Melissa Branon Obituary /\ After a brief illness, 54-year-old Melissa Branon Stallard passed away on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at her home.Melissa was a generous and caring soul who always put the needs of others before her own. Besides being a fantastic cook, she enjoyed volunteering with kids through activities like the Brown Bag Lunch Program, Cutting for the Cause, and the Wise Little League.She founded and ran Melissa Stallard Housekeeping and identifies as a Christian.Her parents, Jimmie and Gloria Jean Keys Branon, passed away before she was born.
Her husband, Ed Stallard, son, Zac Owens, brothers, James Branon and wife Cindy of Florida, and Mark Branon of Wise, as well as their respective families, a niece, Sierra Branon, a nephew, Nicholas Branon, and many more family and friends, all survive her.
Melissa Stallard’s funeral will be held at 2:00 PM on July 31, 2019 at the Sturgill Funeral Home Chapel in Wise, VA, with Pastor Phillip Bates officiating. Final resting place will be in Beverly Cemetery in Wise, Virginia. Services will be held at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, and the family will accept visitors from 12:00 PM until the funeral time at the Sturgill Funeral Home in Wise, VA. The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wise Little League at P.O. Box 2264, Wise, VA 24293. Those wishing to express their condolences to the family in writing may do so at www.sturgillfuneral.com.
Arrangements are being handled by Sturgill Funeral Home, which is located at 1621 Norton Road SW, Wise, VA 24293.Dave Branon came to an answer, albeit an unsatisfactory one, in his anguish over the loss of his teenage daughter. But it’s a soothing thought for him.Only that “everything happened so God can be exalted” is all he had to say about it. It doesn’t make sense to me, yet that’s the solution. It is still God’s plan for Melissa’s life to bring him glory.
Branon, a prolific writer and frequent contributor to “Our Daily Bread,” has written a book titled “Beyond the Valley” about his journey of faith in the wake of the death of his daughter, Melissa, on June 6, 2002, at the age of seventeen, in a car accident in the Port Sheldon Township of Ottawa County.
A group of Grand Rapids Baptist High School students were returning from a day at the beach. At the intersection of Van Buren Street and Butternut Drive, police say the driver of the car she was in failed to stop for a stop sign and then pulled into the line of oncoming traffic.Branon’s ultimate goal in penning this book was to convey the message that “God gives us a cause to continue on, even though every day is a struggle.”Author of over 2,000 devotional articles and 14 books, Branon works as an editor for Discovery House Publishers and RBC Ministries in Grand Rapids.
Because of his extensive coverage of Melissa’s story in “Our Daily Bread,” he realised that readers were curious about “how can a person cope with this kind of tragedy?”People have been sending us letters and cards in the hundreds to express their gratitude for our candour.Furthermore, Branon is forthright about the difficulties his wife Sue and their three children, Steve, Julie, and Lisa, had with their faith.Because “those were crucial things for Sue and I to figure out,” Branon explains, “I believed they were certainly significant to anybody else who has gone through this.”
When others claimed that God had intervened to ensure their own or a loved one’s survival after an accident or illness, he and his wife found themselves struggling with the idea.
The flaw with that line of thinking, he explained, is that “the converse is not relevant.” You can’t declare that God is bad just because Melissa was murdered in an accident. You can’t deny that nobody here doesn’t have a finished book somewhere, it’s only that hers is shorter than the rest of us would have liked.
And I simply can’t image being able to live with the concept that it was all an accident, so that’s a tremendous relief to me. None of our lives are worth that to them. Branon, whose writings have sought to draw readers closer to God, found himself lost in what he called “a deep abyss of utter hopelessness” in his essay “Beyond The Valley.”
God’s sovereignty is the key to regaining faith in a brighter future.
First thing I told Sue when Melissa passed away was, “Look, this is hard to say, but the history of the Christian faith does not rise or fall on Melissa’s life. It’s been true for millennia, and it won’t suddenly stop being true because Melissa’s dead, right?
Is it all going to fall apart since my daughter died? If that’s the case, then I’m pretty much everything. This event occurred in our life, and though it is challenging, it is nonetheless God’s will for us. I found that really useful.
The book also addresses the subject of how to move forward, which, according to Branon, comes down to a single option. Rather than focusing on God and what He has done, he argues that the focus should be on human beings and their present actions.
You either trust what God says about things like this, or you have to reject it, and that’s the difficult part, according to Branon. In my opinion, (turning away from God) is the last step down into the depths of despair. What else do you have besides misery and pain if you don’t have confidence in a circumstance like this?
Parents who have experienced the death of a child often feel like “pioneers” in their suffering, a sentiment shared by Branon. He writes that although this suffering “make(s) us fellow travellers with some of the greats of the faith,” it is ultimately worth it.
You don’t get over it in 600 years, and here’s why: that person is always gone, he explained. This is what I tell other parents: ‘We’re all just going through the valley together. You are among a very small number of people who have been entrusted with the mission of honouring your child’s memory by helping others.