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 Michael R Brannen

Michael R Brannen

Cabin Creek, Kanawha County, West Virginia, USA
Death 1 Aug 2008 (aged 85)
Lewiston, Niagara County, New York, USA
Burial Lewiston, Niagara County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 100144104 · View Source
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Michael R. Brannen, 85, a Lewiston resident and Niagara Falls industrialist who transformed a marginal chemical company into today's Niacet Corporation, died Friday, August 1, 2008 at home, surrounded by his loving family while under care of Niagara Hospice.

Told to sell Union Carbide Corp.'s Niacet operations in Niagara Falls in 1978, Mike, as he preferred to be called, bought the plant himself, ending a 30-year career with Carbide to manage his new company. He served as president and chief executive officer until turning control over to family members in 1999. Self described as "a poor boy from Cabin Creek," Mike was born in that West Virginia mining town on May 25, 1923, the son of Michael R. and Katherine Creasey Brannen. He attended East Bank High School, graduating in 1940, and then enrolled at Greenbrier Military School in Lewisburg, W.Va. Upon graduation, Mike enlisted in the Navy, serving as an aerographer's mate, 2nd Class with the Naval Air Transport Service in Hawaii and Guam during World War II. Returning home in January of 1946, he met Augusta King, who was working at the Union Carbide plant in South Charleston. W.Va. They were married on June 29 of that year after a six-week courtship.

Earning a degree in chemistry from Morris Harvey College, now the University of Charleston, W. Va., Mike joined Union Carbide in 1948 in South Charleston. Over the next 30 years, he worked in research and development, sales, and marketing at various locations, including Pittsburgh, PA; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; and New York City. His outstanding success in positions of increasing responsibility earned him numerous awards from the giant chemical manufacturer. Before leaving Union Carbide, he was operations manager of the Specialty Chemicals Group, which was based in New York City.

The experience and contacts Mike gained at Union Carbide provided him with the background to make Niacet a successful company. Committed to the plant's workers, he was especially proud of the profit-sharing plan that was developed to allow them to share in the company's prosperity.

A tall, affable gentleman with a ready wit, Mike was most comfortable in the presence of family and friends. For a time, he owned and operated a grape vineyard in the Finger Lakes, which provided a weekend retreat for the family. Mike was also an avid golfer, an interest he shared with his wife. He also enjoyed returning to West Virginia, where he frequently sponsored family trips to celebrate significant events.

A firm believer in community, Mike generously supported several educational institutions, local hospitals, religious institutions and organizations dedicated to fighting various illnesses. He was a benefactor of Heart, Love and Soul, a Niagara Falls organization that assists the poor by providing food and healthcare.

Grateful for his education, Mike remained close to his alma mater. He served for a time as a member of the board of trustees of the University of Charleston, which granted him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2000. He was recognized in 2003, when Niagara University's College of Business Administration awarded Niacet its Western New York Business Appreciation Award. Mike was a member of the Niagara Falls Country Club, the Sea Island Golf Association, a past member of the President's Advisory Board at Niagara University and a communicant at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Lewiston. He was also a member of St. William's Catholic Church, S1. Simons Island, GA, where he spent the winters with his wife.

In addition to Augusta "Gus," his wife of 62 years, Mike is survived by two sons, Michael ( Mary Ann ) of Leesburg, V A; and Kelly ( Joanne ) of Williamsville, NY; a daughter, Mary ( Larry ) Montani of Lewiston; 15 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Patrick in 2001.

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  • Created by: Roanho
  • Added: 4 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100144104
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Michael R Brannen (25 May 1923–1 Aug 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100144104, citing Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Lewiston, Niagara County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Roanho (contributor 47419049) .