STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Former Statesboro Mayor Joe Brannen has died, the city announced Wednesday. He was 81.
A city spokesperson told News 3 the family confirmed Brannen died from natural causes, not COVID-19 related, on Tuesday.
Brannen served Statesboro for more than a decade.
He was first elected to the city council in October 1998 and represented District 4 for 10 years. Brannen then went on to serve as mayor for one term from 2010 to 2013.
Brannen, a Portal native, graduated in 1957 from Portal High School. He earned a basketball scholarship to Georgia Teacher’s College in Statesboro where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business.
The former mayor also served in the Georgia National Guard.
“Mayor Brannen was a true public servant,” said current Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar. “He loved his family and serving the citizens of Statesboro.”
Brannen was a charter member of the Bulloch Lions Club, where he served in all officer positions, a member of the Statesboro Rotary Club, board member of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah Area, and a supporter of Georgia Southern University’s A Day for Southern.
He was a member of the Statesboro First Baptist Church where he attended the Agape Sunday School Class.
Brannen is survived by his wife, Cecil Lee Britton Bannen, and their four sons.
The family will receive friends on Friday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the chapel of Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro.
Funeral services will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at Statesboro First Baptist Church with Dr. John Waters officiating, assisted by Dr. H. William Perry. The body will lie-in-state one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in Bulloch Memorial Gardens.
All social distancing guidelines will be observed, according to Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory of Statesboro, in charge of the arrangements.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to The Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 Southeast First Street, Suite 800, Miami, Florida 33131. Friends may sign share condolences or memories online here.
McCollar has ordered city flags to be flown at half-staff in Brannen’s honor.
“We are a better city and community because of him,” McCollar said. “He leaves behind a legacy of hope and compassion. The city will surely miss his gentle spirit.”