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.
You are invited to signthe Guestbook atwww.porterloring.com