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F.D. "Set" Branham, U . athletic star in 1950s, dies

Published June 14, 2014 4:06 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Former University of Utah football and basketball great F.D. "Set" Branham died May 17 in St. George after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 88.

As a Ute football player in the early 1950s, Branham finished his career as the school's third leading all-time scorer at the time. According to Fanbase.com, he led the Utes to three Skyline Conference championships and, as a halfback, earned all-Skyline Conference honors for two years.

He never lost to BYU in three football meetings and was known for seldom fumbling. A story in the Floyd County Times about Branham returning to Prestonburg, Kentucky, last year to have his No. 52 jersey retired said he fumbled only three times in his career — once in high school and twice in college.

"Football taught me more about life than anything," the Kentucky newspaper quoted Branham as saying. "I use it every day. I'd do it all over again if I could."

Branham went on to play professional football for the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders for two years before knee injuries curtailed his career.

Branham was an all-state honoree in football, basketball and baseball for Prestonburg High School, Kentucky, where he grew up.

After his father, Lewis Branham, died in 1934 due to tuberculosis, Branham was raised in Prestonburg by his mother, Fanny.

He spent some time in Detroit, where his mother worked in a factory making bombers.

He worked in the insurance business for many years before retiring in St. George, where he developed close relationships with his grandsons while they attended Dixie State.

He is survived by his two children, Georjane and F.D.