James Ashton Braband remembered for his leadership

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James Ashton Braband, a journalism senior and member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, died Sunday, March 3, in Houston. He was 22. 

During his time at the University, Braband's friends said he was a natural leader in the classroom and within his social circle. Those who knew him are quick to acknowledge his hard-working attitude, uplifting personality and altruistic manner. 

James Wolfgang Kuntz, an economics senior and close friend of Braband, said “Ash” was wise beyond his years, a loyal friend who always listened, never judged and gave sound advice. 

“He was the man with the plan,” Kuntz said. “He could walk into a room without you knowing him, and in five minutes you would feel like you could tell him anything.”

Braband started his journalistic career at The Horn, an online publication that covers UT related news.

Matt Portillo, a consulting editor for The Horn, said Braband had a clear, focused prose, journalistic ability and amicable attitude toward criticism.

“Ash was great to talk to and work with,” Portillo said. “He was extremely respectful, a testament to the strength of his character. It was a great working relationship while we had it.”

Braband is survived by his parents, Sandi and Dexter Braband, and his two brothers, Kirby and Sloan. 

A memorial service is being held Thursday at 4 p.m. inside the Sanctuary of Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston. The family is asking all customary donations be directed to the Cullen Dolphins Special Olympic Swim Team, which Braband coached.

Published on March 7, 2013 as "UT journalism student remembered 'man with a plan'".