James Street, a loving husband and father, a compassionate businessman and an icon in sports in America in the late 1960s and an enduring hero to the fans of The University of Texas, died unexpectedly in the early hours of September 30, 2013. He was 65 years old. As president and CEO of The James Street Group - one of the nation's largest structured settlement firms with offices in nineteen states and eight Texas cities - James Street took the tools of leadership and competitiveness he learned as a football and baseball player at Texas and led his company team with "honesty and integrity." James Lowell Street was born August 2, 1948, in Longview, Texas. He attended Longview public schools and was a stand-out athlete in both baseball and football. He signed a football scholarship and competed in both sports at The University of Texas at Austin, beginning with his freshman year of 1966 - 67. In the baseball season of 1968 he earned the first of three team MVP awards as he helped lead Cliff Gustafson's first Longhorn team to the College World Series. With Street as their leader, the team returned to Omaha in both 1969 and 1970, finishing in the nation's top four twice. But it would be in football that he would etch his name among the Longhorn immortals. As the Longhorns were struggling to an 0 - 1- 1 record in the first year of the revolutionary new "Wishbone" offense, Coach Darrell Royal inserted Street at quarterback in the second half of a loss at Texas Tech. With that, the journey began. The next week, with Street as a starting quarterback, Texas beat Oklahoma State. A week later, he led his first come-from-behind victory to defeat Oklahoma in Dallas. En route to what would be a 30-game winning streak, the Longhorns went on to win all twenty games with Street as their starter in 1968 and 1969. The highlights came in the "Game of the Century" victory over Arkansas in the final game of the 100th season of college football in 1969. Down 14 - 0 at the start of the fourth quarter, Street engineered two scoring drives and a two-point conversion for a 15 - 14 victory. That game clinched UT's second National Championship, but the season actually ended with another dramatic comeback, a 21 - 17 triumph over Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic. In baseball, he parlayed a wicked curve ball into three-time all-Southwest Conference honors. He had an opportunity to play pro baseball, but a slow-healing pulled groin muscle ended his playing days. After his football successes and the opportunities it afforded him, James remained in Austin. He's been in the insurance business for more than 40 years. The James Street Group includes structured settlements, lien resolutions and trust management. The company, with a stated purpose of functioning "with honesty and integrity," took the values Street learned as an athlete at Texas and combined them with his deep East Texas roots. James soon found himself to be about three things - his family, his clients, and a legion of people whom he helped with a smile or a song. He helped both young and old who struggled with alcoholism - a battle James himself had won more than thirty years ago. He coached kids in junior baseball, and created a deep bond with each of his five sons, as well as his wife, Janie, whom he married August 22, 1981. For several years, he joined first Mack Brown and later Major Applewhite in hosting a golf tournament for the Rise School of Austin - a school which provides education for both main stream and special needs kids. He never met a stranger, and always seemed to have time for everybody. His energy, and his charity, seemingly knew no bounds. He received numerous awards in his profession and as a philanthropist in Austin, and in 2010 he was named a Distinguished American by the Greater Austin Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. James was also a member of the Longhorn Hall of Honor and Texas Sports Hall of Fame. James was preceded in death by his parents, Helen Eaton Street and Grover Street, and brother, Grover Street. He is survived by his wife, Janie, as well as sons: Ryan and wife Dinah and grandchildren Hayden and Reagan; Huston and wife Lacey and grandchildren Ripken and Ryder; Juston, Jordon and Hanson. He is also survived by his twin-sister Mary Kristynik and her husband Paul and brother, Sewell Street as well as many nieces and nephews. Services will be held at 11 a. m. on Friday, October 4, 2013 at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 5455 Bee Cave Road, Austin. A viewing and visitation will be held at the church prior to the service, 9:30 - 11 a. m. A private burial will follow. The University Of Texas Department Of Athletics will host a reception for friends and family following the service on the 8th Floor of the Red McCombs Red Zone North Endzone building at Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, friends may want to consider the Rise School of Austin, 5206 Balcones Dr., Austin, Texas 78731, The Street 16 Foundation, 1221 South Mopac Expressway, Suite 180, Austin, Texas 78746 or a charity of their choice
. Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published by Austin American-Statesman from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4, 2013.