Coach Paul Monroe Branum

February 16, 1936January 5, 2019

Paul Monroe Branum of Fort Smith, Arkansas passed away peacefully January 4, 2019 at age 82.

Born February 16, 1936 in Vinita, Oklahoma, Paul was the sixth of seven children of James Madison Branum and Gladys Mae Toler Branum.

He excelled in sports at Holdenville High School (OK) and he chose to take his talents to Murray State College (OK) and Austin College (TX). Paul graduated from Austin College and earned his Masters from East Texas State.

In 1959, he married the love of his life, and wife of 59 years, Nicolette Brown of London, England. Paul’s passion was coaching football. He coached the first integrated high school football team in east Texas, and spent over 20 years coaching on the only sand football field in America at Trona, CA. His coaching career spanned 6 decades and influenced many lives. From his dust bowl roots, he was able to instill strength and resilience into generations of young athletes.

He retired to Emory, Texas, in 2003, and eventually moved to Fort Smith to be closer to grandkids.

He is survived by his wife, Nicolette Cecile Branum; son, Paul Branum and wife Joanna of Greely, Colorado and their children, Aliyah, Caedmon and Jackson; son, Russell Branum and wife Marilin of Greenwood, and their children, Elissa Lucero and husband Michael, Matthew Branum and wife Haley, and Emily, Olivia and Ivalynn Branum; son, David Branum and wife Jennette of Overton, Texas, and their children, Devin Branum and wife Devon, Karmen Lantz and husband Dillon and their children, Emily and Lucas, and Katrina Hughes and husband Jonathan; daughter, Suzanne Crable and husband Tom of Cincinnati, Ohio and their children, Matthew and Jonathan; his sister, Beverly Vannoy and husband Donald of Oklahoma; as well as his brother, James Branum of Texas.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday 3pm at Methodist Village in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Flowers will be shared profusely amongst patients and staff.

Arrangements are under the direction of Edwards Funeral home.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association,

To leave an online memory, visit


  • A Celebration of Life Friday, January 11, 2019

Coach Paul Monroe Branum

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Paul Branum

January 11, 2019

What a great life for a wonderful man. Uncle Paul was able to pursue his passion of coaching football as his lifelong work...something very few people experience. He once told me that it wasn't work at all because he loved it so much. The added benefit and lasting legacy of his life's work is the legions of young men he influenced and molded along the way. I spent 25 years as a Naval Officer and the core attributes of leadership, discipline, attention to detail, and teamwork required in that profession were learned on the football field (at "THE PIT") with Coach. This statement on lessons learned and how they prepared us for life can be repeated by every player on every team for every year and decade he coached. Such an impact on so many...the legions live strong thanks to his life's work. So many memories but I won't forget his many phrases while coaching my favorite "line em up fellahs"!! A simple but powerful statement implying that you can't finish unless you get started.

You have your "fellahs" lined up one last time: many thanks for getting started and mentoring so many of us. You lived a purposeful and meaningful life that most of us can only hope to emulate. You will be missed. Rest in peace Coach!!

Much love to Nikki, the boys, and the Branum family.