Arleen R. Branson, 96, of Lyons, Kansas, died November 22, 2022 at the Country Living of Lyons. She was born on April 20, 1926 on her parents’ farm south of Bushton, Kansas to Elmer and Anna Schroeder Wesseler.
Arleen had said that she had a fun and interesting childhood growing up on the farm with her brother Orville. She was the last surviving member of the Class of 1944 at Bushton High School. Arleen attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas and then Adela Hale Business Career School in Hutchinson, Kansas. Returning to Lyon to begin her young adult life, she worked in Lyon for the Rice County Ag Department and in the practice of local physician Dr. Hill.
Arleen met and married AL “Linc” Branson in Lyon in 1947. Over the next 30 years, she raised her family of four children and helped Linc manage and operate the family-owned trucking company, Branson Truck Line. When they sold the truck line in 1979, they spent the next fifteen years living in different parts of the United States, but never sold their home in Lyon and returned there to spend their retirement.
After her husband’s death in 2004, Arleen lived in Lyon, Hutchinson, Great Bend and Kansas City for the next ten years. She returned to Lyon in 2018 for the third time for the rest of her life. Arleen was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Lyons, the Order of the Eastern Star, and past President of the Rice County Food Bank. She enjoyed volunteering for the Lyon Chamber of Commerce.
She is survived by her three children, Donald Branson and wife Carl Connor of Prairie Village, KS, Gaila Demel and husband Maurice of Ellinwood, KS, and Nancy Lester and husband Morgan of Melbourne, FL; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren. Arleen is preceded in death by her parents; daughters, Pamela Branson and LaVonda Branson; sons-in-law, Daryle Nielsen and Conrad Odell; daughter-in-law Cheryl Nielsen; brother, Orville Wesseler; and granddaughter, Debbie Nerich.
The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, 2022 at First United Methodist Church, Lyon, with Pastor Chris Lehew officiating. Arleen requested that her body be donated to the University of Kansas School of Medicine for the training of medical students. Memorials may be given to the First United Methodist Church, Lyon or the Rice County Community Foundation in the care of the Birzer Funeral Home, Lyon.
Birz funeral home
214 West Avenue South
Lyon, KS 67554
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, November 25, 2022