In Memory

Dave Branhan

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03/17/12 10:20 PM #1    

Andy Flett

I lived right across the street from Dave, from 5th grade on 'till I went off to college. We walked together to school most days. In those days, if you saw a Lucky Strike cigarette package on the ground, you got to slug the other guy if you were the first to call out "Lucky Strike!" So we collected Lucky Strike wrappers for a whole month, then used them all on one day, slugging each other all the way to school!

04/28/12 06:45 PM #2    

Dennis Lally

Dennis Lally (Frank)

Dave lived around the corner from me and we were friends from fifth grade on.  We built and flew model airplanes together.  The normal culmination of that activity was Dave taking his plane home in a bag after one of the many loops he'd performed resulted in "plane hitting asphalt" at a high rate of speed. 

Dave began driving almost a year before I did.  (Actually, he and Steve Castle started driving in the middle of the night when they were about 14, until somebody's dad found out about it).  Dave would stop by my house on his way to OHS and I'd ride to school with him.  We played opposite ends on the OHS Championship Football Team our senior year and did a lot of the stupid things 16 and 17 year old boys still do. 

Between our second and third year of college Dave, myself and Ed Digardi,an older friend who'd spent three years in the Navy, got jobs up at Tahoe for the summer. Dave was a Keno Marker at Harrah's and Ed and I worked bus boys at the CalVarado Restaurant at Stateline.

We lived in a converted one room tool shed (it really had been a tool shed) behind a motel just off Highway 50 in South Shore. It had one light bulb, a sink, an old gas stove (which doubled as the heater on cold nights) whose pilot-light would not stay on, and a toilet tacked on to it's rear-end.  I have a vivid memory of Dave and I one early afternoon, lounging on what passed for our beds (there was no other furniture) drinking a couple of beers while Ed tried over and over and over again, without shutting the gas off between trys, to light the pilot light on the stove.  Dave and I kept telling him to shut the gas off and let the room "air-out" a little or he was going to blow us all up.

After telling Dave and I to "F-off!"; "I know what I'm doing!", Ed turned back to the stove, bent over, struck the next match and stuck his head and hand in front of the stove's open oven door.  In the next instant there was a flash, a loud Wuummp!, and the walls of the shed expanded outward about two feet (the two girls from across the street ran over to tell us that). When Ed turned to face us his mouth was agape in shock and his eye-brows, the hair on the front of his head and all the hair on his arms, chest and legs was singed-off.  Dave and I broke into howling, uncontrollable laughter as Ed ran out the front (only) door.  We must have laughed for ten minutes while Ed stood outside yelling "go ahead and laugh you expletives; you won't be laughing when it blows".

Dave and I attended San Jose State that fall and both pledged ATO. I dropped out of school and after serving in the military I returned to San Jose

It's not shown after Dave's name on the list of "deceased" but Dave was an Officer in the U.S. Navy.  He successfully completed naval flight training and became a Navy Aviator.  Since he was not going to be eligible to fly jets (probably because he was too tall to fit into the cockpit) and because he didn't want to fly prop-driven sub-chasers, he volunteered for, and completed Navy Seal Training.

When we were still little kids and we'd see some sort of police activity or fire activity Dave would always stride right to the police officer or fireman and start asking questions.  He'd want to know what was going on, what happened, who did it?  He'd always do the talking and he'd be persistent.  Eventually we'd be told to "run along fellas; we're all busy here."  So after leaving the service, it didn't surprise me when Dave became an Oakland Police Officer doing routine patrol in some of the most high-crime areas of Oakland.  I rode with he and his partner one evening and I was quite impressed with the low-key, fair and reasoned manner in which Dave handled some of the tense situations we encountered that night. 

Dave enjoyed being an Oakland Police Officer and he bravely "died in the line of duty" being an Oakland Police Officer.  Prior to his untimely death, we hung-out together, double dated, and talked about our futures and what we were going to do together when we had kids. 

I was Best Man at Dave's wedding and a Pall-Bearer at his funeral not long after...and I still think about him and miss him and wish my kids could have known him. 


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