Brian Ross Iwema died on Thursday, June 8th, 2023, from extreme complications due to a very recent diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, less than one month before his 50th birthday on July 6th. It was absolutely unexpected, and his family and friends are reeling from the loss. His passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of all who knew him.
Brian was a big man–6’9’’ tall, over 300 lbs., but with a very youthful face. He loved animals and children, but his large size made him seem imposing (as did some of the faces he pulled–he could look scary when he wanted to!). However, he was a gentle giant, known as “Big B” to his friends. He enjoyed spending time with them at local taverns like the Serbian National Home, the American Legion, the Boathouse Grill, Spyke’s, and the Raceway Pub, among others. He was quiet, but fiercely loyal to his friends and family. He brought happiness to everyone, and his mere presence would provide comfort.
Brian was a complicated man who experienced a lot of struggles throughout his too short life. He liked to consider himself a “master manipulator” who could get people to do what he wanted, perhaps not understanding that we could all see through that facade and genuinely wanted to help him out. Once he decided he wanted to do something, he had a very strong work ethic, particularly at his job of over 20-years with FedEx. He was also surprisingly lucky, repeatedly winning on scratch off and pull-tab tickets as well as raffles and would typically generously share his good fortune with others.
Brian was a collector of fancy but not-too-expensive watches, and he had two huge cases filled with shot glasses he amassed that friends and family would also bring to him from places local and afar. He was good with his hands–he loved building with Lego throughout his life, especially cars and global landmarks. In his youth he even took apart and rebuilt his camaro! And speaking of cars, he enjoyed driving his mini cooper because he found the contrast between its small size and his large size to be funny.
Brian was known as “Bribo” to his family. He is survived by his mother Barbara K (Bruder) Iwema, his father Ronald A Iwema, his sister Carrie L Iwema (and her husband Rob J Knapp), and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, many of whom considered him to be their favorite cousin. He was predeceased by his Dutch heritage grandparents Ernest and Ida Iwema and his Serbian/Croatian/Slovenian heritage grandparents Hank and Milka Bruder.
We Love You Bribo.
Thursday, January 1, 1970
Washington Park North Cemetery
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
11:00am - 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
2:00 - 2:00pm (Eastern time)