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James "J. D." Sartwelle Jr. '63 November 15, 2021 11:08 AM updated: November 15, 2021 11:23 AM

James Dinsmore Sartwelle, Jr.
September 28, 1940 – November 6, 2021

James Dinsmore Sartwelle, Jr. of Sealy, Texas, noted cattleman and livestock market operator, passed to the sheltering arms of his Lord on November 6, 2021. Bubba, as he was known to many, was one of five children born to James Dinsmore and Mary Parker Belk Sartwelle. He was born September 28, 1940 in Houston, Texas. He was a proud 1959 graduate of Lamar High School. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in 1963, where he was in Company D-1 of the Corps of Cadets. He remained a proud Spider to his last day.

Following graduation from A&M, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. His Army service culminated in a civil affairs posting to the Panamanian Agricultural Ministry. Completing his active-duty military obligation in 1966, he embarked on a career with two family-managed agribusinesses: Port City Stockyards Company and Sartwelle Brahman Ranch. J.D. followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, J.W. Sartwelle, pioneer Brahman breeder and livestock marketer. He served as president of Port City Stockyards in Sealy and Brenham from 1979 until the dissolution of the company in 2015.

The improvement and management of his family’s foundation herd of Brahman cattle was his true life-long passion. From 1972 to his death, he was General Partner of Sartwelle Brahman Ranch, making significant contributions to the breed’s associations and preserving the Imperator line of Brahmans that date to the 1920s. Once when asked how he would like to be remembered, he replied, “Bubba Sartwelle loved a Brahman cow.”

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, founded by his grandfather in 1932, benefited from his leadership and considerable efforts. He chaired the Range Bull and Commercial Heifer Committee twice and was later elected a Vice President of the Livestock Show. To his last week of life, he was present in support of Show activities, a legacy of love that he passed along to the next two generations of his family.

He was a born leader, serving as president of the Texas Brahman Association, American Brahman Breeders Association, and the Texas Livestock Markets Association. He served on the board of directors of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association for more than 25 years. He did not just occupy space on boards—he provided active leadership and worked hard to solve problems and make things better for the groups’ memberships. Well beyond an age when many of his peers enjoyed a well-deserved retirement, he was still right there in the trenches working.

J.D. loved his Lord and the Episcopal Church. Born into Trinity Church in Houston, he was a 53-year member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sealy, serving as a lay reader and eucharistic minister until the Sunday prior to his death.

J.D. is predeceased by his parents and a sister, Mary Judith “Sophie” Kracke. He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years Sugie Gayle Sartwelle, his son Jim Sartwelle, III '92, and wife Beth of Campbellton, his daughter Lavinia Sartwelle Owen and husband Brian of Sealy, and grandchildren Caroline Owen of Sealy, John Sartwelle Owen of Lubbock, J.D. Sartwelle, IV, of Campbellton, Ansley Elizabeth Owen of Sealy, and Brock Sartwelle of Campbellton. He is survived by his brother W.C. “Bill” Sartwelle and wife Mary Jane of Brenham, brother Thomas P. Sartwelle of Houston, sister Susie Zapalac and husband Leroy of Sealy, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Coleman and Regina Locke of Wharton.

The family will receive visitors at the Sealy Knights of Columbus Hall on Monday, November 8, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., guests are invited to share their remembrances of this fine and gentle man. He will be buried from his beloved St. John’s Episcopal Church at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to be made to the Memorial Fund of St. John’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1477, Sealy, TX 77474 or to the J.D. Sartwelle, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Texas Junior Brahman Association, P.O. Box 26, Campbellton, TX 78008.


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