Branham, Elda Lucia
Birth: Sunday, January 21, 1934
Death: Friday, February 23, 2024 at the age of 90
Condolences: Click to View or Post
Click to see full size photo
Elda Lucia Branham
January 21, 1934 - February 23, 2024

It is with great sadness that the family of Elda Lucia Filippa Branham announces her peaceful passing on February 23, 2024, at the age of 90.

Elda will be lovingly remembered by her son, Samuel Anthony Branham; daughter in-law, Lorena Madelyn Velasquez Medrano Branham; and her beloved grandchildren, Sofia Madeleine Branham, and Samuel Jacob Branham.

Born in the Piedmont region of Cavour in Italy, near the province of Torino, and about 25 miles from the French border in 1934, Elda's childhood was one of deprivation and poverty. She was only four years old when her father died and along with her three older sisters was raised single-handedly by her mother during the dark years of Italian fascism and WWII. She suffered the hardship of food shortages, survived allied bombings, and the trauma of war.

After the war, Elda traveled to England as a tender teenage girl where she served as a lady-in-waiting and personal assistant to an English gentlewoman. On August 8, 1953, as a 19-year-old, Elda accompanied the English family and sailed from Southampton, England to New York City aboard the RMS Caronia (known as the "Green Goddess") and was processed for immigration at Ellis Island. After about a year in New York City, Elda found her way to Washington, DC where she became a seamstress using the sewing skills she learned as a child. She lived in a small tenement and that's where she eyed a young, redheaded, and handsome American named Samuel (Sammy) Wood Branham. He lived in the same tenement. To garner Sammy's attention, Elda and her girlfriend used water pistols to squirt water through an open transom window while he napped. This was the beginning of a more than 55-year love affair and romance until Sammy's death.

Together and while working other jobs, Elda and Sammy started their own interior decorating business where they developed a reputation for producing the finest designs using exquisite fabrics and materials to handcraft draperies, cornices, swags, headboards, and bedspreads. Through word-of-mouth they became well-known across Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Their clients included local aristocrats Mr. Bertram and Mrs. Diana Firestone; Mrs. Anna Chen Chennault, wife of Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault (of WWII Flying Tigers fame); and at the time, Vice President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush when they resided in the Vice-Presidential mansion.

Years later, Elda and Sammy were attracted to the picturesque views offered by waterfront properties and a lifestyle with direct access to water-based activities. Realizing the limited availability of waterfront property and that these properties would remain highly desirable and in demand, Elda switched careers to real estate. Elda truly enjoyed working with clients and again achieved tremendous success. She was innovative and creative helping more than 1,000 families find their 'forever homes.' Elda received numerous awards locally and nationally (top 1% in sales) during her 35+ years in real estate. While she served the full range of residential real estate, commercial properties including horse farms and land development, her specialization was in waterfront property and luxury homes.

Elda was a proud American and one of her proudest moments was the day she became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She lived the American dream and values of independence and self-determination. She passionately pursued her aspirations and shaped her own identity and destiny through choices, abilities, and efforts. She never made excuses or let invisible barriers hold her back just because she was considered an oppressed demographic as a female and Italian immigrant.

She was proceeded in death by her husband, Samuel Wood Branham; by her parents, Antonio Filippa and Madelina Chicco Filippa; and sisters, Alba Filippa, Marisa Filippa Guagnini, and Margherita Filippa Mar.

Sammy died while on holiday with his family on the island of Ko Samui, Thailand on December 15, 2012, at the age of 79. Sammy was born in Charlottesville, Virginia on May 7, 1933. He was the son of Bryon Welch Branham and Carrie Ruth Via Branham of Free Union, Virginia; and the brother of Glasselle (Gae) Branham Jenkins of Crozet, Virginia.

Sammy was raised in Earlysville, Virginia by his maternal grandparents, Reverend Jacob Wood Via and Carrie Crenshaw Via, after his mother died when Sammy was 6 years old. His father left the family anguished by the death of his wife and not being able to provide for his children during the Great Depression. Sammy worked the family farm and attended Broaddus Wood School where he enjoyed racing the school bus on his adored American Quarter Horse named Nellie. Sammy loved sports and played basketball and baseball during high school. In 1952 after graduating, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was sent to Korea where he honorably served in the Quartermaster Corps.

He was reputed to be a bit mischievous. But in fact, Sammy was one of the most kind and generous people you could know. He was a truly devoted husband and father and was grateful for his family and friends. He was the absolute best husband and father a family could ever have. He was good-humored and had a tremendous spirit of generosity freely giving his love, friendship, time, and the "fruits of his crops" to others. Sammy was a jack of all trades and was often better than the masters themselves.

A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the donor's preferred charity.
Community Condolences

Return to the Obituary Main Page