Craig Leonard BRIANS
FUNERAL HOME
McCoy Funeral Home
150 Country Club Dr SW
Blacksburg, VA
Craig Leonard Brians, born May 17, 1962, passed away suddenly on Sunday, November 10, 2013. He was out working in the sunny yard, in view of our beautiful mountains, with our nine year old, Nick. He was clearing the fall leaves and readying us all for the winter days ahead. He always was a planner, our Craig. Craig was a native Californian, born in Hollywood and raised in Hollister. He was born while his mother was studying Library Science at UCLA, which apparently marked him for academia, despite his best efforts to avoid it. He grew up on his parents' organic farm, which is where he learned how to fix anything and everything-one of his many virtues that made me the luckiest wife around. He adored animals, especially the draft horses and the goats, who were his friends.
He graduated from San Benito High School in 1979 and went to college at Fresno State ("Go bulldogs," he might want me to inject here. I hope I am remembering the right mascot). He dabbled in radio, and then went into law enforcement. He was a police officer for the Fresno Police Department, a calling that he was born to fulfill. He loved it and lived it with every fiber of his being. Why? "I knew I could help people," he told me. "I had the ability to go into any terrible situation and contain it and make it better, even if only for a while. I could help." He was perfectly comfortable in the most horrific situations, in full control. Until a warehouse fence collapsed beneath him when he was on a call, and he fell and broke his back. He suffered paralysis and learned to walk again, but finally was forced to admit he could not continue his passion of police work. He had to take disability retirement, and he was devastated. He would spend every minute of the next 25 years in severe pain, which he masked with his beaming smile and outgoing chattiness. Kindness, intrinsic to his nature, was also his pain control.
Never one to lie around (even if forced to by a broken back), he got his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California at Irvine, while raising his two amazing daughters with his former wife Susan Diane Lynch, and then became a Political Science professor at Virginia Tech. There he got to combine his fascination with Political Science and his love of radio by doing election-day commentaries for our local public radio station, WVTF. He published many articles and co-authored numerous editions of the textbook, Empirical Political Analysis: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods in Political Science. He was a spectacular and utterly devoted teacher who spent endless hours helping his students advance their careers. His job at Tech brought us the lucky day when I (his wife) met him in the elevator, and when he finally got around to asking me out a year later, we fell in love. Craig knew more about love than anyone I have ever known-how to love courageously, patiently, tenaciously, gently, insistently, steadfastly, and absolutely. He healed me, loved me, and gave the world and me four beautiful, smart, kind, embracing, incredible children.
Craig was preceded in death by his adored cousin, Cherie Rudoll; his adored Grandma Edna and Grandpa Cecil Leonard; and his beloved Grandma Ruth Brians and Grandpa Enoch Brians. He is survived by his wife, Jessica Aileen Folkart, of Blacksburg; and his precious children who were his reason for living, Ruth (Patrick) Ondelacy, of Las Cruces, N.M., Martha Brians, of Townsville, Australia, and Nicholas and Lucas Brians, of Blacksburg; his parents, Robert Brians and Janet Leonard Brians, of Hollister, Calif.; his brother, Grant (Juliette) Brians, of Hollister, Calif.; his forever brother-in-law-and-best-friend, Daniel (Elizabeth) Lathrop, of Silver Spring, Md.; his former and forever in-laws, Ron and Paula Lathrop (she of the succulent tomatoes) of Martinez, Calif.; a passel of nieces and nephews that he cherished; and the officers he loved and admired at the Fresno PD. We are boundlessly grateful that we got him for the time we had, no matter how brief.
Our family sends our heartfelt gratitude to the emergency rescue squad, Blacksburg police officers, and our dearest friend and doctor, Mike Kennedy, who all tried so hard to save him and could not have done more for us.
Visitation will be at McCoy Funeral Home, 150 Country Club Drive SE, Blacksburg, Wednesday, November 13, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m. The funeral will be held at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 600 Prices Fork Road, Blacksburg, this Thursday, November 14, 2013, at 10 a.m. Burial will be beside a weeping cherry tree in full view of our beautiful mountains, at the Memorial Gardens of the New River Valley, 2551 N. Main Street, Blacksburg, this Thursday at 2 p.m. All are welcome to any or all events.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to WVTF public radio, in memory of the happy hours Craig spent there, or the Blacksburg Interfaith Food Pantry. One of the last things Craig and I talked about was how saddened and concerned we are that the need for food donations has nearly doubled there in the past year. As ever, Craig wanted to help. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home.



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Published by Roanoke Times on Nov. 13, 2013.
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18 Entries
I first learned of Craig's passing from the Fresno police Officers Assn posting. I was sadden
when I read it because he was a very honorable and compassionate man. He never had a bad word about anyoe.Craig is sorely missed by all his friends at Fresno PD. My deepest condolences to his family.
Al Llanos FPD Ret.
November 17, 2013
I first met Craig at LMLC. I have not attended there for over 10 years and Craig & I would run into each other at GLE having lunch with our kids, or I would see him at McDonalds. He knew of some of the challenges I was having over the past few years and always gave a word of hope and friendship. It was an honor and privelage knowing him. God bless his family, peace be with you.
dennis brisendine
November 15, 2013
I read the obituary because his name was familiar from public radio, and because he had such a nice face. in the photo. While I am a total stranger, I feel cheated that we were not friends. The obituary was the most loving and graceful one I ever read. I am sorry for your loss but glad that you were lucky to have such a incredibly happy time together.

Richard Cornett
November 15, 2013
I listen to WVTF...I noticed his name...I am sad to know that he has passed. You have expressed very lovingly who he was in your writing and I am sure there is so much more to say. God bless you and give you comfort in loving memories.
November 14, 2013
I went to the Fresno Police Academy with Craig in 1987 where he was affectionately known as, "scantron" because he was the smartest cadet in the class. I lost my father while I was in the academy and I remember Craig's emotional support to me during that difficult time. Craig was a kind, generous man. Deepest condolences to his wife, children and family. God bless you!
Pete Boyer
November 14, 2013
I had the pleasure to be Craig's academy classmate as we were hired by Fresno PD at the same time. A good man who would have had a lasting positive impact on FPD were not for his back injury cutting his career short. Even after the back injury, which caused him great pain, Craig was always upbeat and kind. Too few people like Craig Brians in this world.
Terry O'Neil
November 14, 2013
I was so saddened to learn of Craig's death. I was a Retirement Counselor when Craig retired and had many conversations with him over the years. He was a very special man.
Donna Gaab
November 14, 2013
Known to me as Craig helped his wife my cousin and many others reach the dreams of thier lives.
Edith Morton
November 14, 2013
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I went to the Police Academy with Craig and worked with him at the Fresno Police Department. Craig was one of the nicest people I've ever known and was proud to call him a friend. He was sorely missed as a police officer when he had to retire. May God bless his family and friends and forever keep Craig in their hearts.
Doug Reese
November 13, 2013
I worked with Craig at the Fresno Police Department. I am very sad to learn of his death. He was a great Officer to work with. Rest in peace old friend.
Rich Hill
November 13, 2013
I Will always remeber Craig as having a heart of gold, a sharp wit, an I fectious laugh, a kind and gentle spirit & strong standards and morals.

There is one more star in the sky, there is one more tear in our eyes, we will miss him so.... but Got said go.
Juliette Brians
November 13, 2013
I am so sorry to hear of your grievous lost, Jessica, and hope that time will help to soothe the wound it has opened. Death ends a life but it does not have to end a relationship.
raymond souza
November 13, 2013
I met Dr. Brians when he came to the Virginia Tech Police Department one night to do a ride-along. His stories of his days in the profession while in California remain with me to this day. It was apparent by his demeanor in the car with me, and the way he still reacted to situations we dealt with that night, that policing was still indeed a passion of his. Though I have since went to work with another department, I still recall that night that he rode "shotgun". To this day I keep the commendation letter he wrote me in a binder with all of my certifications. To a young officer that was a huge compliment. Not only was this a commendation, but one from a brother of the trade complimenting me on how I handled certain situations. I think that speaks to the kind of man Dr. Brians was. I am so thankful to have had the pleasure of meeting him and that meeting taught me a valuable lesson; you never know the impact you may make on one person at any given moment in time. This time my ride-along impacted me. May god bless your family. My prayers to you all.
November 13, 2013
Dr. Brians was an amazing professor and person. The passion and enthusiasm he brought to class will be sorely missed.
November 13, 2013
Craig Brians was and will always be a respected member of the Law Enforcement community. He never lost his love for the "job" and will be remembered as an honorable part of this profession.
Captain Bruce Bradbery
November 13, 2013
What a beautiful remembrance of a remarkable man, whose love for his wife Jessica, and his four children, was apparent to all of us who were lucky enough to have known him. I still see Craig on his wedding day, beaming at his dear bride Jessica, when the sons they would have together were still just a wonderful dream. Our sincerest condolences to Jessica, Julie, Martha, Nic, and Luke.
Francie and Jonathan
November 13, 2013
Dr. Brians was an amazing professor and friend. His willingness to help, or just to listen, was unmatched in my time as a student and alum. I will always remember his infectious smile and sincere care for the well-being of those around him. We were better off to have known him.
Brennan Shepard
November 13, 2013
Although I didn't know Brian well, his sense of humor and compassion marked even the briefest encounters. The Hokie Nation will feel his loss for a long time. Our prayers go out to you and your family.
Kelly Harrison
November 13, 2013
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