92-Year-Old Alumna Achieves Lifelong Dream
Nelle Whelchel Brannen, a member of the Shorter College class of 1946, has had a lot of titles in her 92 years. There was wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Along the way she added secretary for federal government agencies to the list along with active church member and volunteer. At age 91, she added a new title to the list: published author.
Mrs. Brannen’s book, If a Frog Had a Santa, is a children’s inspirational book that teaches an important life lesson.
“This book is what our children need to read. My prayer is that it will glorify our God who has been so good to my husband and me,” she said.
Mrs. Brannen, who now lives in a nursing home in Milledgeville where her husband of 73 years, William Thomas “Bill” Brannan, Sr., resides in the Georgia War Veterans Home, attended Shorter during what she describes as “the war years.”
“I attended Shorter College until I married my naval aviator who was one of the ones who bombed Iwo Jima,” she said. “We were a classic World War II couple and have been married 73 years. I loved Shorter and would have graduated if I hadn’t been so in love. I married him the day he got his wings.”
They have four children, eight grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. It was to those grandchildren that Mrs. Brannen wrote the story that is now If a Frog Had a Santa. The book is available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
About the Author
Nelle Whelchel Brannen, author, was born in Anniston, Alabama on Easter Sunday, April 20, 1924, daughter of Myrtice Davis Whelchel and John Bruce Whelchel. She had one sister, Mary Jo Whelchel Kennedy.
She attended Parker Memorial Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama, all her young life and was baptized there. She graduated from Anniston High School and received her college education from Shorter College, Rome, Georgia.
Nelle Whelchel and William Thomas Brannen married in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 21, 1943. He received his U.S. Navy “Wings of Gold” the same day as their wedding. Their marriage has been enduring. They celebrated their 73rd anniversary on August 21, 2016. The couple had four children, Rebecca Brannen Wood (her husband is Henry Wood); William Thomas Brannen, Jr. (his wife is the former Maribeth Quicksall); Alice Kay Brannen Collins (her husband is B. John Collins, Jr.); and David Randall Brannen (his wife is the former Claire Adams). Grandchildren are William Keith Wood, Christopher Brannen Wood, beloved William Braden Brannen (who passed away August 31, 2014), Courtney Collins Cawley (her husband is Chris), Kyle Collins Hitchcock (her husband is Andrew), Katherine Penn Brannen, Jane Elizabeth Brannen and John “Jack” Taylor Brannen. She rejoices also in her (to date) 13 great-grandchildren and remembers that “one of them is in heaven today.”
After Mrs. Brannen’s children all became school age, she sought employment outside the home. She worked for several years as a secretary in federal government agencies in the Atlanta area and throughout the United States. She retired in 1990.
She and her husband were active members of First Baptist Church, Marietta, Georgia. She was a member of the Cobb-Marietta Junior League where she worked actively for years. One of her favorite areas of volunteer service was with handicapped children in Creswell School. Now in retirement she is an Emeritus Sustainer of the Cobb-Marietta Junior League.
She and her husband volunteered to deliver Meals-on-Wheels. They made their home in Eatonton, Georgia, after retirement, living there for 23 years. They are members of First United Methodist Church, Milledgeville.
In reviewing her life, Mrs. Brannen states: “I am a wife, mother, homemaker, grandmother, great-grandmother. I was a secretary by profession for federal government agencies. I am a most blessed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Mrs. Brannen is now a resident of Green Acres Nursing Home and her husband is a resident of Georgia War Veterans Home, both in Milledgeville. She is happy to have this book which she wrote for her grandchildren years ago published in the 91st year of her life.