(October 12, 1960–February 25, 2023)

Brian Hess sitting at a table at a restaurant near the beach, looking out the window with a smile on his face and his arm stretched out on the window sill. He is wearing a blue t-shirt with the words "EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON... AND THAT REASON IS USUALLY PHYSICS." Over that he wears an orange flannel jacket, unzipped to show the t-shirt. The ocean is in the background through the windows.

Brian’s passion was connecting with people. Family was most important to him, but “family” encompassed friends, coworkers, his kids’ friends, his friends’ kids… To know Brian was to love him, and to know he loved you right back.

He also loved a variety of activities: fishing, reading, hiking, tabletop gaming, playing video games, rock hounding, watching football, smoking food, watching science fiction and fantasy movies and shows, learning about science and history, reading sci-fi and fantasy fiction, going to the beach or the mountains or places with cool geology, geography, and/or history, and sharing all those things and more with other people. Brian loved trying new things, whether it was a new boardgame, or a new way to cook food, or visiting a new place.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers you might consider donating to a cause that was important to Brian:

Planned Parenthood

NW Rockhounds Education Center

Brian grew up in Multnomah Village, southwest Portland, Oregon. He and his friends had the run of the neighborhood, in the way of 60s and 70s kids. When high school came around, Brian was enrolled at Jackson High School, but to say he attended there often would have been a stretch much of the time. Instead of class, you might have found him knee-deep in a stream, fishing rod in hand. Brian’s big brain craved action with friends and the serenity of nature, not time spent sitting at a desk and following rules. Thanks to that big brain, while Brian’s grades matched the amount of time he spent in class, his test scores were off the charts.

Luckily, Brian had his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, to keep him in line. Or at least inspire him to sometimes make good choices. His test scores earned him free admission to Stanford, but that felt overwhelming at the time. Jen encouraged him to get his GED and to choose a path that could be interesting and engaging.  He chose computer programming at Portland Community College where he earned an AA degree. They ended up moving to Seattle to start a family. Brian very begrudgingly shaved his beard, donned a tie, and went to work at Safeco Insurance. 

Although great at his job, which involved things like testing software, writing software, and thinking about software, as always the most important part to Brian of his decades-long time at Safeco / Liberty Mutual was the friends and found family he acquired along the way. That and supporting his family without having his job dominate his life. 

Brian and Jen raised their kids, Thyrza and Barrett, in West Seattle. Their home was bursting with laughter, friends, stories, music, books, nerdy activities, cats and dogs, and love. Their home was always open to their friends and their kids’ friends, as a safe and loving space.

Brian’s body succumbed to cancer on 25 February, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sherman and Virginia, and his brother Buck and sister-in-law, Terry. He is survived by his wife Jennifer, his kids Thyrza and Barrett, their partners, Yuji and Becky, his brother Brendt, sister-in-law Laurel, and a huge array of family and friends. We all miss him very much. He was, without a doubt, and as he gleefully would have told you, Awesome.