Distinguished retired UT professor passes away at 83

Brianna Stone

UT alumnus and retired computer science professor James C. Browne died Friday, three days after his 83rd birthday. Browne died peacefully surrounded by family.

Browne was born on Jan. 16, 1935, and received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1956 from Hendrix College, a liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas. Browne graduated from UT in 1960 with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and went on to spend nearly six decades on the UT faculty.

In 1960, Browne joined the physics faculty at UT. From 1963 to 1967, Browne and his wife lived in Ireland to help Queens University set up its first computational center. When he returned to UT, he became a tenured professor in 1968. Browne was one of the first faculty members of the Department of Computer Science, which was founded in 1966, and also served as the department’s chairman for several years.

Browne was known for helping others and, through the James C. Browne Graduate Fellowship Fund in Computer Science at UT, gave tens of thousands of dollars to
graduate students. The family encourages others to donate to this fund. He received the honor of being a UT Professor Emeritus, a title that recognizes faculty members’ distinguished service to the University upon retirement. Browne also received the Regents Chair Emeritus in Computer Sciences #2.

Browne is survived by his wife Gayle, son Clayton Browne, son Duncan Browne and daughter Valerie Bradley. He loved spending time with his grandchildren and was his wife’s caregiver for the last three years of his life. He and Gayle married nearly 59 years ago, on July 11, 1959.

Browne’s life will be celebrated from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Westwood Country Club, 3808 West 35th Street, Austin, Texas. A wake will be held the following day at the Rathgeber/Browne river house in New Braunfels, one of Browne’s favorite places. The family invites others to join them at the celebration of his life and the wake, to remember Browne and share stories about him.