Brian Stewart Shane

Date of Birth

July 6, 1952

Date of Death

March 27, 2009

City of Death


Brian died at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital at 1 pm on Friday March 27 of complications resulting from a massive bacterial infection. Sadly many of his friends were gathered in Goleta at that very moment at a Friday lunch meeting, regularly attended by Brian, and didn’t know!

Brian was born in New Hampshire, into a large family with several brothers and sisters of which only two or three survive him. He talked often and fondly about his early adult life in Boston where he lived after having served in the Army. He came to California in the 1990’s and lived in Goleta. He didn’t drive and was a familiar sight shuffling along Hollister Ave. in Old Town Goleta where he shopped at the Santa Cruz market and regularly hung-out at the GVCC.

Brian had many friends in town as well as a few people who found his caustic demeanor a bit too harsh. But to so many of us who saw past that side of his personality, he represented a very kind and giving friend with folksy good sense and wise counsel to share.

Brian had a strong sense of right and wrong and was not hesitant to tell those around him about his feelings on any given subject whether personal or social or political. But in a quiet and unassuming way, he helped scores of people learn to live their lives more productively both through his words and his actions. It is probably not too much to say that he saved the lives of a number of people who had the good fortune to overlap with his.

Many of us in Goleta had no idea that Brian also had hundreds of friends throughout the world who knew him through his 200+ vlogs posted on YouTube. As “Smerdley”, he was a prolific social and political commentator with a raw and dark sense of comedic humor that for some was an acquired taste. He had more than 600 subscribers and 100 “friends” while 40 of his vids were viewed more than 1,000 times with one accumulating 22,000 views!

In Goleta, most of us knew him simply as “I’m Brian”, a kind and giving guy who struggled quietly with a severe chronic blood disorder during the last several years of his life, but who was always there for others, and particularly those of us, like him, who were friends of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. We miss but will always remember you Brian! “The End.”

On Friday, August 14 at 1:20 pm, Brian’s friends are all welcome to gather at the bench in front of the Goleta Valley CC, 5679 Hollister Ave.


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