My name is Takumi Kagawa. I did not grow up with Brion. My wife, Mirei, is Brion’s cousin and I met him at their annual family Christmas Parties. We often went to Brion’s Mom’s house to visit, since he had a finite time in Los Angeles. It’s a long way from his home in Connecticut.
So, I was an “outsider” getting to know all of Mirei’s family members. One of them was Mirei’s cousin, Brion. As it turns out, I found out that I’m a year younger than Brion, so I could relate to all of his activities. I thought, hmm, how would I engage him, other than the polite “Hi, how are you?”. Brion was quiet and selected his words carefully. I was beginning to think, he may be a person of considerable interest. Behind his outward appearance, he gave some “cool” and animated stories. You could tell as his decible level went up and down, scattered with chuckles. As an example, after graduating from UCLA, he spoke of getting a technical job at an important and secret Australian Air Force Base. I sensed a bit of mischievousness in him, with a more animated voice and moments of chuckles and happiness. I have to interject, that we all went to college in the 60’s with tie dyed shirts, long hair, hippies, and a rebellious nature. It plays into his story. Many young, bright, “brainiacs”, like Brion, were hired to do technical work. Brion noted how hard everyone worked, sometimes through the night, and getting some sleep on their desks. As you can imagine, seeing long haired, smart, young men in civilian clothes, not having a “military” attitude, was not the norm. Brion had a smile on his face as he described a one star general walking in one morning. All the military personal jumped up into attention and saluted. Brion and colleagues were the exception. When they saw the general, they greeted him with friendly “Hi, how’s it going”, “how are you”, and other normal salutations, much to the chagrin of the general. The general was unprepared for this nonmilitary greeting! I think Brion relished that moment. Luckily, there were no repercussions from the general.
Later, in a civilian job, it could have be something like AT&T, Brion was part of their “think tank”. An employee approached him and admonished him because he often saw Brion with his feet on his desk and hands clasped behind his head, and thought Brion was wasting time and wondered what he did. Brions answer was simple, “That’s what I’m paid to do”. Touche’!!!
Brion loved sharing stories of his passions, bringing out photos of his restored sports car, his sailing exploits, and bike making endeavors. Oh My Gosh, such attention to detail. I think he relished every small detail to finish his products, no cheating. And of course, his black leather jacket with its car logo on it. He made a point to see his friends for their regular scheduled breakfast and their very cool restored cars. I know he loved sharing his passions with all of us.
Brion had a wonder life, filled with loving friends and family.