ORLANDO, FL — James Brandon “Jim” Byrne Jr., 81, of Orlando, Florida, passed away peacefully with family by his side on Nov. 7, 2020.
Jim was born in Teaneck, New Jersey, on Feb. 12, 1939 to James B. Sr., and Mary Kane Byrne. He grew up in Rochester, New York, where he attended Catholic schools.
After graduating from Aquinas High School, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and served on SAC bases in Texas and Loring, Maine. Upon completion of his service with an honorable discharge, he graduated with honors from St. John Fisher College with a degree in Economics. After meeting at a “mixer” at Nazareth College and dating for two years, he married his wife, Monica, in 1964. They headed to Ithaca where Jim attended Cornell Law School. Upon graduation from Cornell in 1966, they’d had it with the cold weather and moved to Orlando where Jim began a 43-year career in the practice of law. Early in his career, he served as Municipal Judge in Casselberry, Florida.
Jim was proud of being a National and Florida Bar Certified Civil Trial Specialist, accomplishing each certification from the first offering. He held these designations for more than 30 years. He was recognized, along with Sammy Cacciatore, for being the first lawyers to be a Florida Bar Certified Civil Trial Specialist for 30 consecutive years. He also attained the designation of AV Preeminent from Martindale Hubbell for more than 30 years. He was a 54-year member of The Florida Bar.
Jim loved the game of golf even when it didn’t love him back. He shared that love with his three daughters introducing them to the game through Pete Osborn’s golf camp at Rolling Hills Golf Club. He never missed a tournament or high school match, crisscrossing the state to see them play. He even had a stint at “looping” when he caddied for his daughter at the 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational Pro-Am.
Jim served as president of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando’s first Board of Education, and later as president of the Bishop Moore Board of Education, and was a 51-year communicant of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church. He was a proud member, past president, and Paul Harris Fellow of the Seminole County South Rotary Club and as a good Irishman, started their TGIF Happy Hour.
Believing in practicing law with professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence, Jim was a board member and past president of the Seminole Inn of Court. He was a Life Member of the Knights of Columbus, a participant in the Renew Program at Saint Mary Magdalen, a member of the Irish-American Cultural Society of Central Florida, and the Rolling Hills Golf Club. He was a life-long Yankee Fan and an avid Orlando Magic Fan.
Jim is survived by his wife of 56 years, Monica, and their three daughters, Peggy Bassett and husband Jim, Katie Byrne, and Betsy Moricle and husband Bill. Their seven grandchildren are Riley, Hayden, and Sophie Bassett; and Grace, Griffin, Hollis, and Hadley Moricle. He is also survived by his two sisters and brothers-in-law, Mary Pat and Vito Vitelli of Fairport, New York, and Betty and Lou Ehmann of Pittsford, New York. Additionally, he leaves two sisters-in-law, Martha Andreo of Bedford, New Hampshire, and Meg and brother-in-law Jim Schneider of Oswego, New York. Four nieces and two nephews also survive him.
A wake will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, in The Family Life Center of Annunciation Catholic Church, 1020 Montgomery Rd., Altamonte Springs, Florida.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Annunciation Catholic Church.
If desired, donations may be made in memory of Jim to the Rotary Foundation, One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201-3698; or the Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 SE 1st St., Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131.
Because of the Covid pandemic, a celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a later date.