1938 - 2021
Porter Loring Mortuary McCullough
1101 McCullough Ave.
San Antonio, TX

Jim Branton passed away peacefully at home on July 19, 2021. He was born on April 19, 1938, to Oletha Imogene Westerman and George Linden Branton.

He grew up in Cisco, Texas, where he played football and was routinely tackled to gain a few yards. The early themes of courage and self-sacrifice continued through his life. Thanks to a devoted teacher, he matriculated to the Air Force Academy on a swimming scholarship, becoming the first in his family to go to college, and ultimately earned a J.D. from the University of Texas. In his U.T. days, he was adventurous enough to start a skydiving club and good-hearted enough to quit when his mother asked him to. In those years, he also joined the Catholic Church, and he remained a devout Catholic for the rest of his life. After graduating from law school, he served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force where he was a judge advocate, then later went on to a career in private law practice.

Jim believed passionately in the legal profession's role in creating a just world. He co-founded the law firm of Branton, Hall, Rodriguez, Cruz, where he focused on personal injury litigation. He earned a reputation for outstanding integrity, meticulous preparation, and extraordinary skill in the courtroom. He served as president of the State Bar of Texas from 1994 to 1995, and he also served as president of the San Antonio Bar Association, the San Antonio Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the San Antonio Trial Lawyers, and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. He helped draft the Texas Evidence Code and Texas Lawyer's Creed and was an advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and of the International Society of Barristers. In 2017, he was awarded the Luther Soules III Award for Outstanding Service to the Practice of Law. He and his friend Jim Lovett authored a series of law books used by trial lawyers for decades. He truly loved the profession, and it was one of the great joys of his life to contribute to its integrity and quality.

Jim leaves behind a devoted family. He married the love of his life, Molly Denman Branton, in 1968, and together they raised three daughters and delighted in their five grandchildren. Jim loved to hear his wife, daughters, and grandchildren sing, calling it "life changing." He taught his daughters how to scramble eggs, innertube, and ski, and that a person's word is sacred. He unfailingly listened to their point of view even when they were small and, more often than not, pivoted on the spot to agree with them. He adored his nephews, nieces, and all of his extended family. He was devoted to his friends and colleagues and mentored some of the greatest attorneys in our city.

Jim was, finally, courageous. He fought forest fires during the summers as a young man. He was an unflappable pilot who once landed a failing plane on the edge of the Grand Canyon. He stood up for victims of injustice and bigotry when it was not safe or popular. Perhaps most remarkable, he endured adversity, tragedy, and failing health with relentless good cheer and optimism.

He is survived by his wife, Molly Denman Branton, his three daughters, Christina Denman Branton, Victoria Branton Rico, and Claudia Pavon Fennell, and his five grandchildren Avery, Declan, and Penelope Fennell and Sophia and Lucas Rico.

Family will receive guests from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Porter Loring Mortuary, 1101 McCullough Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212 on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, for visitation. A funeral mass will take place at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 223 E Summit Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212, on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, at 10:00 am with interment to follow at Mission South Burial Park, 1700 SE Military Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214. Immediately following the burial, the family would like to invite everyone to join them at Club Giraud. For those who wish to send flowers, you may have them delivered to Porter Loring McCullough prior to visitation.

Memorials may be made to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation (teajf.org), Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (trla.org), Our Lady of Grace of Catholic Church, or the charity of your choice.

You are invited to sign

the Guestbook at


Published by Express-News on Jul. 25, 2021.
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5:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.
Porter Loring Mortuary
1101 McCullough Ave., San Antonio, TX
Funeral Mass
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
223 E Summit Ave, San Antonio, TX
Funeral services provided by:
Porter Loring Mortuary McCullough
Please consider a donation as requested by the family.
Sponsored by Porter Loring Mortuary McCullough.
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8 Entries
Dear Molly and family, I am heartbroken to hear the news about Jim. He was a light in my life and will be in my heart forever. My prayers to all of you. Sandy
Sandra Keigh
August 3, 2021
Jim Branton was a "lion" of the bar for decades. He represented the best of our profession and an inspiration to others who were fortunate enough to know him. R.I.P. old friend. You will be missed.
Mark Murray
July 30, 2021
BASIS.ed Texas Charter Schools
July 29, 2021
Molly and family. We were so sad to hear about James' death. You and your family are in our prayers. Bill and Doris Altman
Doris and Bill Altman
July 28, 2021
My wife, Sylvia and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of our friend, Jim Branton whom we shall keep in our prayers.
Joe Ramirez
July 28, 2021
SA Trial Lawyers Association
July 27, 2021
My dear Molly, Victoria, Claudia and precious Christina, I am deeply saddened by Jim´s passing. He has always been a ray of light in my life. Never have I known such a grounded, lovely, cheerful, kind and committed human being. One so steady, sunny, and embracing no matter his discomforts and physical struggles deserves a place of honor in the host of his creator. I have been blessed to have known him for so long and to have been privy to his love for his wonderful wife and daughters through the years. I am sorry to not be there to celebrate his extraordinary life and accomplishments with you. Love, Sally
Sally Kleberg
July 25, 2021
To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die. My sincere condolence to all family members.
Jackie Meldrom
July 25, 2021
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