James Alton Garrison, Jr., age 84, of Kyle, Texas passed away on Friday, April 16, 2021. He was born in Houston, Texas on November 20, 1936 to James Alton Garrison, Sr. and Pearl Aurelia Runnels Garrison.
During his childhood the family moved to the Rio Grande Valley where his father owned a hotel in Port Isabel, long before South Padre Island was developed. Rather than head to the beach, James headed to the Brush Country. He was a Cowboy, a Horseman, a S. Texas Quail Hunter and so much more. Family and friends recall his stories of “gathering” cattle from the brush country, where a cowboy worked through three horses in a day spanning over 14 hours, or more.
He worked the animal sale barn of his hometown of Pharr, Texas during high school and into his college days, introducing him to many of the area ranchers and fostering a love of horses and cattle. James graduated Texas A&I University with the Class of 1957 with a degree in Animal Husbandry. Following college, he worked for many prominent ranchers, including Lloyd Bentsen, Sr. and the Lasater Family of Hebronville, aiding in the development of the Beefmaster cattle breed.
In addition to being a “Cow Man”, he was a noted “Horse Man” as well, becoming an accredited judge with the American Appaloosa Horse Club, the American Quarter Horse Association and American Paint Horse Association. Horse training was a natural extension of his livelihood as a cowboy. And he was a world class team roper.
Over 50 years ago, James left the Brush Country for the Hill Country to work for the Johnson Family on the 6 F Beefmaster Ranch near Kyle, Texas. After 20 years of working the cattle, James bought the herd from Mr. Johnson and negotiated a beneficial grazing arrangement, which lasted for the past 30 years.
The other love in James’ life was his wife Jerry Evelyn Sellers who he met and married in 1961. She was a devoted wife and mother, joining James in his travels to Stock Shows and Rodeos across the land. From their union a son, Jim Runnels Garrison was born. Jim grew up on the 6F, helping James with the ranch work and being his roping partner. In 1994, Jim started a land clearing business, but the call of the saltwater life beckoned him back to the coast and he’s been a fishing guide for the last 11 years.
James was preceded in death Jerry Evelyn by 8 years. In addition to his son, he is survived by a brother William “Bill” Garrison. The song “The Cowboy Rides Away” by George Strait is a fitting tribute to James. Give it a listen soon.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on May 15, 2021 at the Driftwood Church Pavilion on RM 150, Driftwood, Texas.
Arrangements by Harrell Funeral Home – Kyle. Please visit James’ tribute page at www.harrellfuneralhomes.com