The late Bobbie Jo Branyon, whose endowment has funded more than 100 scholarships, demonstrated a life of sacrificial giving
The late-Bobbie Jo Branyon could have received millions of dollars from the trust established by her father, the founder and owner of C.H. Branyon Pipe Company in Greenville, South Carolina.
Instead, she gave it all to Anderson University and three other Baptist institutions that her father supported. Branyon, 93, passed away in June—but the remainder of her $1 million trust will continue to support scholarships at AU.
Branyon was a graduate of Greenville High School and Tift College in Georgia. She later studied education at Furman University and worked as an elementary school teacher in South Carolina and Florida. Branyon also served as president of the C.H. Branyon Pipe Co.
After her father, C. Henry Branyon, died in 1988, Branyon decided to utilize the trust her father established for her in service to others. Her own estate included Anderson University as a beneficiary following her death.
Anderson University’s portion of the trust is worth more than $1 million, said R. Dean Woods, who served as the University’s vice president for institutional advancement during the time of Branyon’s initial gift. She could have received the interest from the trust for more than three decades. Instead, she gave it all to Baptist institutions, Woods said.
She had a love for kids and love for God.
— Bud Branyon
Cousin to Bobbie Jo Branyon
“Bobbie Jo could have kept that income stream for 30-plus years, but she released it to support Christian higher education,” Woods said. “Not many people would have done that.”
Anderson University students who receive scholarships from the Branyon Endowment are South Carolina Baptist students in need who plan to enter careers in Christian ministry. Her endowment provides scholarships for up to 10 students each year and tries to support students who live in Anderson County.
In addition to supporting students financially, Bobbie Jo Branyon prayed for students regularly. “She had a love for kids and a love for God,” said her cousin, Bud Branyon.
She lived modestly, but enjoyed the fullness of life that comes through giving.
— R. Dean Woods
Former Vice President for Institutional Advancement
“Each year she received letters from her scholarship recipients from Anderson University,” said Johnna Shirley, associate vice president of philanthropy and estate planning at Anderson University. “Those letters meant so much to her. She kept all of those letters in the trust box at the bank, and she would add these students to her prayer list.” She prayed for students for a full hour every day. “She was such a joy to be around,” Shirley said.
Woods and President Whitaker visited Branyon often. And she always wanted to know about Anderson University’s progress and the accomplishments of the students she helped support.
“She lived modestly,” Woods said, “but enjoyed the fullness of life that comes through giving.“
One day, Woods asked her why she chose to give away the proceeds of her trust rather than use it for other purposes.
“I didn’t need the money,” she said, “and I wanted to see my father’s wishes fulfilled.”