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Dorothy Ruth Hayes Branham
July 3, 1933 ~ January 12, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old
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Dorothy Ruth Hayes Branham died January 12, 2024 at The Manor Senior Living Facility in Florence SC. Dot, as she was known by all, was born the youngest of three daughters to the late Lawton Horace Hayes and Ruth Campbell Hayes Skeen in Latta SC, on July 3, 1933.
Dot attended Dillon County public schools and graduated from Latta High School in 1951. She would later teach business classes there for two years after finishing college. She loved and appreciated the gracious lifestyle and gentle pace of her rural southern hometown, and fully immersed herself in church, family, school, and the community. Waving at the troop trains as they passed through town during the war, learning to dance on a best friend’s grandmother’s front porch, cheerleading for her beloved Latta Red Raiders, singing in school performances, and in the Latta Baptist Church choir were just some of the things she loved – and going to the movies (her best friend’s daddy owned the theater in Latta and Dot had a free pass for anytime she wished to go).
After graduation from high school, Dot followed her two older sisters to Coker College, in Hartsville SC, where she graduated in 1955. During her senior year at Coker, she met Lester Branham, a young ministerial student at Wake Forest University. Dot and Lester were married on August 10, 1956 in Latta. Being a Baptist preacher’s family, they moved living in Fork, Chester, Loris, and Orangeburg, before moving to Lake City in 1973 where they lived until now.
Dot was a faithful member of the adult choirs in each church where Lester preached, and was a wonderful soprano soloist. She is lovingly remembered for her yearly rendition of “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” at Christmas services, which many have expressed “made” Christmas for them. Dot also taught children’s Sunday School and Bible school for over 30 years.
Dot loved her family, and her many friends, but she mostly enjoyed spending time with her four grandchildren. Dot believed her calling was to provide a loving, Christian home for her husband, children, and grandchildren as Lester was called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
She is survived by a son, Lester P. “Brant” (Beth) Branham, III of Murrells Inlet, SC; a daughter, Maria Branham (Robert) Matthews of Lake City; three granddaughters, Katie M. (Jared) McGee of Lake City, Lawton Branham of Charleston, Liza Branham of Murrells Inlet; a grandson, Matt (Evan) Matthews of Charlotte, NC; two great-grandchildren with another grandson on the way and her beloved nieces and nephews.
Dot was predeceased by her loving husband of 67 years, her parents, her sisters and brothers-in-law and one nephew.
A Celebration of Life will be 2:00 PM, Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at Lake City First Baptist Church, with visitation prior to the service, from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, in the church fellowship hall.
Memorials may be made to Meals on Wheels, c/o LCPC, Box 1747, Lake City, SC 29560 or McLeod Hospice House, 1203 E. Cheves St, Florence, SC 29506.