James Wallace Brandon, 92, of Shelbyville, passed away on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, at his home surrounded by his loving family and friends.
Mr. Brandon was born on Dec. 11, 1926 in Akron, Ohio. He was a graduate of Woodbury High School in Woodbury, Tennessee.
He was always adamant and faithful to attend his Sunday morning Baptist church service, regardless where the horse show was on Saturday night. His love for horses began after his father bought him his first pony at the age of 10. It continued to blossom and at the age of 18, when he became a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer.
After numerous jobs and mentors, he began his dream of owning and operating his own stable at Hickory Hill Farm in Franklin. It was a huge success for 50 years producing numerous world champions for himself as well as amateur and youth riders.
In 1954, Wallace put his name in the history books and not only won his first World Grand Championship, Midnight Minister, but four World Grand Champions. Among the many champions he rode were 1969 Aged Stallion Champion Reserve World Grand Champion Sensational Shadow, 1976 Three-Year-Old Grand Champion Ebony’s Darlin Lady and more recently the Multi World Grand Champion in the Plantation Pleasure Division, Pusher’s Benny Boy and Stripper’s Finale.
Later in his career, he began training flat shod horses. He was a pioneer of the Flat Shod Division, riding the first Lite Shod Plantation World Grand Champion Heaping Spoonful in 1989.
Wallace, fondly known as “Cuz,” was the sixth person inducted into the 1983 Celebration Hall of Fame. The Roast of Wallace Brandon was the first event held at the Celebration’s Blue Ribbon Circle Club after its opening in 1983. Wallace was a Walking Horse Trainers Association (WHTA) 1968 founding Charter Member, lifetime member, 1979-1980 president, 1997 Trainer of the Year, 2004 and 2011 Friendship Club inductee (only person to ever receive twice) and received the 2017 Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Frances Lester Brandon of Woodbury; daughters, Debora Brandon Harris of Lebanon, Janice Brandon Huffman of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Laura Alison English of Franklin; and daughter-in-law, Constance Brandon of Olive Branch, Mississippi.
He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Laura Moreton Brandon; sons, James Wallace Brandon Jr. and James Robert English III; sons-in-law Richard Harris and Josh (Jane)Huffman; sisters-in-law, Valentine (Ovidio) Pugnale and Charlotte Sledge; brother-in-law, David (Diane) Moreton; grandchildren, Shelly Linville (Robert) Bryan, Ashley (Corey) Hawkins, Brandon (Brittany) Huffman, Taylor (Aaron) Walker, Kelly Dawn (Brandon) Bass, Cody-Dale (Michael) Claridy and Justin Brandon; 13 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life for Mr. Brandon will be held on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 with service starting at 3 p.m. and reception to follow in the Blue Ribbon Circle Club on the Celebration Grounds at 1110 North Evans Street, Shelbyville, TN 37160. Josh Huffman and Pastor Steve Murphee speak.
Feldhaus Memorial Chapel is assisting the family.