Mom headed family kitchen, bath design business

By Jerry Vondas
Tribune-Review
Friday, October 17, 2003

It's like a Horatio Alger tale: Five family members refinishing one bathtub eventually create a family corporation that specializes in kitchen and bathroom designs.

When the Brannon family arrived in Pittsburgh in 1974, Lorraine E. Brannon continued to raise her children while her husband was starting up Alcoa's Wear Ever Division. She later became president of Brannon Enterprises.

Mrs. Brannon, of Marshall Township, Allegheny County, died of cancer on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003, at Suburban General Hospital, Bellevue, Allegheny County. She was 60.

At first, in order to augment their income, the Brannons bought a Perma Ceram franchise, a bathtub refinishing service.

"After Dad finished work at Wear Ever, he and Mom would go out and refinish bathtubs," said their daughter, Patty Beatty. "As my brothers and I became older, we went with them. We helped with the cleanup.

"Mom, who was artistic, often helped with the spray painting. Mom had a strong work ethic, which she learned as a young girl working on a farm in Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne County)."

In 1983, while Eugene Brannon also was selling electrical equipment, the family expanded the refinishing business to include servicing 127 Sears stores in three states.

Today, Brannon Enterprises, which includes Perma Ceram and Copper Leaf Kitchens and Bathroom Design Divisions, operates two stores in the North Hills and employs six full-time workers and numerous sub-contractors.

"For years, Lorraine and I worked side by side 24 hours a day," her husband said. "We faced tough times together, but we never despaired. She was a warm and caring wife and mother."

Mrs. Brannon is survived by her husband, Eugene T. Brannon; daughter, Patty Beatty, of Pine Township, Allegheny County; two sons, Eugene T. Brannon Jr. and Shawn Brannon, both of Marshall Township; five grandchildren; five sisters; and one brother.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Simons Funeral Home, 7720 Perry Highway, Ross Township, Allegheny County. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church, Pine Township, followed by interment in Holy Savior Cemetery, Richland Township, Allegheny County.

Jerry Vondas can be reached at jvondas@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7823.

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