Cover photo for Brij Kumar Agarwal's Obituary
Brij Kumar Agarwal Profile Photo
1965 Brij 2023

Brij Kumar Agarwal

March 16, 1965 — December 29, 2023

Brij Kumar Agarwal, aged 58, of Madison, WI (formerly of Pittsburgh, PA and New Philadelphia, OH) died peacefully on December 29, 2023 after a battle with brain cancer.

Brij was born on March 16, 1965 in Pittsburgh, PA to Gopal Prasad and Sally Winter Agarwal. Brij spent his earliest years in Butler, PA with his parents and his older sister, Kamla. In the early 1960’s, the family sponsored Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, the originator of the Hare Krishna movement in the USA. The Swami stayed with them in Butler while he acclimated to life in America. The Swami played an important role in Brij’s toddler years as Brij teethed on the Swami’s sandals, and the Swami witnessed Brij’s first tentative, wobbly steps. In 1966, the small family moved to Dover, OH where Gopal worked as a metallurgical engineer at General Electric and Sally taught school. Over the next few years, two additional sisters, Indu and Maya, joined the family. In 1972, Gopal and Sally built a house in New Philadelphia, OH where they raised their four children.

From an early age, Brij demonstrated great curiosity about the world around him, with particular interest in the way things worked. He was always eager to tear things apart so he could figure out how they worked. Brij leveraged his knowledge and brilliant mind to create useful inventions to solve problems. He was a regular customer at Radio Shack, which supplied many of the parts for his projects. His Eagle Scout project (1985) was a gift to the First United Methodist Church in Dover, OH: the addition of felt liners to the pew bible racks, which quieted the distracting “thump” sound created by churchgoers replacing bibles in the racks. Brij graduated from New Philadelphia High School in 1983. He excelled in science and mathematics in school, and mechanical engineering was a logical choice for his Ohio State University bachelor’s degree (1987). After college, Brij spent a few years in Evansville, IN working for IBM Corporation as a Systems Engineer. 

In 1991, Brij enrolled in University of Cincinnati College of Law, where the study of law stretched his engineer’s mind from one that seeks a single correct answer, to an attorney’s mind which recognizes the possibility of many correct answers. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 1994, Brij spent a short time working at a product liability law firm in Washington, DC and at an intellectual property law firm in Canton, OH. He passed the bar in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. He met Kate Bryant during the late 1990s when he was living in New Philadelphia, and they married in 2000. In 1999, Brij began working as an Intellectual Property attorney at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. In 2004, he became an equity partner in the firm. His dear daughter, May, was born in 2005. Brij was a devoted father and loved his precious baby girl. Together, they enjoyed family vacations to Disney World, beaches around the world, and the Caribbean islands. 

Brij loved music of all types, including rock and roll, classical music, and musical theater. He attended concerts and performances regularly, including shows by Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffett. He loved to travel, and he especially relished the energy and excitement of a cruise ship, most recently cruising across the Atlantic in late 2022 and to the Caribbean in early 2023 with May. Over the years, he also joined family and friends on trips to Thailand, India, Switzerland, England, Australia, and France.

Brij enjoyed artwork, especially the Impressionists. He particularly loved the works of Monet and Chagall. He made a point of viewing as many Da Vincis as he could. His love of art took him to many museums and cathedrals in Europe and surrounding areas. He enjoyed guns for recreational shooting, not hunting. He enjoyed cars, cigars, reading books, fixing things, and like all good lawyers, talking.

Brij shared his kindness, bright smile, and sense of fun with those around him. At gatherings he was willing to join in any activity that was occurring, and he made sure that everyone was engaged in the action. He enjoyed spending time with friends chatting, telling hilarious jokes, cooking, and practicing his mixology skills. Party guests enjoyed his perfectly mixed cosmopolitans, margaritas, and mai tais. His extended family sought his expertise on their own home repair and improvement projects. His kindness included animals, and he had numerous pet dogs and cats over the years. His sisters remember Brij as a protective and encouraging brother with a delightful laugh. His faith drew him to his local church where he was an active member. 

In 2021, Brij was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme. He treated the disease aggressively but after 15 months, when the disease returned, he moved to Madison, WI to live with his sister, Kamla, and her family. His last days were filled with movies, music, puzzles, parks, companionship, and good food. Brij loved life and lived it fully, even at the end.

Brij is survived by daughter May Elizabeth of Pittsburgh, PA; his three sisters Kamla Mukherjee (Joy) of Madison, WI, Indu Agarwal MD of Solon, OH, and Maya Agarwal of Portland, OR; six nieces and nephews (Rohin, Neel, Bridget, Patrick, Fred, and India); his ex-wife Kate Bryant, and numerous relatives, close friends, and esteemed colleagues. Brij was preceded in death by his father, Gopal, in 2018 and his mother, Sally, in 2022. 

A memorial service will be held on January 20, 2024 at Dutilh Church in Cranberry Twp., PA. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation to brain cancer research at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (see details below). 

Brij, your star burned hot and bright and illuminated so many lives. Gone too soon, we miss you now and forever, and you will dwell in our hearts forever.

 

We welcome you to share your memories here on Brij's tribute wall.

 

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