Brian Sorrelle 1961 – 2013

Me, Andrea, and Brian circa 2003 in Winchendon

When I was a young boy my Grandfather gave me, what turned out to be, very valuable information.

“Son, you can tell a lot about a man by his handshake.”

When I first met Brian Sorrelle, he extended his hand, looked me right in the eye, and gave me a firm and solid handshake.  Of course that was followed by “Hey Bud” in his very deep and resounding voice.  I had already met Andrea and to be quite honest, they were visually quite different.

Brian being so tall, and Andrea being so petite.
Brian’s aforementioned deep voice and Andrea’s songbird like chirping.
Brian was a blond, Andrea was dark haired…They were so different, but was struck at how much in love they were and how they complimented each other so nicely.

They actually lived in an apartment above Jim’s and my apartment/computer repair storefront.  Those were some very lean times for Jim and me.  We were doing everything we could to scrape by and putting all of our money back into the business.  Knowing that, Brian would scavenge his work sites for suitable counters, doors, or anything that could be formed or re-formed into something useful.  He and Andrea would spend weekends down in our shop, working to help us improve our lives…simply for the cost of our company.

We all became fast friends and during the next few years we would go through a lot together, the four of us…as friends and what I liked to refer to as our “pot luck family.”

I recall how excited all of us were when we bought, and Brian installed, our new washer and dryer.  We had all been using the laundromat down the street and I’m sure I don’t have to go into why having our own W/D was great.  The thing was…we didn’t really have a space for a washer/dryer setup.  That didn’t faze Brian one bit!  He was welding copper pipes into our living room…we got those suckers up and running in no time.

Brian was never afraid to try and make something with his hands.  If he could touch it he could figure it out, and that’s an amazing gift many don’t have…I know that I don’t have it!  He always encouraged us to try stuff, and when we did… he’d invariably fix it for us, whether it was a salvaged wall mounted shelving, or a dutch door – we could count on him.  Of course, this wasn’t a one way street…Brian and Andrea had the best running computers in the county, but it was the least we could do.

With his hands he transformed our computer workshop into a legitimate storefront that attracted business.

Brian

One of the lessons I learned from Brian was how to be a better partner to a woman.  That sounds weird, but I’m referring to his patience, his thoughtfulness, and his constant desire to make Andrea happy, which in turn made him happy.  Life is never easy and things could always be better, but for Brian you would never know it.  It was great to see a positive example of a man, not afraid to be happy with his life.  Everything, for him, came down to family.

Speaking of family, I remember when Brian told me that he and Andrea were pregnant with Juliette.  He was obviously excited, but also a bit apprehensive because times were tight, he was a bit older than the average Dad, and it was something completely new.  But to see him, over the course of their pregnancy, evolving, planning for the baby and caring for Andrea… it was inspiring.  Getting Juliette’s room finished was a priority for him…it was funny to see this macho guy standing with his tool belt on, in the middle of a pink room painting flowers on a built-in shelf he made.

It was several years later, after I had met my lovely wife that we found out we were pregnant.  I was obviously excited, but also a bit apprehensive because times were tight, I was a bit older than the average Dad, and it was something completely new to me…but not to Brian.  He went out of his way to make himself available whenever I needed to talk.  His council and friendship were really a benefit to me during that time and I was, and still am, appreciative of the time he shared with me.  He would repeatedly use words and phrases like, “Slow down,” “Enjoy your time,” and “make this count.”  I’m still taking this advice, and it’s among the best advice I’ve ever received.

It was a joy to see how happy he was with his family, and in turn, equally joyful to see how much they loved and counted on him.

The last time I saw Brian was when my basement flooded.   It’s funny, because it never entered my head that he and I wouldn’t see him again.  However, when we left I looked him in the eye and let him know how much I appreciated his help.  We shook hands firmly and he drove off.

Brian was with his younger children in his last moments, and for that I’m thankful.  I’ll miss you Bud.

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