After growing up in Jasper, Judge Brotherton graduated from Birmingham Southern College and served in the Peace Corps, Colombia, South America, from 1964-1966 where he coached the Colombian National Swim Team. While teaching at Walker Junior College, he graduated from Cumberland School of Law in 1970, after which he served as law clerk in Madison County, Alabama. In 1971, he was appointed Intermediate Court Judge for Walker, County and was appointed Circuit Court Judge for the 14th Judicial Circuit, Walker County in 1975. In 1976, he was elected to that position and served as Circuit Court Judge until January 2007. During his tenure, Judge Brotherton held the position of Presiding Circuit Court Judge for a total of more than 25 years and was the second-longest sitting judge in the state’s history.
During Brotherton’s time on the bench, he served as chairman of the Judges’ Advisory Board to the State Department of Youth Services, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Northwest Alabama Mental Health, Chairman of the Jasper Park and Recreation Board for ten years, and in 1975, The Honorable Howell Heflin, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, asked Judge Brotherton to co-author the Juvenile Code for the State of Alabama.
He was founder and board member of Concerned Citizens For Our Youth Inc; Beacon House, a children’s group home; the Murphy Shelter, a temporary shelter for abused children; the J. George Mitnick Boot Camp; and Project People Walker County Inc., a non-profit program designed to help the citizens of Walker County who are in need and do not qualify for other federal- or state-funded programs.
He also established the first short-term juvenile detention center in the State of Alabama, the Antabuse Program, a successful alcohol treatment program; and the Alternative to Prison Program, a highly successful drug treatment approach.
On behalf of the elderly and disabled citizens of Walker County he received the Purple Ribbon Leadership Award for outstanding leadership and service.
Brotherton is survived by one sister, Sally Brotherton Ashurst and her husband, Robert; two nephews, Robert Fleetwood Ashurst and his wife, Kenan, and James Brotherton Ashurst and his wife, Harrison; and one niece, Catherine Ashurst Young and her husband, Blake.
He is also survived by three great-nephews and two great-nieces.
Funeral services will be held at First United Methodist Church, Jasper, on Monday, June 16, 2014, at 2 p.m. The Rev. Alan Beasley will officiate, with interment following at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Pallbearers are Robert F. Ashurst, James B. Ashurst, J. Blake Young III, Gerson May, John K. Taggart II, Albert H. Simmons, Jerry P. Guthrie and Jonah A. Alexander.
Visitation will precede the service at the church from 12:30 until 2 p.m.
The family requests that memorials be made to any of the programs listed above.
Collins-Burke Funeral Home, Jasper; 205-384-5571