January 26, 1966
The Billy Paul Branham Family (1966)
Left to right: Loyce, Paul, David, Billy Paul
I would like to thank Brother Williams, the Full Gospel Business Men's chapter here in Phoenix, and the International Directors for this opportunity to speak at this memorial service for my father. As most of you know, I am not accustomed to speaking Somewhere in God's choosing He let me be the one to travel with father for the last twelve or fourteen years, in his evangelist campaigns.
To my knowledge, the first time that I ever gave out a prayer card in a meeting was here in Phoenix, when Brother Branham had the tent service. I believe it was down here on West Buckeye Road I think it was in 1950. Since that time I have traveled with him constantly except for a year while I was away in Bible School.
Brother Williams asked me if I would speak. I said, "No, but then he told me a lot of people had called and wanted to know just how everything happened. I don't know whether I can do that or not, but I will do my best.
Brother Branham and I had planned on going back to Indiana to have a couple nights' service. He had wanted to speak on a subject, entitled "The Trail of the Serpent." He told me to contact Brother Wood, who is a trustee in our church and a very close friend of Brother Branham's, to see about getting the school auditorium for the service. I did this; and before Brother Wood called me back for confirmation, Daddy called me and he said, "I don't think that we should do it." He said, "We will just go back home for the holidays."
So we started back on December 18th. He came over to the house as usual that morning, and you local folks in Tucson Phoenix know the kind of weather we were having. It had been raining for several days prior, and so he had made mention the night before that we would just wear our hunting clothes because he thought we might have bad weather all the way home. He came over that morning about six o'clock.
We left Tucson (my family and I) with his family, and he followed me as he usually did in his station wagon. We left at approximately 6:00 o'clock and had our breakfast in Benson. We drove on to Alamogordo, New Mexico and had our lunch. My son Paul had traveled with his grandpa most of the day, and also because of my brother Joseph.
When we left the restaurant after eating lunch, I made Paul get in my car with me, because I wanted him to take his nap. Dad spoke to me and said, "That is okay. Let him ride with me." So we went on up to Clovis, New Mexico, and we ate supper at a little place, I think it was Denny's Restaurant. We got out, and it was turning very cold. We heard that there was going to be snow around the Amarillo area that night. So before we left the restaurant Dad said, "How far do you think we ought to go, Paul?"
I said, "Oh, I don't care." I said, "Loyce has been feeling bad, so I guess we had better stay in Amarillo." He said, "That is fine." So he got in his car, and for some reason that I do not know, my little brother Joseph stopped and was going to get in my car. You know how things are when you are traveling with children. The car was quite crowded, and normally I wouldn't have let him in there. I am certain my wife wouldn't have, Mother wouldn't, and I know Daddy wouldn't have, unless it was in the divine will of God to do so. So he got in my car with me.
We had just crossed into the Texas line, around eighty or ninety miles from Amarillo, when I saw a car coming, and the headlight of the approaching car was out on the driver's side. I thought it was a motorcycle at first, because it was right in the center line. I didn't pay much attention to it. It was just a little after dark, I would say around 7:30 at night. When it came closer I could see that it was a car, and that one of the headlights were out. As I said, it was on the driver's side. The headlight that I had seen was right in the middle of the line, and so naturally the whole car was on my side of the road.
I swerved to my right, blew my horn, and just glanced in my mirror as I missed him. I saw the car pull back over on the right side of the road. I looked again, and I saw two cars hit. The car had swerved directly into Dad's path. All I could see were two cars going in two directions. Dad's car was coming toward me. My wife hollered. She said, "It is your daddy!" I said, "No there was a car that I had just passed that is between me and Dad." I thought that Dad was still another car behind them. So I hit my brakes to go back to help them.
When I got back to where the scene was, one of the boys was lying in the road. I went up the highway. There was beer, liquor, something (I don't know) all over the road. I saw this car down to my left in a ditch. I turned off the road, and when my headlights hit it, it was Dad. All I could see was his head sticking out. To me, I can just tell you what I thought. I thought that he was gone. I told my wife, "He is dead." So she jumped out of the car and ran over there. It was just like a freight train had hit it. Such a mess.
I had left Joseph and my son, Paul, in the car, and had rolled up the windows and locked the doors, and had told them to sit there. Dad and I have traveled many miles together, and we have seen lots of things, lots of accidents, and I have seen lots of people die. I have seen lots of people killed instantly on the road. It was a sight that I had seen before. So in my conscience, I knew that he was gone because his eyes were open, and his face looked swollen. It was just that look that lots of us have experienced.
I got out of the car. I just didn't know what to do. I ran to him. Joseph started screaming, and when he did, his head dropped. I picked his head up in my hand, and he said, "Who was that?" I said, "That was Joseph, Daddy." I said, "Are you okay?" and he just looked at me. He didn't say anything.
This has a special meaning to me because of a tape that he spoke on, "Sirs Is This The Time?" I cannot say that this is true, but I know that he never responded until Joseph cried for his daddy! Then Dad said, "Tell Joseph everything is O.K."
My wife was over talking to Mother, and trying to arouse her. She hollered for me and she said, "Billy, your mother is dead." I ran over there, and I finally found her up under the dash where the heater was. I laid my hand over on her. I felt her arm but I could feel no pulse. I felt her heart and I couldn't find any. I can't say; but I just couldn't find any pulse.
I looked in the back seat, and my sister Sarah was lying there, just moaning. So I came back to Dad, and he was so caught in the car to where he couldn't move. His left arm was in the door, and the metal was just jammed in up on it. His left leg was wrapped around the steering wheel. Most of his body, his head and shoulders, were projected through the windshield, just lying on the hood.
To give you just a little something I want to say here, a few weeks before that Brother Gene Norman, a friend of ours from Tucson, Don Wertz, and myself went hunting with Brother Brewer, (I don't know whether he is here or not) up to Kaibab, and while we were hunting, I became ill. I have kind of a nervous condition - melancholy I would say, I don't know - I just went up into the hills. It was night time. I started crying, and I lost my supper. Just nerves, I suppose. I came back down. I saw Daddy take off his hat and bow his head standing by the fire. In just a few minutes you know it was all gone.
Then as he stood around the fire, he couldn't eat his supper. I asked him if I could fix him some soup or something. He said, "No," and he took off, walking down the road. When he came back I could see there had been tears in those eyes. I told the brethren, "You just don't know what, he is going through." I said, "You just don't know!"
He came back to the fire and I stepped over by him after awhile when I didn't think the Brethren were looking. (I don't know if they were or not.) I said to Dad, "Are you feeling all right?" And he said, "It is okay."
Just before we went to bed that night he said something that I have never heard him say before, that I can remember. He spoke to Brother Norman, a friend of ours from Tucson, and said, "Did you all see Billy go up into the bush a moment ago?" And they all said, "Yes." He said, "You see, that is the reason Billy likes to always be with me. He says he knows that if I will just pray for him, it will be all right."
He said, "Brother Norman, you remember a few weeks ago when you fell off the fence when we were hunting and tore up your ankle?" He said to him, "You didn't think that you could walk on it for many, many days, and I just laid my hand over on you, prayed for you, and in a couple of days you were back to work." Brother Norman acknowledged this to be true.
He said, "I was hunting several months ago, and I just made a little sprain on my ankle." Then he started unloosening his boots and he said, "Look at this," and it was still black and blue. He said, "Billy was so nervous that he didn't think that he could make it." He said, "You are okay now, aren't you, Paul?"
I said, "Yes."
He said, "It is just that little touch." He said, "I have prayed for this ankle, and it is still the same. I prayed for this nervous condition, and it is Still here." He said, "It is not for me. It was sent for you." I didn't realize that then. It was just words to me then. But the night of the accident, he looked at me and he said, "Can you get me out?"
Well, I tried, I really tried. I said, "No, I can't, Dad." I said, "Dad, look at me." He opened his eyes. I said, "You speak the word, and you will come out of there." I had his head in my hands like this. He turned his head to the right, never spoke a word, but just tumed his head from me like that. Then I knew what he meant when he said it wasn't for him, it was for us.<
To emphasize this to you; after I went over and saw Mother before the ambulance arrived, I came back to him and said, "Dad, I know you are hurt bad, but I think Mom is dead." I said, "Sarah is okay, but I think Mom is dead." I will never forget that.
He said, "Where is she?"
I said, "She is over to your right."
So somehow, I don't know how, but I know he moved his right hand, and he laid it over on her, and to the best of my knowledge this is what he said: "Lord, don't let Mommy die. Be with us at this hour."
When I came back to her, Mom was moaning and moving. I asked him, "Should I move Mother?" He said, "No, just leave her." I asked him about Sarah. He said, "Leave her also."
The ambulances came, and took Sarah and Mom away. We still couldn't get Daddy out. When the ambulance returned, we still hadn't gotten him out. They made two loads with the other car, and we still couldn't get him out.
The traffic was lined up for 6 miles in both directions. Finally a man came with a four wheel drive truck. He had a logging chain on the truck, and they put it around the door and tried to pull it off. But they couldn't. I asked them if they would put it up in the windshield, where that brace comes down. I said, "If you pull it long enough that I can get under there, I can get him out." So they did. They pulled it until the front gave way so that I could crawl over Daddy's right shoulder, go down under the front seat, and untangle his legs that were under the dash and the steering wheel. He spoke to me and said, "Catch me, Paul." He fell over in my arms, and I pulled him from the car.
We took him to the hospital. When we got there they had brought the others in. The boy that hit him was dead on arrival. Mother and Sarah were in the emergency room, then they brought Daddy in. After he got in there the Doctor said, "Is that your daddy?"
I said, "Yes Sir."
It seemed like all the world would end, when I lost
the greatest friend I ever had.
You may now ask me, then why be sad?
But please remember, he was my Dad.
My Dad is not here with me on this great memorial day;
I know he could have been, but he chose the straight
and narrow way.
He never wanted wealth or fame,
But only pointed us to Jesus' name.
I wonder why should it be that it should be a car
But it made the Bride take a closer check.
He was not a large man of stature and voice,
But if you ever heard him preach, you knew he was God's
His nature was gentle, he never tried to offend.
But this was not so when he cried out against sin.
He preached a great message called Sirs Is This The Time?
Then he brought us to Tucson for God's answer to find.
I wondered why God told him to go way out west?
But I never said nothing because he always told me,
"Paul, God knows best."
He told me not to worry, for God's ways He reveals.
Then the answer came forth, the mystery of the seven seals.
To me he was the messenger of Malachi 4:5 and Revelation
And God knew best when he took my Dad to heaven.
The message he brought came straight with the Word.
Although rejected, but never a man before him stood.
I love this prophet of this fast dying race.
And I believe this message, and I will meet him by God's