Branch, Kenneth G.
(1914 – 1991)
Born in Vernon, British Columbia, on September 2, 1914, Kenneth Gordon Branch received his architectural training at the University of Washington. After receiving his degree in 1939, he went to work with his father, architect Bertram H. Branch. Together they designed the International style J. W. Bryan Jr. House, Bremerton (1940). After working for a short five months for the architectural firm of Naramore & Brady in 1941, Kenneth returned to his father’s firm. During the war years, he was employed by the Bremerton Housing Authority followed by the Federal Public Housing Authority in 1942-1944.
Kenneth Branch opened his own firm in 1945 in Bremerton. Seven years later his younger brother, Barry D. (sometimes spelled Barrie), joined the firm, and the two worked together for nearly a decade, with their dad, B. H. Branch, sometimes serving as a design consultant. In 1959, Kenneth D. Garrison joined the firm and its name was changed to Branch, Branch & Garrison. The firm grew quickly to become the largest architectural firm on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Projects by the firm include East Bremerton High School (1954), West High School Science Building classroom wing at Dewey Junior High, the First Federal Savings & Loan Building (1959), several buildings on the Olympic College Campus (1954-1966); the Eagles Temple (1943), and the Dr. Bright Dental Clinic (c. 1950); all in Bremerton. In Port Orchard the firm designed the main annex to the Kitsap County Courthouse (1945).
Residential work by the firm includes the Jim Sullivan House (c. 1965), Kenneth Branch own house (c. 1958), the Thomas Kono House (c. 1957), the Dr. Lindstrom House (1954), and the Joseph Parr House (1950), in Bremerton. Outside the city, projects include the Al Spencer House on Vashon Island (ca 1960), and the Lumley House in Tacoma (1962).
Branch retired in 1968 and traveled the world extensively with his wife. In 1972, he was hired by UNESCO to serve in Sudan and Liberia where he established the Department of Educational Facilities. While there, reportedly he designed several schools in Liberia.
Branch was an active member of the Seattle Chapter of the AIA, serving as chair for the licensing board, and as a delegate to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. In those positions he was instrumental in establishing conformity among architectural licensing standards throughout the country.
Kenneth Branch passed away in September 1991 at the age of 77 in Benson, Arizona.
– Michael C Houser