AUGUST 15, 2020 – “The nation lost a hero when John Lewis passed away, and our community lost our own hero when Judge Bransford’s father, Jim Bransford, passed away,” Judge Kevin Burke wrote in an e-mail last week to judges in the 4th Judicial District. “Jim did not give up on people.” Bransford was born in Havre de Grace, Md., in 1930, the oldest of five children.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and earned his bachelor’s degree from Macalester College in biochemistry. In 1957, he married Jeanne Watson and became a biochemist at the Veterans Hospital. But he lost that job when he helped himself to too many free drug samples and his drinking became a problem. After his second car crash, he stashed a flask of whiskey in his leg cast.
“I decided that was addictive behavior. I only decided that in hindsight. I thought it was pretty cool at the time,” Bransford told the Star Tribune in 2008.