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Gwendolyn Harris Branstetter
Nov 12, 2009 | 551 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gwendolyn Harris Branstetter, 85, died Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009.

An internationally known artist with works in both watercolors and oils, her work has been exhibited at important invitational shows including the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame at Hereford, Western Art Shop sponsored by the Alamo Kiwanis Club of San Antonio, The First Atlanta Art Show, Augusta Ga., and many other shows over the U.S., on television and on a European tour sponsored by the Center of Studies and International Cultural Exchanges in Italy.

Awards have been numerous. Her works hang in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, the Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, Waco, and in may distinguished private collections, including those of former President and Mrs. George H. Bush; former Texas Governors John Connally and Dolph Briscoe and their families; famed heart specialist, Dr. Denton Cooley and Bowker Publishers of New York, N.Y. in Who’s Who of American Woman and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, by Marquis of Chicago, and Two Thousand Woman of Achievement, by Kay Publishers of England.

She grew up in live Oak County where her family farmed and ranched. Upon graduation from high school, she taught school in Mountain View riding her gray mare, Gracie, to and from the ranch every day. She later worked as a secretary for the superintendent and principle in Refugio schools.

She began paining as a child, self-taught and working only in watercolors. As a teenager, a friend encouraged and helped her do one oil paining. She went through a long period of self-training again, this time in oils.

She later studied commercial art in college, and fine art under private instruction in the technique of the old masters. Later in her art career, she provided private instruction and taught art classes.

Branstetter was civic minded and donated may work of art to local organizations and businesses in the Refugio area, including an original at the newly opened Wellness Center at Refugio Memorial Hospital.

She was born Oct. 7, 1924 in Beeville, to William Ward and Pearl Johnson Harris.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Cecil Branstetter; three brothers, Edwin Harris, Ecil Harris, and Lendsy Harris.

Survivors include three sons and their spouses, Ronnie and Sharon Branstetter of Waco; Reagan and Mary Branstetter of Tuscon, Ariz.; Randy and Deborah Branstetter of Kingsville; three sisters, Marbel Lindsey of Llano; Bernardene Heyn of Old Ocean; Yvonne Morris of El Campo; two brothers, Edgle Harris of George West, Weldon Harris of Jourdanton; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Visitation was held Saturday, Nov. 7 from 6-8 p.m. at Moore Funeral Home. Funeral services were conducted on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Refugio, with Rev. Don Liljestrand officiating.

Graveside services followed at 4 p.m. at White Creek Cemetery, White Creek Community

Pallbearers were Donnie Harris, Stanley Harris, Dale Branstetter, William Branstetter, Stephen Sylvester, Kurt Heyn, Rodney Harris, and Roger Harris.
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