Who was Christopher Branch

Photo of Christopher C. BranchChristopher “Chris” Chapman Branch, age 67, passed away on May 7, 2022, after more than a year of battling cancer. Through Chris’s fight with cancer, he upheld the most admirable strength as this disease captured him.

Throughout his last year, four months and seven days, Chris smiled, worked as the City of Portland’s Public Works Director, loved his family and friends, fulfilled his passion as a swim official and consumed his free time camping with his wife, three children and grandson in their fifth wheel over weekends and even on some weekdays.

Chris served many roles outside of his professional career as an engineer, town planning boards, zoning boards and most recognizable, an influential part of Maine Swimming. Chris was not only a coach from a very young age, but he served as a swim official and referee, he led, and organized state swim meets. He volunteered much of his time to the swimming community in Maine.

Chris – who swam as an age-group swimmer for the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA and on his high school swim team at Edward Little High School – coached many swimmers from 1977 through 2001 and officiated more than 1000 swim meets. He coached teams at the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA, as well as Kennebec Valley YMCA, where his coaching led many swimmers to a national level.

Chris became a member of the Maine Swim Officials’ Association in 1977, he officiated high school swim meets until February 2022, and he served as a High School Swim and Dive State Meet Referee for more than 20 years. He also served as a Maine Principals Association Swim and Dive State Meet Director for more than 15 years.

In 2009 the Maine Principals Association Class A High School State Swim and Dive Meets were dedicated to Chris for his important contributions to swimming and diving and their appreciation of his long and dedicated service to the Youth of Maine. Chris was awarded the Maine Principals Association’s Larry LaBrie Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Interscholastic Division in 2019.

Additionally, Chris was also a NCAA Collegiate Swim and Dive official and officiated hundreds of dual meets and NESCAC Championships. He was a registered USA Swimming coach and official for more than 20 years, he acted as USA Swimming Maine Meet Director for eight years and was the USA Maine Swimming General Chair for four years. Chris also served as the President of the Maine Swimming Officials Association for more than 10 years and was a member of the Central Maine Swim Officials Chapter.

Christopher Branch upheld an admirable life, he was a loving father, husband and most proudly a loving grandfather, as well a mentor, coach, and friend to many. His strength, honor, humbleness- his care, grace, and compassion as he fought this disease tirelessly for 492 days – will be a staple in his memory.

Last Updated on March 10, 2024

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