James Hugh Brennan III of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 25, after a short but brave battle with cancer, surrounded by his adoring children and son-in-law.
Born on Nov. 10, 1948, in New Orleans, Jimmy grew up in Dothan, Al., the oldest of three children. His childhood consisted of weekend trips to the family beach house in Panama City; bird-watching expeditions with his beloved grandfather, Daddy Jack; driving his younger sister crazy with the help of their baby brother; and golf, lots of golf. Growing up next to the Dothan Country Club, the golf course became his personal playground and his natural talent for the sport was evident early on.
Upon graduating from Dothan High School, Jimmy left to attend Auburn University where he was a member of the Auburn golf team, SGA vice president and an enthusiastic brother in the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, the house for which still has a plaque with his name included as one of the “Five Legends of Lambda Chi.” It was at Auburn he met the young men who would continue to be his closest friends until the very end of his life, and become surrogate uncles to his children.
After Auburn, he received his MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and embarked on a decades-long career in venture capitalism in New York City, Atlanta, and finally, his longtime home, Chattanooga. Jimmy was innately curious and had a lifelong passion for learning. He loved his magazines, reading Scientific American, Astronomy, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Garden and Gun, and Rolling Stone cover to cover each month.
A scratch golfer, Jimmy won several tournaments including the Atlanta City Metro, was a director of The Southern Golf Association and competed in the Southern Amateur on several occasions. The sport would continue to be one of the joys of his life until his back would no longer allow him to play like he once did.
Perhaps his two greatest passions were gardening and music. There was no activity he loved more than spending time in the dirt with music blasting in the background. He listened to everything from Led Zeppelin and Joni Mitchell to Eminem and, most recently, Harry Styles. He could take a dying orchid and transform it to a blooming masterpiece like it was nothing.
Beneath his quick-witted, rambunctious and hyper-energetic exterior, he was an incredibly tender father to his two beloved children, Jamie and Kate. As he did with everything, he entered fatherhood at full throttle and made a point to spend as much time with them as possible, from weekly card games to seeing live music to weekend getaways.
He is survived by his loving children, James “Jamie” Hugh Brennan IV and Kate Brennan Tew (Steven), both of Chattanooga; his sister, Patricia Brennan Haslam (Jim) of Canton, Ga..; his nieces and nephews; his grandnieces and nephews; and several friends who were as close to him as family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James Hugh Brennan, Jr. and Martha Miles Brennan and brother, Lee Miles Brennan, all of Dothan, Al., along with the mother of his children, Susan Bryant of Chattanooga.
A celebration of life will be held in the New Year with details forthcoming.
The family requests that donations be made in Jimmy’s memory to Chattanooga’s Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 4506 Hixson Pike, 423 531-3975.