September 13, 1927 - August 28, 2017
In 1927 while America was busy celebrating the epic flight from New York to Paris by the spirit of St. Louis, Jess Briley was born in some invisible town in west Texas, the youngest in a family of four children whose parents scratched out a living building roads with mule drawn equipment, human muscle and sheer perseverance.
Jess's early history included experience working in a cabinet shop as a teenager. During his early adulthood he worked as a rough neck in west Texas as well as off shore. Later, he finally settled down in Houston where he worked for multiple manufacturing companies, never seeming to stay too long in one particular place as opportunities for a person with his skill set were plentiful. He loved his work but often was frustrated as his bosses rarely appreciated his imagination on how to do things.
People with great imaginations frequently have an unrealistic perception of reality and are simply not afraid to fail. Some of them go for it, some fail, some succeed. Some start businesses, some become great authors and others create significant art. For Jess Briley his moment came when he discovered clay target shooting, more specifically speaking "Skeet" in the mid 1970's. Unable to afford all the equipment he needed, he built his own 28 gauge barrel for his Winchester 101 out of water pipe and scrap iron. That led to the development of the company known as Briley Manufacturing which celebrated its 46th anniversary this year.
In the end, he exited during the greatest flood in American history when he died suddenly of natural causes, avoiding the terror of disease that can devastate a family. Perhaps, Jess is the luckiest man who ever existed. He lived the dream with all its ups and downs. He particularly loved spending time with a couple of his grandkids that joined our company. He enjoyed a great relationship with his friends and caregivers. He left nehind two daughters, employees, and a lilfelong partner who will miss his 1927 spirit, his fearlessness and his eternal sense of optimism. So long Jess...