Jay Ernest Brant
July 23, 1937 – June 25, 2020
Jay Ernest Brant July 23, 1937 – June 25, 2020
Jay E. Brant was born at home in New Freeport, Pennsylvania, to Ronald E. and Freda (Whipkey) Brant.
Jay attended Waynesburg (PA) High School in 1952, where he had to bike 16 miles home after baseball practice. He graduated from Penn Joint High School in Claridge, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1955, where his high school yearbook reports that he was an “asset to our baseball team.” As a teenager, he worked at a Howard Johnson restaurant near the New Stanton exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Jay once said that he nearly lost that job after fixing himself an extra large milkshake during a break. His love of ice cream, particularly chocolate, never abated.
Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, granted Jay a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1959. There, he and high school friend Jake Patla met Charlie Kwan and Herb Olds, and the four became not only fraternity brothers at Beta Theta Pi, but lifelong friends.
Jay served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers [79th Engineer Group (Construction)] from 1960 to 1962, having achieved the rank of First Lieutenant. He was stationed at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. After his discharge, his love of cars brought him to Detroit, where he worked as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company. While there, Jay enrolled at Wayne State University Law School, graduating in 1971. Jay began his law career as Special Counsel to the Detroit City Council. In 1977, he became Chief Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit. After leaving that position in 1981, Jay became an adjunct professor of law at Wayne State’s law school before moving to Miami, Florida, in 1982 to become the Executive Assistant to the United States Attorney.
Jay returned to Detroit in February 1984 and began a long career with Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn, where his principal practice areas were litigation, criminal law, products liability, and environmental law. Jay was a member of the State Bar of Michigan for 48 years.
Jay married Lynn Richardson in 2009. Together, they had four Airedale Terriers and facilitated the rescue of many others. They held season tickets to Michigan State University football games and women’s basketball games, and they often joined neighbors to cheer on the Spartan men’s basketball team from the comfort of a living room. Jay embraced life in East Lansing. He served on the City’s Housing Commission and frequently appeared before the East Lansing City Council on issues of concern to the City and, in particular, his neighborhood. Jay campaigned for school and library bond issues and the election of council members he believed would advance the best interest of the City.
In retirement, Jay enjoyed playing golf with friends and former colleagues. He had a lifelong love of baseball and was an avid fan of the Detroit Tigers. A hiker and climber, Jay loved being outdoors, though he once confessed to taking a pile of unread newspapers and New Yorker magazines on early camping trips with his family. More recently, he enjoyed the birds and wildlife that visited the backyard. Jay and Lynn also made many trips to New York City, where they enjoyed theater, museums, fine dining, and most importantly, visiting his daughter Kathleen and son-in-law Jeff. Many visits to Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake were made to enjoy theater and, along the way, Jay and Lynn made many friends.
Jay is survived by his wife Lynn Karen Richardson, his daughter Kathleen Brant Jones (Jeffrey), sister JoLane Cecconi (Peter), and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. While he never lost his love for the southwest corner of Pennsylvania where he was raised, Jay was a tireless advocate for the City of Detroit. Those who wish to honor him are asked to consider a donation to either the East Lansing Public Library (950 Abbot Road, East Lansing, Michigan 48823) or the Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202).
No services will be held.
Jay Ernest Brant
July 8, 2020
Lynn,Kathy,Jeff and JoLane, So many memories of you being at family get togethers. Wanting to be there. Jay and Lynn, you came to our daughter's wedding in Virginia Beach! So special. And as a 10 year old kid who could be bored at times, you played board games with me. But, with retirement, we got to see each other in Florida. Sharing time together on the golf course with Tom and having meals together prepared by Nancy or Shari.
That time was often like a mini family reunion. Had dinner at Connor's with Lynn,and Kathy too,on one of her visits. Such happy memories. May they comfort us. God Bless you Jay and all your family and friends.
July 6, 2020
Lynn, Kathy and Jeff,
You were truly a very special man, Jay. Always so humble and kind. Our Dad, Bill Jones, loved you and the time you were able to spend together talking, playing golf and reminiscing. Tom and I so enjoyed having you visit us in Florida. We couldn't be happier with the time we were able to spend together. Tom and Monty will always remember the eagle you got on Heron #7 and the joy it brought you. You were so excited and had the biggest smile on your face the entire evening. RIP Jay. You will be missed.
Love, Tom and Nancy Bruscino, cousins
July 6, 2020
To Lynn, Kathy Sue, and JoLane,
Our family has truly lost its hero. Jay was definitely one of the good guys. It certainly is shown in the tributes listed here. We love you, Jay, and we thank you for always being there whenever we needed your shoulder or a comforting word.
Rest in peace dear cousin..you are loved and missed.
Scott and Mary Mills
July 5, 2020
I had the privilege of working with Jay Brant from 1978-1981 at the United States Attorney's Office in Detroit (Eastern District of Michigan). Jay was Chief of the Appellate Division and I was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in his division. I was a fairly new lawyer and Jay took me "under his wing" and "taught me the ropes". He was extremely kind to me. I was impressed with Jay's legal judgment, his writing ability, and his total lack of ego. I learned a great deal from Jay and am forever grateful for having the opportunity to work with him. My condolences to Lynn, Kathleen and the extended Brant Family. We have lost a great gentleman. David Maurer, Cleveland, Ohio
July 5, 2020
Jay was my first boss in a legal capacity, while he was working for the Detroit City Council. I remember him as a quietly confident professional even when dealing with controversial or emotion issues. I tried to emulate him throughout my professional career.
July 2, 2020
Jay and Lynne were always walking their wonderful Airedale’s around the subdivision. He was always pleasant and truly loved the dogs and Lynne. Will miss his smile.
July 2, 2020
Dear Lynn, Kathy, JoLane
Ron and I both are very saddened by Jay’s passing. My heart is truly broken. As my cousin I always said he was the quiet Giant!! He never ever bragged about himself . That was left to ALL of us!!! He worked hard and really left his mark! My DAD thought the world of him!!! I am very PROUD to say Jay Ernest Brant was my cousin and may I add.... He and JoLane were my first playmates!!! Rest In Peace my DEAR COUSIN and know I Loved you VERY much!
Judy and Ron
July 2, 2020
I got to know Jay in 1980 when he was the Chief Assistant to Jim Robinson (who later became my husband) in the U.S. Attorney's office in Detroit. Those were such magical days of a group of young, vibrant, brilliant, ethical, enthusiastic lawyers trying to make the U.S. Attorney's office the absolute best it could be in every way. Every person I came to know in those days remains a friend.
I have many wonderful memories of Jay over the years, but one is particularly poignant and tells everything about what an amazing person he was.
On August 5, 2010, my Jim was dying of cancer in our house in Park City, Utah. I sent an email out to a few of our closest friends, including Jay, to say that Jim would not last long. Jim died early in the afternoon of August 6. That night, it was just our two kids, Steve and Renee, and I in the house. We had a fitful night and got up early the next morning to start writing the obituary and planning the memorial service.
Then I looked at my email and saw that Jay had flown to Park City the previous day, but had not wanted to intrude on our privacy. I called immediately and we all met for breakfast.
Jay came back to the house and was this quiet presence as we planned the service that would be held at Wayne State University. He just listened as we wrestled over things like what auditorium to use since so many who would otherwise attend would be on vacation and where summer construction was taking place. Then he flew ahead of us to Detroit.
By the time we arrived the next day, Jay had taken care of everything. He had listened closely, knew what we wanted, gone to the university and found the auditorium and made arrangements for holding the service there along with so many other details.
I always knew Jay was a kind man, but that act in the midst of our desperation is one that has stayed with the Robinson family as an example of just how amazing this man was.
Jay, you are missed already. Your life made the world a better place.
June 29, 2020
My heartfelt sympathy to Lynn & kathy for their loss. Jay was one of my favorite cousin's. He was kind, & soft spoken. My Dad Bill Jones
thought the world of him. He golfed w/him in FL & watched many Steelers games w/him. He will be missed. We love you Jay
Debbie & Jon Smith
June 28, 2020
Lynn, we are very sorry to hear of Jay’s passing. I enjoyed sharing PIttsburgh memories with him whenever we met up at the Powers. Eliot and I are sending our sympathy to you at this very sad time.