Santa Fe developer and real estate agent Dennis Raymond Branch is remembered by family and colleagues for his resilience and hardworking nature. Courtesy photo
Friends and family members of Dennis Raymond Branch, who died in a single-vehicle crash on Friday, recalled him as an always-on-the-go entrepreneur who did not let continual medical challenges slow him down.
Branch, 66, who was instrumental in the creation and renovation of a number of subdivisions and condominium projects in Santa Fe, was killed after his vehicle drifted into the center median barrier while he was northbound on Interstate 25 just north of the Sandoval County line. State police are still investigating the cause of the crash.
“He was a business person and he liked putting deals together and making it work, and getting people in houses and building those houses,” Branch’s wife, JoAnn Branch, said Sunday. “He was just a go-getter, a hard worker, a man who always had to be busy and who did whatever he had to do at the time to earn a living.”
Branch was born Dec. 5, 1951 in Santa Fe, but his family moved to Las Vegas, Nev., about a decade later. From an early age he displayed an intuitive sense for coming up with a way to make a living, from starting a glass-cleaning business (its motto: “If washing your glass is a pain in the ass, call Spic and Span cleaning glass”) to going door to door to convince homeowners they should pay him to install peepholes in their front doors for security reasons.
JoAnn Branch said her husband fell into the real estate business sometime in the late 1980s in Las Vegas, shortly before he returned to Santa Fe to go to work for — or initiate — a number of real estate development businesses, including Branch Realty, ReMax of Santa Fe and Realty 3000.
Lynn G-Scott, one of Dennis Branch’s partners in Realty 3000, described him as “a brilliant man, a genius in so many ways, who woke up every day and went in and had fun and enjoyed his life. He loved helping people.”
His dedication to his job was so extreme that, while undergoing dialysis treatment for kidney failure, Dennis Branch insisted his company set up a business phone by his hospital bed so he could still wheel and deal.
“He suffered great health issues,” said Kim Shanahan, who worked with Branch on a number of projects. For example, Branch undergone two kidney transplants, he and JoAnn Branch said.
“He often took a double handful of pills every day at lunch,” Shanahan said. “He had suffered at least two heart attacks that I know of. Never for a second did this let him stop him.
“He never gave a sense of feeling sorry for himself and he had no patience with anybody who did feel sorry for themselves,” Shanahan continued. “He did not suffer fools — which is one reason I loved being around him.”
Besides his wife, Dennis Branch is survived by a son, Dennis Branch Jr., and five siblings: David Branch, Dana Branch, Derek Branch, Deborah Wilkinson and Darla Hughes.
JoAnn Branch said the family plans a public memorial service for Dennis Branch at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Kingdom Hall-Jehovah Witness center at 4 Mutt Nelson Road.