Thomas Matthew Braniff
1945 - 2021
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Thomas Matthew Braniff
1945-2021
Thomas Matthew Braniff passed away peacefully at his home in Houston, Texas on the 12th of February 2021, at the age of 75. He was born on the 22nd of August 1945, in Houston, Texas to Tenie Roberta Braniff and James J. Braniff, Jr., who founded James J. Braniff & Company in 1938. He attended grade school at St. Vincent de Paul and high school at St. Thomas High School, graduating in 1963.
While in high school, Tom began working for the Houston Colt 45s, an expansion team in American major league baseball's National League, owned by Houston legend and former mayor Roy Hofheinz, whose dream to bring major league baseball to Houston and build the world's first multi-purpose domed sports stadium was realized when the Colt 45s morphed into the Astros in 1965 for the grand opening of the Astrodome. Tom had many interesting experiences that included tours of Hofheinz's lavish private five-story home within the Dome, taking visitors on tours of the stadium and to viewings of the classic movie "How the West was Won," starring Jimmy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds and Gregory Peck, and developing a close personal and lifelong friendship with exiled Cuban baseball Spanish broadcaster Orlando Sanchez Diago.
He attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio earning an undergraduate and a law degree and acquired an enduring affection for the city and its Spanish culture while developing several lifetime friendships. During his undergraduate years, he worked summers in the family independent insurance agency, where he joined brothers, James J. Braniff, III and John R. Braniff, brokering property and casualty insurance at a time when Houston's commercial real estate market was rapidly expanding and their customers included restaurants, commercial real estate, and condominiums. The agency also innovated arena insurance, providing coverages for the Astrodome, the Summit, Compaq Center and other sporting arenas, many of which later became performance venues where he and friends enjoyed music concerts.
Upon graduation from law school, Tom joined his family as a shareholder in the agency where they worked together in Houston's fast and furious learning curve to build the agency into one of Houston's finest, brokering insurance covering an expanding array of risks. Ever a student of insurance and advocate of professionalism in his field, Tom earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter professional designation, the industry's most esteemed credential in property/casualty insurance, and was invited to join the Houston chapter of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society. He also authored a weekly insurance column for the Houston Chronicle, as its youngest contributor.
By the mid-1980s, the agency, rebranded Braniff + Braniff, had quadrupled its size and revenues, and was subsequently merged with Arthur J. Gallagher & Company, a global insurance brokerage, at which time Tom left the agency/brokerage business to found Texas Insurance Consulting, providing legal representation to agencies in a wide array of services, including expert witness testimony, merger and acquisition brokerage, agency consulting services and legal services.
He met his wife, Wendall Corrigan, a law student and Legislative Aide to the Harris County Delegation of the Texas Legislature, while advocating legislation to improve service and accountability within the Texas insurance industry at the state capitol in Austin. Tom and Wendy embarked upon a romance, marriage and partnership based upon mutual personal values and a commitment to insurance education that endured throughout his lifetime.
Over time, he separated the expert witness and litigation business of Texas Insurance Consulting into a partnership with attorney, expert witness and friend Robert P. Gaddis, creating Insurance Forensics. Tom's son, attorney and insurance agent Rhett Braniff, also partnered with his father on several cases for both entities, and with wife Wendy Braniff and son-in-law Steven Charnquist, they formed Braniff Attorneys – Counselors, a law firm offering legal services within the areas of expertise of its family of attorneys including insurance, real estate, water and administrative law and consulting services.
Tom's inquisitive and focused mind drove him to become an education advocate, seeking to provide access to education, mentorship and professional career development on various levels. Together with his St. Thomas graduating class brothers he established a scholarship for which they raised funds and he served as the liaison between the Class of '63 members and their STHS scholarship recipients.
Tom became a member of the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT), playing an instrumental role in the creation of its legislative committee and involved in its political action committee, IMPACT, in Houston. For this and numerous other contributions to the state association, he earned the organization's coveted Paige Iland Political Action Award for political involvement benefitting independent insurance agents. He also taught conference seminars, developed sample contracts used by agents, and provided guidance and legal expertise to its leadership's decision making. Tom, in association with IIAT chapters throughout Texas, formed a partnership with Wortham Insurance Agency and the Joseph Blades family to fund and spearhead the establishment of an insurance and risk management undergraduate program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Tom was also actively involved in the leadership of the local Independent Insurance Agents of Houston (IIAH), a chapter of the state association, serving on the board of directors, numerous committees, authoring an insurance law article for its monthly publication and elected to a term as its president. In a concerted effort with IIAH members and other Houston insurance professionals, Tom created an undergraduate degree program at the University of Houston-Downtown to develop new industry talent and with the ultimate goal of mentoring those young professionals into leadership roles within the Houston property/casualty insurance industry. They recruited Tom's wife, Wendy, to serve as director of the program and along with an Advisory Council comprised of Houston's insurance leadership, developed a property/casualty curriculum uniquely designed to simultaneously provide graduates with academic as well as professional insurance credentials. Tom was a faculty member who taught insurance classes in the UH-D program and at Houston Community College. Through his and the efforts, mentoring and support of its Council members, its students and graduates succeeded into insurance careers throughout Houston and Texas.
In order to recruit and support students, Tom and Houston insurance colleagues Tim Brady, Matt Sasso and Kyle Dean created the Texas Insurance Education Foundation (TIEF) to raise and distribute scholarships and other supporting funds to the UH-D program and its students. Tom and Wendy also became avid supporters of the Insurance Council of Texas's Education Foundation which directs member contributions to university insurance programs throughout Texas and promotes the careers of their students and graduates in the property/casualty insurance industry.
Tom's membership in the American Association of Insurance Management Consultants (AAIMCo), an exclusive and elite cadre of insurance experts who provide consulting and expert witness services to the insurance industry throughout the United States, led to his service as the association's president for seven terms, and recognition within the organization as "Mr. AAIMCo."
The Braniffs served together on various insurance industry committees, attended Texas insurance association meetings and conferences and enjoyed traveling throughout the United States for conferences with their AAIMCo colleagues and friends. Their dynamic partnership extended beyond their shared professional lives to their mutual personal interests in exploring their Celtic orgins, politics, music, golf, family and especially their six grandchildren. Tom's weekly highlight was dinner enjoyed with their Houston grandchildren. He was exceptionally pleased when Finnian enrolled in his beloved alma mater, St. Thomas High School, and proud to learn of Sayer's acceptance to University of Houston this fall. They were also active in their local communities of Cambridge Green in Houston and Onion Creek in Austin and were avid golfers, with memberships at BraeBurn Country Club in Houston and Onion Creek Club in Austin where they also shared a second home. They enjoyed golfing with friends throughout the United States and in Ireland from Pebble Beach to Ballybunion. Tom and Wendy were members of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church for several decades. He was a blues aficionado who accumulated an extensive music collection and created personal compilations of his favorite artists' work which he generously shared with family and friends.
Tom was an American and Texas patriot, dedicated and loyal husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. He is survived by his wife, Wendall (Wendy) Corrigan Braniff, siblings James J. Braniff III, John R. Braniff, Tenie Braniff, and Sister Ginny Braniff, daughter Farrah Braniff, son-in-law Steven Charnquist and their children Sayer, Finnian and Einin and son Rhett Braniff and wife Emily and their children Loudon, Gibson and Jolene, 10 nephews and nieces and their spouses and 29 children and 41 cousins and their spouses, children and extended family members. He is predeceased by his brother Daniel P. Braniff.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation from five o'clock in the afternoon to seven o'clock in the evening on Wednesday, the 24th of February 2021, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at ten o'clock in the morning on Saturday the 27th of February 2021, at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church 6800 Buffalo Speedway in Houston, where Mr. Braniff's cousin, The Most Reverend Wm. Michael Mulvey, STL, DD, Bishop of Corpus Christi will serve as celebrant.
For those unable to attend the Memorial Mass in-person, virtual attendance will be available via live stream and may be accessed by visiting www.GeoHLewis.com and selecting Mr. Braniff's online memorial tribute page and selecting the "Join Livestream" icon in the service section. Friends may also share memories and words of comfort and condolence electronically with his family.
His final resting place will be at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston, Texas.
In lieu of flowers and other customary remembrances, the family requests that memorial gifts in Tom's name be made to Texas Insurance Education Foundation, 8980 Lakes at 610 Drive, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77054.



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Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 21, 2021.
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10 entries
March 1, 2021
My heartfelt condolences to Wendy, Tom's children and grandchildren, and the Braniff family. I just learned tonight of Tom's passing, and feel the world has lost a man of unique stature. Tom and I were friends from our college days. He helped my with my insurance while I lived in Texas, and I visited him & Wendy in their home in Houston and Austin. He was someone I knew I could count on.
Tom has made his imprint here, and now it is time for him to know true joy and peace with our Lord, forever. My prayers are with all of you to find that same peace.
Connie McNeel
February 28, 2021
Sincere condolences to the Braniff family. Have great memories of our
years at St. Mary’s University.
Robert (Ace) Dwyer
Classmate
February 26, 2021
We are so sorry to learn of Tom's passing. Tom was a great friend and wonderful business associate that handled several of our legal matters. He was extremely knowledgeable and we knew we were in good hands with Tom! We will miss him greatly and we know that he is irreplaceable. Our hearts go out to Wendy and the family at this difficult time. May he rest in peace.
Barbara Marzean, Steph Dew and Glenn Hastings
WinStar Insurance Group
Barbara Marzean
Acquaintance
February 24, 2021
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February 24, 2021
Sincere condolences and may your family be blessed with peace, and the presence of love of friends and family carry you through your time of grieving. God will bestow his blessing on Tom and his family.
Our industry will remember him as a man of integrity, knowledge and kindness. .
Eloise Rios
Acquaintance
February 24, 2021
Wendy, I am at a loss to ably put into words how much I treasured my friendship and professional relationship with Tom. We just had lunch about three or four weeks ago to catch up. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Tom in the early 1990s when I was a young lawyer and he was an expert for us in defending an agency E&O matter. Since then, Tom was an expert for me many times and was always a wealth of information on most anything related to insurance even when he wasn't or couldn't serve as an expert. Tom was the epitome of a gentleman and a true professional. I certainly looked up to Tom as an example of how a lawyer and a professional should conduct oneself. I thank God for his life, and for the fact that our paths crossed.
Wayne Pickering
Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, LLP
Houston
Wayne Pickering
Friend
February 23, 2021
To the Braniff Family -- Please know my sincere condolences and those of all of our Shanahan family on the passing of Tom Braniff. Although many years have passed since St. Thomas High School and wonderful friendships with Jim, Johnny and Tenie, the joy of knowing you and your extended families still remains. I look forward to joining you as we say our good-byes to Tom and reflecting on a life well lived. May he rest in the eternal peace of the Lord -- and may his memory be a blessing to all of us.

John Shanahan
Houston, TX & Co. Meath, Ireland
John Shanahan
Friend
February 22, 2021
I had several classes at St Thomas with Tom who I remember as a very even-keeled teenager who literally got along with everybody. A very likeable fellow indeed.

Phillip Valenti
Phillip Valenti
February 21, 2021
Tommy was my fraternity brother at St. Mary's University and a great friend. We have share many a happy time with he and Wendy. Tommy will be missed by all. May he rest in peace with the love of our God.
Joe and Karen Hugenberg
Friend
February 20, 2021
Dear Braniff family,
We share your sorrow and are thankful for Tommy's life. He had a great run here on Earth and has claimed his reward in Heaven. May you all know the Peace that surpasses all understanding. Much love to each of you.
Carl & Gretchen (Hahn) Kuehnel

Gretchen Hahn Kuehnel
Friend
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