio (recently adopted).
She was a volunteer on the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee; vice chair of Elders in Action; and served at several Catholic parishes, including Madeleine, where she was a member, and St. Charles and St. Andrew, also in northeast Portland. She was also a past member of Sigma Gamma Pho Sorority. Inc.
She was preceded in death by her parents; maternal aunt Rebecca Cobb; maternal uncle Norman Brown; and beloved pets Grizzly and Symone.
She leaves to mourn her passing, son Harrison Branch, his wife Annisa, and grandchildren Rianna, Nyah and Dylan Branch of Oregon; sister Michelle Hardy and her husband Emanuel of Westbury, N.Y.; maternal aunt Lesley Warren of Holly Hill, S.C.; paternal aunt Jane Rienzie and her husband Louis of Columbia, S.C.; as well as a host of cousins, other family members and friends who loved her.
Cremation services have been provided by Farnstrom Mortuary in Corvallis.