Longtime Elkhart Rotary member, Jim Brotherson, passed away on December 18th.  Jim was a Rotary member since May 1, 1979 and past president of Rotary 1993–94. In April of this year the Elkhart Noon Rotary presented Jim with the J & K Kissinger award for his 36 years of service in civic and community affairs.
(please click below for more about Jim)
Born in South Bend Feb. 27, 1952, but grew up in Elkhart and graduated from Elkhart High School in 1970. In 1974 he graduated from Duke University where he was a member of the varsity swim team and Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After college, Jim spent a short stint as a newspaper reporter in Anderson, but ultimately attended law school at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law graduating in 1978. In the mid 1990s, Jim spent a semester as the assistant dean for Alumni Relations at the law school.

Jim began practicing law in Elkhart in 1978 with Robert A. Pfaff. Their business firm grew from Pfaff and Brotherson to Chester, Pfaff and Brotherson, and in 2000 joined Baker & Daniels, LLP. Ultimately, Baker & Daniels, LLP merged with a Minneapolis-based firm Faegre & Benson, LLP forming Faegre Baker Daniels, which created one of the 100th largest law firms in the United States.
Jim’s area of concentration was primarily corporate law, with an emphasis on the rights and obligations of the corporation’s owners. Most of his work was devoted to the recreational vehicle industry. Jim led the Faegre recreational vehicle industry practice, and it was a practice, which was truly national in scope. The firm’s clients included companies in Elkhart, Canada, California, Texas, Iowa, and Florida.

Jim believed that lawyers carried an important duty to the communities in which they practiced. To that end, the Indiana University Law School presented him with their biennial Distinguished Service Award in 2013. Jim was also the recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash presented to him by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Jim served as president of many boards in the Elkhart community including Elkhart Rotary Club, the YMCA board of directors, and the Samaritan Center. He served as a member of the board of the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care and the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. Jim stayed in close contact with his law school colleagues, and served as the president of the law school’s alumni association’s board of directors.
Jim was an avid road cyclist. He was known for frequently riding 100 or more miles per week. His passion for cycling led Jim to devote his time, pro bono, as lead attorney for the Pumpkin Vine Nature Trail from the early 1990s to its completion. He negotiated the land acquisitions, and fought tremendous opposition in order to create the corridor now known as the Pumpkin Vine Nature Trail.
Jim is survived by his wife Patricia of 36 years, along with two sons, Andrew J. (Linda), and Spencer J. (fiancé, Sarah Holstine). Jim is also survived by his father, Richard W. Brotherson, of Notre Dame, and two sisters, Nancy B. Banks (John) and Susie M. Swartz (Marshall).

Jim was an outstanding husband, father, son, brother, friend, mentor and community leader.  We’ve lost him too soon.