A memorial service for April Branch, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.’s executive assistant, will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, in the Rainbow PUSH Coalition auditorium, 930 E. 50 St. Branch died in her Chatham home on Friday, July 23, at the age of 58.
Branch was the oldest of three children born to Sylvia and Albert Branch. April was raised in the Avalon Park community where she attended the Avalon Park Elementary School. After graduating from Percy Julian High School, Branch completed her college education at Roosevelt University.
Her baby sister, Kimberly Branch, said her sister’s career began at the Chicago Public Schools. She then began working for Alderman Anthony Beale (9th). For the next decade, April followed in her mother’s career footsteps, who also worked as Rev. Jackson’s executive assistant. Like her daughter, Sylvia also passed.
“She was a very complicated person, but she was very nurturing. You just had to pick the day with April. She has the biggest heart,” Kimberly said, remembering her big sister and how she mentored her son.
She described her sister as a woman who loved flowers, architecture, paintings, the color pink, and who was a “collector of many things. She was an avid reader, and she loved to cook. April was super efficient, was very stylish, and she was an avid shopper,” Kimberly Branch recalled.
In remembering his trusted, loyal worker, Rev. Jackson described April as being a good servant who really worked with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition all of her life,” he said referring to her mother’s work, commitment and dedication to the Civil Rights organization.
April was always willing to help—either in organizing Civil Rights events for Rev. Jackson or literally rolling up her sleeves and helping pack free meals for those who were food insecure.
It was just two days before her death that she proudly organized the welcome home celebration held at O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday, July 21, when Rev. Jackson returned from Paris, France, where he received that nation’s highest order of merit, the Legion of Honour, presented by French President Emmanuel Macron.
She meticulously took roll call for those traveling on a coach bus from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters to O’Hare Airport. April was determined to make sure no one was left behind, and when asking supporters on the bus to raise their hands to be counted and that didn’t work, she had them to verbally shout out their numbers. That was April Branch. Always willing to step up to ensure events went right.
Having worked for Rev. Jackson for the past 10 years, Rev. Jackson said, “April will be missed. She had integrity and a strong work ethic.”
April died of natural causes, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
She leaves to mourn her father, Albert Branch; a daughter, Christian Kimberly Branch; a sister, Kimberly Branch; a brother, Anthony Branch; and a host of friends and relatives.