Reverend Dr. Paul D. Branstetter, age 86, of California, Mo., passed away Monday, September 5, 2022, at Valley Park West Retirement Center. Paul was born on December 26, 1935, in Mansfield, Mo., the son of Charles and Marie (Marah) Branstetter. Paul married his college sweetheart, Marcia Moyer, on July 11, 1960, and they have two grown children and four grandchildren.
Paul grew up on a dairy farm. After graduating from Mansfield High School (1953), he worked on the family farm for a few years until he was called into the ministry. Paul completed his Associates degree in Bible Studies at Southwest Baptist College (1958) and his Bachelor’s degree in English and History at Southwest Missouri State University (1960). He graduated Master of Divinity (1963) and Doctor of Ministry (1976) from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. Paul was ordained to the Gospel ministry by Mission Temple Baptist Church in Mansfield, May 4, 1958. He served as pastor of the following churches: Prospect Baptist Church, Niangua, from 1958-1960; Long Branch Baptist Church, Odessa, from 1961-1963; Boone Creek Baptist Church, Licking, from 1963-1973; and First Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, from 1973-1979. He also served as Director of Missions for Texas County Baptist Association from 1967-1972; and Concord Baptist Association, California, Mo., 1979-2000.
Paul was an avid gardener, hunter and fisherman, enjoying many hours in the woods and on the water with his son Jason and his good friend Vence Lehman and sharing his joy of fishing with his grandchildren. Paul had been a long-time member of the California Kiwanis Club, serving as Treasurer and District Lt. Governor, and cooking and serving many biscuits at the Ham and Turkey Festival and the County Fair, and making apple butter with the organization. In appreciation of his service, in 2012, he was awarded a George R. Hixson Fellow award by the local club. A great passion for most of Paul’s adult life was family genealogical research. Through their genealogical activities, he and his wife Marcia located and visited many Branstetter family settlements and made friends all across the country. The Branstetter family tree database he amassed was extensive, and much of it was included in a book he published.
During his twenty-two years serving as Director of Missions for Concord Baptist Association, Paul always looked forward to visiting each of the thirty-nine churches in the Association every year. He initiated the long-standing wild game supper, traveled to Taiwan with other Baptist ministers and directors of missions as part of the Bold Mission Taiwan Crusades in 1983, wrote and led Bible and church history studies; and taught a great many Seminary Extension courses through the years. He considered it a privilege to minister in a number of prisons in central Missouri, where he led marriage enrichment workshops within the walls of the facilities to those who were hungry for Christ’s love. Along with his wife Marcia, he served as a probation and parole volunteer for a decade and, in 1992, was named a Missouri Corrections Association “Corrections Volunteer of the Year.” He was a loving and wonderful father and husband who took great joy and pride in his children and grandchildren.
Paul is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marcia Branstetter; his two children, daughter Michele (Patrick) King, of Farmington and son Jason (Laura) Branstetter, of Jefferson City; and his four grandchildren, Andrew and Melanie King, and Olivia and Megan Branstetter. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Oliver Branstetter and Marie (Marah) Branstetter; and his brother, Jerry Oliver Branstetter. Visitation will be held at Windmill Ridge Funeral Home in California, Mo., on Friday, September 9, 2022, from 5 – 7 p.m. and funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church, California, Mo., on Saturday, September 10, 2022, at 10 a.m. with Rev. Jeremy Anderson officiating. Burial will be at Boone Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Licking. Memorials are suggested to California Ministerial Alliance or California First Baptist Church Benevolence Fund. Online condolences can be given at windmillridgefuneralservice.com.