Brian B. Menlen, 79, of Portage passed away June 25, 2020. He was born December 25, 1940 in Hamtramck, Michigan to the late John A. and Julia (Evanoff) Menlen.
Brian graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit. He also received both a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Wayne State University. Brian was a lifelong fan of learning and took advantage of a variety of educational opportunities throughout his life. He immersed himself in ways to offer a better educational experience for Sunday School and confirmation students, including authoring a teacher's guide.
Brian met his wife on a city bus when she was just fourteen and knew fairly quickly that she was the one. She took some convincing, but 56 years of marriage is proof that they were a great match.
Brian was a great believer in family. He made sure his daughters knew they could be anything and supported them along the way. He was endlessly patient with grandchildren projects and was the first dance partner for each of them.
Life often hits hard times and Brian did what needed to be done, sometimes taking jobs for which he was obviously overqualified in order to fill the gaps and provide for his family. He began his professional career in healthcare management, moved to financial planning, and prior to retirement was the beloved book man for Books Are Fun through Reader's Digest.
After retirement, he volunteered for everything from substitute grandpa at the drop-in child care center to serving lunch at his church's Wide Open Table to participating as a member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Bronson Hospital.
Brian served as a medic in the Army Reserves. In later years, he was known throughout the neighborhood as Dr. Grandpa. He was always armed with gauze, mercurochrome, and tape to treat any injury.
A fierce advocate for human rights, the environment, and starry skies, Brian was a man of deep faith. He spent a lifetime of studying and amassed a literal library to understand it. It wasn't a preachy or showy kind of faith. He lived it and expressed it every day in his words and actions. It presented itself through patience, kindness, and the love that he showed his family, friends, and just about everyone that he encountered.
Brian was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara (nee Lloyd) Menlen; daughters, Melissa Kelley and Markie (Timothy) Wilson; grandchildren, Samantha and Connor Kelley and Nate, Amelia, and Tess Wilson; and brothers, John (Cindy) Menlen, Jr. and Dennis (Barbara) Menlen.
Private services will be held for Brian's family at Portage United Church of Christ.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to ISAAC c/o St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 247 West Lovell St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 or Doing Our Own Work (part of Allies for Change), PO Box 4353, East Lansing, MI 48826.
Please visit Brian's personalized online guestbook at https://www.langelands.com
Doing Our Own Work - Allies for Change
PO Box 4353, East Lansing MI 48826
ISAAC c/o St. Luke's Episcopal Church
247 West Lovell Street, Kalamazoo MI 49007