The following is an edited yearly repost in honor of our friend:
Brian was our next door neighbor – but we shared more than a lawnmower line and love for OU. He was one of those shining stars that attracted friendship and mutual adoration. I’d occasionally cook for him and keep an eye out for him through my kitchen window. He would scoop up my kids and race his scooter/wheelchair across my bumpy yard threatening to spill them all. He never did!! He was the ONLY person I’ve ever known to get away with calling out “Hi Sexy Lexi”. As his health deteriorated, Lexi still visited. As his sight deteriorated and he slept a lot, he would recognize she was there. She would color pages for him and his mom Jan would put them by his pillow. Brian suffered from a brain tumor and it eventually took his life. He died on April 16 and his funeral was April 19, 2005.
Last year, we were in Oklahoma and visited Brian’s gravesite. The kids LOVE sitting in the grass that Jim (Brian’s dad) so carefully tends. It is an oasis in otherwise somber setting. Nicholas read the verse on the back of the headstone out loud. We left our “business card” on the little stone the kids put there years ago. In the car, Lexi listened to “I Can Only Imagine” and “You Lift Me Up” – songs sung at Brian’s funeral. She still calls those “Brian’s songs”
His memoriam reads: Jason White had a simple explanation for how Brian lived his life. “He fought for a long time. When people gave him weeks, he turned it into years.” Stewart, the self-proclaimed No. 1 fan of Oklahoma’s 2003 Heisman Trophy winner, died Saturday at his Tuttle home. He was 29. Stewart, who befriended White as a volunteer coach at Tuttle while White attended school there, was diagnosed at the age of 15 with a brain tumor. During White’s Heisman season, he spoke of how inspirational Stewart was to him. Stewart said the same about White. “He’s definitely left an impression on my life,” White said. “His attitude on life, you never knew anything was wrong. He turned everything negative into a positive.”
I remember one day seeing Jason’s car pull into Brian’s driveway for a regular visit. I was the typical “fan” and later asked Brian what they talked about all that time. He said “Nothing, we just watched TV”. He laughed at me for being starstruck – and later some of OU’s finest would honor Brian with a final trip to the Orange Bowl and at his funeral service.
The memories we carry of Brian’s generous spirit, his positive attitude and his thoughtfulness will last for years. He remains an inspiration to our family – and I’m sure to the kids in Tuttle whose lives he touched. We miss you buddy. I’m glad we get the chance – and pray that Heaven is everything you dreamed it would be. Jan and Jim – you are in our thoughts today too. Love you all.