James Robison Harper Jr., who died at his home April 5, 2023, lived the life of a modern southern gentleman and consummate host and storyteller.
James, known to most as Jim, explored many paths before he settled down on a bluff in Sans Souci at the intersection of Rock Creek and the Mobile Bay. At his Montrose home, Jim would spend his evenings with family and friends, toasting sunsets and telling stories of his travels and adventures as a real estate developer, television station owner and criminal defense attorney. He loved his trips to Scotland, Africa, Egypt, and Mexico, but he always wanted to return to waking up with a view of the Mobile Bay.
Born in Monroeville, AL on Dec. 27, 1949, he was the son of James Robison Harper Sr. and Alice Earle Floyd Harper.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Baylissa Myles Bridges Harper; daughters, Kaitlin Leigh Harper and Dr. Scarlett Anne Harper Anderson, her husband, Dr. Brian Anderson and their three children, Harper, Wyatt and Aya; daughters, Dr. Tara Griffin (Joe Hirmann), Ashley Griffin and her son, Knighte; brother, William Charles Harper, his wife, Judy and their daughter, Stephanie Rogers; and a sister.
While attending Monroe County High School, Jim played guitar and saxophone for the Seeds of Time rock band. He graduated from Birmingham-Southern College, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Jim started his career in banking and real estate development and later owned hospitality television stations in Orlando and New Orleans. In his 40s, Jim decided to become an attorney and graduated from Jones School of Law in Montgomery in 1996, the same year he started practicing.
For Jim’s clients, he was more than an attorney. He and his paralegal, Joy Sciortino, would hold their hands through the often long and daunting legal process. “Always a gentleman to the core,” Joy said. Over his law career, Jim earned the respect of judges and prosecutors through his courteous approach; a strategy so effective, some of his clients thought he had a magic wand.
“When you do something you love, you will never work another day in your life,” Jim would say as he developed a passion for practicing law and advocating for people’s second chances.
Jim always treated everyone like a friend.
Over the years, Jim’s house served as refuge for a number of cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, birds, hamsters and one evil duck.
In 2020, Jim was awarded Layperson of the Year by the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association for his pro bono work.
When Jim did go out at night, it was often in a limousine driven by one of many family friends. In recent years, Jim’s home has become a playground for his three grandkids.
Jim’s memory will live on through the shades of sunsets, bay breezes and the clink of toasting glasses.
Services for Jim will be held Saturday, April 15, at Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road in Daphne, at 2:30PM. Visitation before the service will be at 1:30PM.
Expressions of condolence for the family may be made at www.hughesfh.com. Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.