Gentleman@Home

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell

Posted on April 15, 2017

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell

Photo by Mary Beth Russell / epagaFOTO

This blog is but a lark. We try to be lighthearted and fun. For us, this serves as—and we hope that it provides—a pleasant distraction from the strains and tribulations of life. To that end, we rarely go personal and never post anything melancholy. But, on Saturday, April 8, 2017, we lost someone beloved. Only 34 years old, Brandon Russell was a phenomenal human who poured his soul into everything he did. We wrote these words to say at his memorial service, though different ones came out.

My name is Russell Shankland. Brandon was my friend. He was steadfast. He was effervescent. He was kind. He was suborn. He was funny. He was empathetic. He was curious. Brandon would insist that I mention his handsomeness. Brandon was a self-described, “very handsome man.”

When we lose people too young, we often look for lessons. We ask, “How could we have prevented this?” Like wearing a seatbelt or eating better or making good decisions. Of course, none of that applies here. Brandon was doing everything right. He was healthy. He was successful. He was happy—thanks to his fiance, he was the happiest he’s ever been.

Instead of searching for a remedial lesson, I hope we look towards an aspirational one. I hope that each of us selects a few of Brandon’s best qualities and adopts them in our lives. He had plenty from which to choose, and you’ll be hearing all about them today and tomorrow and well into the future.

Since Saturday, we’ve been telling lots of Brandon stories. Be warned; we’re starting to embellish. It’s verging on Bill Brasky territory. I heard yesterday that he was a talented musician. That’s not true. So, don’t believe if you hear that he was a CIA double agent or a tight-rope walker. But, he was great. Really great.

Despite his love of the Flash, Brandon wasn’t superhuman. He was made of the same bones and blood and flesh that we are. And, that means we have no excuse. If Brandon could always make time for people, and could maintain a positive spirit, and could encourage us, and inspire us, and believe in us and never speak ill of others, then we can too. And, we should really try. That’s how we can honor Brandon’s legacy.

When we decided to launch G@H, Brandon was our champion. He even wrote two articles. One article dealt with running shoes. Brandon passed away after finishing the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in Kansas City. His other article dealt with preserving memories. We will never forget Brandon.

In Brandon’s honor, his family and friends are establishing an annual 5K race and some other charitable activities. Please consider donating here. Thank you.

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell

In Memoriam: Brandon Lee Russell