Obituary: Brian Garvin Williams - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Obituary: Brian Garvin Williams

Brian Garvin Williams

CASPER, Wyo. –

Brian Garvin Williams: 1983 – 2021

Brian Garvin Williams quietly and loudly, through his triumphs and failures, built a legacy that will forever roar in the hearts, minds, and actions of every person that ever knew him. His greatest strength was his sincere, unwavering love for the people he knew that he distilled into moments, big and small, that struck your heart and left you a better person for it. His legacy is best reflected in the stories of those who shared those moments and the Williams family would like to share those that best exemplified the man that Brian was.

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Brian’s strengths were innate and he shared them early in his life:

What did Beebs mean to me?

Beebs was the closest friend I’ve *ever* had. As the new kid in school, I was so incredibly lucky to have found Beebs’ kindness. He made me feel included and welcome, and lucky for me, we eventually became inseparable.

I looked up to him in a lot of ways. Despite our shared love of Beavis and Butthead, I admired his intelligence and maturity. He had this snarky charisma and a sense of dry poetic humor and wit that felt beyond his years. This made for a ton of hilarious inside jokes, genuine laughs, and warm memories I’ll cherish always.

I’m a better person because of him. Beebs significantly influenced and shaped who I am today and will forever be imprinted onto so many facets of my adult life. The world is a better, kinder, brighter place for him having been in it and I’m eternally grateful and thankful he’ll always be a part of my story. He IS loved.

-Ethan “Hafer” Hobart

His friendships and his example persisted and through the ebbs and flows of life, but he was always there to recognize and celebrate the joy:
Brian was an aspirational figure to me from the moment we connected. He made me want to be smarter, kinder, and more passionate about the things I loved. We lived through our first tastes of independence and freedom together, and the subsequent reckless living that comes with being teenagers. And we kept our connection long into becoming grownups. He was there practically beating down the door at the hospital to meet Sylvia the day she was born. Brian was as real as they come- the love in his heart that he spread so freely, the brightness of his mind that he never stopped sharpening, and his desire to see justice in the world that he never gave up on. To say that my life was better because he was in it is an understatement. My whole destiny here changed because of our friendship. I will love him forever, and will be eternally thankful for the time we had together. I miss my best friend. So much.

-Brandon Schulte

Every room & every life Brian walked into was made better by him. He had a kind and loving soul that beamed through his bright eyes & poured into everything he said and did. He was brilliant, snarky, perceptive & compassionate. He was a rare & true soul who would sit with you in your pain, hold space for your joy & make you laugh until you couldn’t breathe by simply stating the obvious. In his own words, “I’m always rooting for you Chayla. No matter what, I’m always rooting for you.”

-Sheila Amir

Brian’s intellect and dedication to learning out shown any comparison. The source of this strength came from the experiences he voraciously sought and the people who were there to offer the formative experiences and relationships in his life:

I lost a good friend this week. Brian Williams.

Memory works in mysterious ways, but mine keeps coming back to this goofy one.

On one my last trips to New York City to present at the annual conference of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, I was granted funding to take students along. Brian was one of them. Since airfare was so high, it was actually cheaper to travel a few days early before the conference started, even with extra lodging and food expenses. Especially New York City lodging and food expenses. The first $8 cup of coffee was a shock. So we had plenty of free time to knock around NYC.

For kids from Casper, Wyoming, the Big Apple was…well, BIG. And BRIGHT. Standing in Time Square that first night, Brian said he felt like he was on the psychedelic highway. I said that should be a song. Every day I presented Brian with a new verse or two. Whenever we exchanged birthday tidings in subsequent years, that joke was a constant reference; stuff like “you can’t overlook the lack, Jack, of any other highway to ride…” or “the long and winding road eventually unwinds” or “you have to walk a crooked road to see the straight and narrow.” The essential message was always more or less the same: greetings from somewhere down the psychedelic highway.

NYC was also a little scary; the kids didn’t want to walk. So for a couple of days we took cabs and rode the subway. One of my favorite portraits of Brian is a grab shot in the subway. A black and white image, I printed his copy in a monochrome blue. Late one afternoon we got caught on the subway during rush hour. We walked the next day.

Suddenly Brian froze. And pointed. It was Mecca. It was the Holy Grail. It was CBGB’s, the undisputed birthplace of punk. (Ok, we can dispute that.) It was Brian’s peak experience from that trip.

Maybe that exact moment triggered this memory. The punks came across as being tough: in their violent swagger and snarl, in their angry words and frenzied music, in their fashion and style. But really, they were just vulnerable like the rest of us. Maybe more so. And maybe all of that appealed to Brian. We talked music. Often. We didn’t share the same tastes; although I allowed how I liked some Clash and Joe Strummer. I’m pretty sure he was the first to play me the Mike Ness/Social Distortion burning version of “Ring of Fire.” Brian reckoned a little Dylan was OK.

And so, somehow this very crooked memory leads me straight to this: Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”, a song about feeling trapped/imprisoned, but also a song about hope.

I always hoped that one day Brian would say to me, “I’m Fine. Solid. Healed. Whole. Happy.” We never had that conversation. I still hope. Relief. Release. But I know for sure, that for all us who knew and loved Brian, every day his light comes shining.

-Rodney Mahaffey

The cost of the experiences that Brian was destined to pursue included having to say goodbye, if only for a while. The parting, then and now, is typified by what he shared with all of us:

I will miss
Sitting in church
And with one whiff of the air
Without looking around
Just knowing you were there
(You had a very distinct cologne)

I will miss
Going to a movie
And hoping you’re at work
I will miss
Your making fun of me
And my calling you a jerk

I will miss
My near car accidents
Whenever you’re in the car
I will miss
Your crouching to dance with me
But I’ll always have my star

I will miss
Being around you
And our time spent at the fair
I will miss
Our walks and conversations
And your “don’t touch my hair!”

I will miss
All your “short” jokes
And I’ll miss your smile
I will miss
Your little laugh
That made everything worth while
-Rosanne Maxwell

If you knew Brian, you knew that even above learning, music was his passion and touchstone. He gave so much of this love that rippled through the lives he shared it with, as well as every single person in Casper:

The winter of 1996/1997 was cold, very cold. Sonic Rainbow, a new downtown music store, had been open for less than 2 years. On one very cold Saturday morning the building heating system stopped working and the store was in danger of closing until heat could be restored. Within 3 hours something very very special happened. A 13 year old young man who had been in the store earlier in the day came back with a smile on his face and a BIG space heater in his hands!!!!! He went home, asked his parents if the store could borrow one so it could stay open and he came back to save Sonic Rainbow. That young man was Brian Williams. The heater stayed at the store until a heating system was installed and the store was able to stay open during that winter.

Sonic Rainbow in 1996 was still a very new business and Brian’s act of kindness, compassion and humility came to symbolize the music community of Casper!! Brian’s actions became the foundation of a new music scene developing at that time. He will always have a very special place in our hearts and in our community—Brian: we SALUTE YOU!!!!!

-Jude Carino

But above all else, Brian unconditionally loved his family, including the members who were added throughout his life:
I don’t know if I have a specific memory that can sum up Brian. He was the big brother I never had. The two experiences that made me really feel like he was my brother were first he always stuck up for me when the Williams men would make fun of me early in my relationship with Sam. The brothers would start teasing and Brian would not put up with it for a second. The second experience came later in a time in my life that I believed no one truly cared about me. He was the one that reached out when I needed it most. Nothing else mattered, I was family to him.

-Jess Williams

The brothers and sisters he left behind cannot bring every moment, every feeling, and every benefit that Brian gave them to bear. The little moments of concentrated sincerity that each experienced when he would remind us how deeply he loved us are the cleansing wave that have raised us up as we struggle to find a way to say goodbye:

Brian was always known for his short quips on our family birthday cards, and they were always so funny and many times very true. Brian also knew how to say the most deep and personal things as well, even if it only showed up every once in a while. The day after my 18th birthday in 2017, he penned me a two page birthday letter. I don’t know if I have the strength in my heart to say what it said, but it was filled with deep, loving words. He told me how grateful he was to have me as a brother and a friend. Most of the time, he was a man of few words, but it was not always because he didn’t have those words in his heart. And I know that each one of us can say for certain that there was at least one if not more times in each of our lives that he said those words to us in his own way. I don’t know how to end this story/message, so I’ll just say, love you B.

-Ben Williams

Who Brian was, the strength he was able to share, and the memories that will endure is a testament to his parents, Dick and JoAnn, who gave their son the example of unconditional love that represents who Brian will always be. Brian’s legacy will reverberate back through them and his brothers and sisters that will be a light after the darkness. I love you Brian.


Services & Gatherings

Rosary Service: Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 7:00pm
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church

Funeral Mass:Monday, March 8, 2021 from 11:00am to 12:00pm
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church

Interment: Highland Cemetery
1860 E. 12th Street, Casper, WY 82601