James Lewis Brandt

September 20, 1926February 6, 2012

James Lewis Brandt September 20, 1926 - February 6, 2012 Raleigh Retired architect James Lewis Brandt, 85, died peacefully on February 6th, 2012 at his home in Raleigh. He successfully battled Lymphoma for 10 years, until finally succumbing to Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. A celebration of his life will be held at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh on Saturday, February 18th at 11am. He leaves his wife of 39 years, Marilyn Morrissette Brandt; son James Bartie (Bucky) Brandt of Raleigh, son Robert Kelly Brandt and his wife, Lacey Pfaff Brandt of Wellesley, MA; stepson Edward Newton Upchurch and his wife, Elizabeth Kelly Upchurch of Raleigh; grandchildren Margot Kelly Brandt and Beau Lawrence Brandt of Wellesley MA; and Meredith Forest Upchurch, Kathryn Walker Upchurch and Caroline Kelly Upchurch of Raleigh. Brandt was born September 20, 1926, in Brooksville, MS to Bartholomew Brandner Brandt and Lucile Peterson Brandt. He was named for his uncle, "J.L.," James Lewis Peterson, an army reserve pilot who was killed in an automobile accident just weeks before Brandt was born. He grew up in Washington (NC), Durham, and Greenville, as the family moved with his father's academic career. But most of his summers were spent in Brooksville where his grandfather owned a general store, a house and farm. Brandt enlisted in the Navy in 1944 serving as an Electronics Technician's Mate. At the end of the war, he was assigned to San Francisco where he outfitted the USS Avery Island, and the USS Wharton with electronics in support of the post-war atomic bomb tests. He turned down an opportunity to conduct the testing at Bikini Atoll, and, instead, moth-balled an aircraft carrier escort, the USS Nassau, in Bremerton, WA. "J.L." came home from the Navy calling himself "Jim," and first obtained work in October, 1946, at a radio station in Greenville, WGTC, as a broadcast engineer. One of his on-air duties was to produce the coverage of local minor league baseball games. They didn't have the budget to broadcast from the park, so an announcer would read a teletype transmission of the play-by-play and describe it as if he were at the game. Brandt's job was to provide realistic sound effects, like crowd noises, by playing sound bites from a record at the appropriate time. Brandt's father, Dr. B. B. Brandt, was appointed to the zoology faculty at North Carolina State University in January, 1947, and so the young man moved with his parents to Raleigh. He chose to study Architecture at the new NCSU School of Design because, he said, "I like to see things get built." In 1951 he became the first editor of the "Student Publications of the School of Design." It continued to be published regularly for at least 27 years. Brandt graduated in 1951 with honors having earned a B. A. in Architecture. That summer he married Mary Louise Kelly, a St. Mary's College English teacher. They were divorced in 1971. In November 1951 he was hired by Greensboro architect Edward Lowenstein. Brandt was the most proud of the A. M. and Ruth Fleishman Residence in Fayetteville for which he did the drawings and detail design. It featured a double cantilevered roof which Brandt described as "a flying roof." In late November, 1952, Brandt joined G. Milton Small in Raleigh and became his associate architect. They shared an excitement for Modernist architecture, and they collaborated on many notable buildings in the Triangle area and beyond. These include the 1954 Gregory Poole showroom and offices on Hillsborough Street (with George Matsumoto), the 1957 Home Security Life Building in Durham, the 1962 Northwestern Insurance Building, now occupied by the Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic at 3515 Glenwood Avenue, the 1963 BB&T Bank Building at 119-191 Hay Street in Fayetteville, and the 1971 North Carolina Medical Society Building at 222 North Person Street, Raleigh. At NCSU, buildings they designed include the 1959 Talley Student Center, which includes his work on Stewart Theater, Price Music Center, and the 1960 University Bookstore (now demolished). Also with Milton Small, Brandt laid out the Raleigh subdivisions of Drewry Hills and Oak Park. In addition, he designed several of the first houses in Drewry Hills. But, his masterpiece, perhaps, is his own 1955 house, since sold, at 122 E. Drewry Lane in Raleigh ( The Mies van der Rohe inspired design includes a plate glass back wall overlooking Crabtree Creek. The flat roof was originally covered with custom made arches (since renovated) which provided shade and gave the house a futuristic look. The building is suspended on a series of columns, and the cantilevers on the sides and back make the house appear to hover above the steep, wooded lot. After his professional retirement in 1991, Brandt devoted his time to genealogical research. He published his work in two bound volumes which were distributed to libraries and family members. He researched "One Peterson Family" for 5 years, and "One Brandt Family" for 9 years. A dream of his was fulfilled when he and his wife Marilyn bought a residence at the beach and they enjoyed many happy hours sailing on Bogue Sound. He passed on to his children and step-children his interests in music, art, photography, sailing, electronics, and woodworking. Brandt was an active member of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church for about 50 years. He served on the building and grounds committee when the church renovated its 3rd floor into classrooms. He had a special interest in Pullen's Hope Center and its demonstrated ability to help people reshape their lives. Those wishing to make a gift in his honor may send that gift to: The Hope Center, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27605.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, February 18, 2012

James Lewis Brandt

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February 25, 2012

To family of James I am so sorry for your lost. Let me share a comforting bscripture with you from James 4: were it says Draw close to god an he will draw close to you. I hope that you can fine comfort in this and know that one day you will have the hope of seeing your dead loved one agian.

Pat Scott

February 18, 2012

Mrs. Brandt & Family, My prayers are with your family. I will miss seeing Mr. Brandt's smile.


February 17, 2012

The death of a love one is very difficult.My deepest condolences are extended to you and your family during this difficult time. Therefore, I'd like to share scripture that may help, Please, read John 6:40, 44 and Ps. 36:9.

Fran Sherrill Bolick

February 16, 2012

my dad, James Nelson Sherrill, AIA, Hickory NC, grad. in 1951 from State COLLEGE school of Design. I just asked him if he remembered your dad. He said he did. Dad sends his condolences to the family of James Brandt.

February 11, 2012

"May you find comfort and peace in God's word and in the memories of James." JH(Atlanta, Georgia)

Betty Garriss Adams

February 10, 2012

Though you grow up and move away, two things I always remembered about JL growing up were his infectious smile and laugh. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.

February 10, 2012

David and I were so sorry to read of your loss. We are so glad the family decided to include such an interesting and extensive account of his life and contributions in the notice of his passing. A talented, yet humble man, Jim was always so personable, and we are especially glad that he and Marilyn had so many happy years together. Sincere condolence to the entire family.
Jeanne and David Smoot

February 10, 2012

So sorry to hear of JL's passing, as we knew him growing up next door. He and his family hold special memories in out hearts. My thoughts are with all the family, as we mourn his loss with you. Mary Garris Friend

Howard Garriss

February 10, 2012

Jim was a wonderful friend, next-door neighbor, and architectural colleague. I am sad to lose him, and my thoughts are with Marilyn.

Georgia Gullie

February 10, 2012

I express my condolences to the family of James L. Brandt. He was a very special person and architect. I know he will be missed by all of his loved ones. Georgia Gullie (Raleigh, NC )