Robert Brannon

November 13, 1950 — May 22, 2017

Capt. Robert B. Brannon, USN, Retired, Ph.D., 66. Surrounded by his family, Bob passed peacefully in his sleep after succumbing to pancreatic cancer on May 22, 2017, at his home in (Kayenta) Ivins, Utah. Born Nov. 13, 1950, in Alice, Texas, to Burl and Cleo Brannon, Bob grew up in Corsicana, Texas, and joined the United States Navy at the age of 17 after graduating from high school. He married Stella Diana Boone Oct. 13, 1979, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Robert Brannon wore many hats in four decades of federal service: Navy Sailor, Naval Officer, Naval Attaché, Educator and Author. He was also a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, mentor, teacher, professor, leader and stand-up guy until the very end.

Robert ‘Bob’ Brannon enjoyed an illustrious and international career that included prestigious assignments in Hawaii, Japan, Belgium, Russia and Germany. His most recent assignment was at the George C. Marshall Center (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany), from which Dr. Brannon retired after serving as the Dean of the College of International and Security Studies. Formerly, he was a member of the faculty at the National Defense University’s National War College in Washington, D.C., where he served for three years as Chairman of the Department of Security Studies and Professor of Strategy. On a previous assignment to the George C. Marshall Center, Dr. Brannon served as Director of the Senior Executive Seminar, and as Director of the Program in Advanced Security Studies. Specializing in Russian political and military affairs, he taught courses in national security strategy, civil-military relations, scenario planning for alternative futures and nuclear policy. Prior to that, he was the Chief of Naval Operations Chair and a member of the military faculty for four years.

Dr. Brannon was honored to be a National Security Fellow in residence at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and an International Affairs Fellow at MIT. He earned a Ph.D. in World Politics and Russian Studies, as well as an MA in International Affairs from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. His research interests focused primarily on Russian political-military affairs and civil-military relations and his published work includes Russian Civil-Military Relations, a book about civil-military relations in Russia during the transition from Yeltsin to Putin.

Retired from active duty after 38 years of service in the U.S. Navy, Capt. Brannon, Ret., served several tours at sea, including assignments on the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CV41) as assistant navigator and as a Naval Flight Officer with four different Patrol Squadrons, culminating with command of VP-45 while deployed to Keflavik, Iceland. Following his command tour, he was designated with a subspecialty in Russian and European international affairs, serving for three years at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, where he coordinated the initial framework documents for the Partnership for Peace. He became one of the Navy’s first designated Foreign Area Officers, prior to a three-year assignment in Russia as U.S. Naval Attaché.

Bob approached his plan for death the way he approached his plan for life with graciousness and dignity. He is survived by his beloved wife, Stella; his daughter, Stefanie Eigen, and son-in-law Sam Eigen (Las Vegas, Nevada); his son Christopher Brannon; daughter-in-law Kimberly Brannon; grandchildren Kaitlin and Jack Brannon (Las Vegas, Nevada); his daughter, Alexandra Brannon (Walnut Creek, California); sister, Martha Murrell (Austin, Texas) and sister Suzy Cleve (Mayhill, NM); and many extended family members. He is preceded in death by his parents, Burl and Cleo Brannon; his sister, Barbara Barratt, and his brother, Joe Brannon.

He has touched so many lives and he left us too early. We will miss him deeply mourning his passing but we insist on celebrating his life. Bob loved astronomy, gardening, reading, skiing, hiking, cycling, sitting in his Jacuzzi admiring the beautiful scenery surrounding his home in Kayenta and riding his new Harley. He will always be with us and if you are looking, there is a star with his name on it. The Robert B. Brannon Star with the coordinates: RA:9h17m26.12s DEC: +53°56’47.4” Near the Big Dipper. To sum it up, one of his favorite songs by Joe Walsh “Life’s Been Good” says it all.

Funeral services

  • Funeral & Interment services will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a to be determined date.
  • In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to National Association of American Veterans.

Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign his online guestbook at

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.