TOPSHAM — Gloria B. Branham, 91, formerly of Farmingdale passed away on Thursday, May 25, at the Elm Street Assisted Living Center in Topsham, following a long illness.

The daughter of Andrew and Bertha Harness, Gloria was born in Hamlet, Ind., on Dec. 9, 1925, and was one of nine children, all of whom predeceased her. In 1946, she received her nursing degree at St. Joseph’s Nursing School in Fort Wayne, Ind. Four years later, she completed coursework for a psychology major at San Francisco State University, and ultimately in 1975, she earned her B.S. in Education from Oklahoma State University. She became one of the very first certified nurse practitioners at the Oklahoma City Veteran’s Administration Hospital where she worked in Emergency Clinical Services from 1972 to 1984. The professional honor of her career was accepting an invitation to work with Dr. Howard Bierman, a renown pioneer in the field of cancer research, at the Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, an affiliate of the National Cancer Society of California within the University of California Hospital in San Francisco.

Gloria moved to Maine in 1984 to be near her son and daughter-in-law. Second only in importance to the birth of her only child was the arrival in 1988 of her grandson Noah, with whom she shared a particularly close relationship. After working two years at the Togus V.A. Hospital, she retired to pursue many varied interests.

She was a voracious reader, rock collector, and jazz and blues aficionado. After her retirement, she explored every nook and cranny of the Maine coast with friends and family members, as well as much of the interior of the state as well. Her intense love of and appreciation for Maine, and in particular Reid State Park, rivaled that of native-born Mainers. Her joie-de-vivre, keen intelligence, willingness to converse knowledgeably with anyone about a wide range of topics, especially politics or her Red Sox and Celtics, and her immense capacity for empathy are now sorely missed.

Gloria Branham was predeceased by her only child, Bates professor Robert J. Branham.

She is survived by her beloved grandson and his wife, Noah A. Branham and Hsuan Yu Hou of Cambridge, Mass.; her devoted daughter-in-law, F. Celeste Branham of Brunswick; and numerous loving nieces and nephews in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, all of whom she cherished.

The Branham family is especially grateful to the exceptional staff and owner of the Elm Street Assisted Living Center, and more recently the Hospice nurses who tended to her there during the last part of her journey. Their loving care, kindness, and expertise were an immense comfort to Gloria and her family.

Condolences may be accessed online at

Gloria B. Branham

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