James B. Kershaw, Director
District 3: Bastrop County

Member of the Board’s Audit & Finance and Technology committees. 

James Kershaw, an attorney from Bastrop, joined the board of directors in 1982 and served as secretary/treasurer from 1987 to 2012.

James remembers when electricity first came to the rural parts of Central Texas to help folks in the country enjoy some of the comforts of the city. Growing up in Brenham, Kershaw had many friends and relatives without electricity.

"Electricity was a great boon back then, and I'm amazed by all the changes that have taken place in the world," James says. "I also wonder what will happen for people in the future. We have so many more ‘necessities' now. But Bluebonnet continues to help meet people's needs for their fully equipped homes and businesses that require electricity."

James began his education at Alamo School in Brenham and Stephen F. Austin High School in Bryan, during which time he began to realize how much access to the "better basics of life" can boost an overall level of intelligence.

"When you have things like electricity and water, and increase the quality of life, it raises people's intellectual curiosity," James said. "I always knew I wanted to attend Texas A&M University, and Bryan and Brenham gave me the educational background to make that goal a reality, so right after high school I enrolled at A&M."

He managed two semesters at A&M before being drafted during WWII and was stationed on a Navy ship in the Pacific Ocean. James fulfilled his commitments with the Navy in July 1946, and though he claimed to be an average student, he completed his pre-law courses at Texas A&M University in 1948 by taking up to 18 to 21 hours a semester. He then attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he graduated in May 1951.

After a three-month sojourn working for an uncle in Houston, James landed a job at a law firm in Bastrop. Soon thereafter, he ran for and won the position of county attorney. Four years later, he ran for district attorney, serving Bastrop, Burleson, Lee and Washington counties. He would serve as district attorney from 1956-1972 before opening his own practice.

"When I was running for office, I would remind people my name was not pronounced like ‘cushaw' the vegetable — the winter squash with the big, crooked neck," James said. "They could tell the difference because my neck was nice and straight."

He now maintains a law office where he continues to see clients regarding civil matters, estate planning, real estate law, banking and utilities.

A true gentleman, James has made a habit of helping others. He was chairman of the Salvation Army Unit as a bell ringer for 25 years. He was also the first lawyer for, and helped organize, the Aqua Water Supply Corporation, was a board member of Bastrop County FEMA, is the chairman of the board for the First National Bank of Bastrop and serves as a member of the Hunters Crossing Local Government Cooperation in Bastrop.

As a Bluebonnet board member, James appreciates the aptitude and tenacity of the co-op's employees. He knows Bluebonnet's management took time and careful planning to develop the co-op's infrastructure and improve operations. He admires the linemen, who work long hours and in all kinds of weather, and believes in the member service representatives, who really go out of their way to assist members. Above all, James likes how Bluebonnet focuses on helping people.

"While serving as district attorney, I had a lot of contact with the Bluebonnet members in the four counties that were in my district, and I guess that was one of the reasons why I was invited to become a director in order that I could serve them and all of the other Bluebonnet members. I've always liked listening to people. When I hear about their troubles, I may not be able to solve them, but I'm tolerant and try to at least understand."

His first wife and two sons are deceased. He is now married to the former Doris Lee. They have three children and three grandchildren. The couple belongs to the Calvary Episcopal Church, where James is a chalice bearer and his wife is altar guild director. His greatest hobby is yard work, though he says his mother had to force him to mow the yard as a kid.

View all directors