James Whitla Braham, age 88, passed away peacefully on, June 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, surrounded by his family. Beloved husband of 47 years to Kathleen Braham; loving father of James Whitla Braham Jr. (Amy), Elizabeth Braham Simons (Bruce), Kathyrn Hossler Braham, and Andrew Hall Braham (Jennifer); cherished grandfather of James, Michael, Russell, Julia, Grace, Emmerich, Josephine and Juliet; son of the late Justice William Walter Braham and Selina Whitla Braham, brother of the late Isabel Braham Pedersen and W. Walter Braham Jr. James’ first wife, Jane Vance Braham, of Canton, Ohio, passed away in 1969. She was affectionately known as “Miss Janey” from her many years hosting “The Romper Room” show on WTAE in Pittsburgh.
Jim was born Feb. 18, 1933, in New Castle, Pennsylvania. His father was a judge on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and instilled in Jim a maniacal love of growing the largest heirloom tomatoes possible. His mother, Selina, instilled a love of lifelong learning in Jim, and introduced the entire family to Chautauqua Institution where Jim spent every summer of his life, sailing Lightnings with his older brother, Walter, and in later years, sharing the front porch of the summer home with his whip-smart sister, Isabel.
Jim graduated from Mercersburg Academy, where he became lasting friends with the former Governor of Pennsylvania, Dick Thornburg. Jim graduated from Princeton University in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and then served as a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
Jim started his career at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh and then became an investment banker at Parker/Hunter where for 41 years he specialized in IPOs. Jim was a member of the Fox Chapel Golf Club for over 56 years.
Jim was a gentleman with a strong sense of mischief and a delightfully keen sense of humor. He raised his four children and eight grandchildren to always explore life to the fullest, and regularly said, “Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.”
As a lifelong Chautauquan, he instilled his love of knowledge and art in all of them. His happiest days were holding court on the front porch with a drink in hand, sharing a story and a laugh with all who walked by.
We are eternally grateful for the encouraging, joyful life he championed. We will miss this gentleman of all gentlemen sorely. Rest in peace, Dad, we will keep fighting the good fight on your behalf.
A memorial service was held at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests memorial contributions to Chautauqua Institution as a celebration of his respect for all that he, and his extended family, learned there.