Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Brian Gist Sullivan

January 8, 1966 - January 4, 2018
Pinckney, MI



Saturday, January 13, 2018
4:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Reception to follow in the Life Story Center

Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Kalamazoo Notre Dame Club - Connor Sorensen Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 2513
Kalamazoo, MI 49081


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With his wide grin and a whistle, Brian Gist Sullivan lived life to the fullest at every opportunity. For Brian, adventure was waiting around every corner. Never one for extravagancies, he lived simply, fully appreciating all that the world around him had to offer. He saw the beauty in nature and the love of family and good friends, considering them his greatest joys. Rich in spirit, Brian gave his all and then some when he put his mind and heart into something. Although quiet by nature, the impact he left on those he leaves behind will be forever cherished and treasured.

Brian’s story began in 1966. It was also the year Batman and Star Trek made their television debuts while color TV sets were gaining more and more popularity. A time of Hot Wheels and Twister, the infamous mini-skirt and vinyl wardrobes were the cool thing to wear, and the introduction of Pampers disposable diapers brought welcome relief to mothers everywhere. This was especially true for Michael and Jackie Sullivan of Kalamazoo, Michigan when they celebrated the New Year of 1966 with the birth of their little boy, Brian on January 8.

One of four children, Brian was the second oldest, joining his older brother, Shawn and later welcomed the births of his younger sister and brother, Maura and Morgan. Life growing up for Brian was typical of the times. The 1970s offered a young boy like Brian with much to remember. He attended the area schools and while he shared the friendships of many, he was pretty much a bookworm. A quiet kid, Brian was book smart and from his earliest years he had an appreciation for the outdoors. Through the years memorable times were also shared with his family during the holidays and other special occasions.

Brian loved snow skiing and participated in bicycling and wrestling in high school. After graduating from Plainwell High School with the Class of 1984, Brian went on to spend the next two years in Alaska for none other than the mere adventures he would experience there. He was in awe by the beauty and majesty of the area, and being a talented and excellent photographer, his creative side flowed as he explored all the photographic possibilities. Quite talented in many areas, Brian was an intelligent man who easily used his creativity as a form of expression. Whether through the lens of a camera, pen to paper or listening to a variety and broad spectrum of music that touched his soul, Brian viewed the world around him in his own, unique way.

After returning to Michigan, Brian enrolled at Central Michigan University where he double majored, earning his bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and marketing. He quickly entered a career in broadcasting where he participated in on-air broadcasts, produced commercials and served as a station manager before earning the station the number one ranking in the listening area. Upon achieving this goal, he went onto to his next adventure. He traveled to Europe, exploring the continent by train. To supplement his income while traveling abroad, he ventured into the new realm of web design.

Following his six-month stint in Europe, Brian returned home to Michigan where he continued his career in web design. For a short period of time, he was Marketing Director of Downtown Kalamazoo Association. During this time, he discovered his love for disc golf. This lead to employment opportunities within the sport, which included radio and television shows which he hosted and produced. Eventually, this lead to his current position as Marketing Director with Discraft. Brian truly loved his work there over the last many years.

Family time was important to Brian. He loved the family cottage in South Haven, Michigan and enjoyed spending time there. Great times were had on family ski trips up north and out west. Camping was another passion Brian enjoyed. Pets were always a part of Brian’s life. Due to his travels, he usually had cats and fish; but his cat, Bella had a special place in his heart. When it came to music, Brian loved all types of genres and acquired tons of music. Well versed in music, he knew all the details of bands, many song lyrics and titles. Food was another source of enjoyment for Brian. He loved to cook and enjoyed good food. Always willing to try new food, he liked trying new recipes. Along with sipping on good tequila now and then, Brian was pretty much a craft beer kind of guy.

Monetary items didn’t matter much to Brian. He lived a simple existence, thankful for what he had. Brian was all about life experiences and nature. He placed his focus on a few good friends and family, and he never tried to impress anyone. This was especially true when he drove his cars until they literally fell apart! Things like that just never mattered to Brian. He was very generous with his time, talents and abundance. And even though he was smart and quiet in many respects, he was accepting of everyone and was non-judgmental. Life was an adventure for Brian Sullivan, especially if it included being in the outdoors. For these things and so much more, he will be deeply missed and fondly remembered in the hearts of many.

Brian Gist Sullivan, age 51 of Pinckney and formerly of Kalamazoo, died unexpectedly at his home on Thursday, January 4, 2018. Surviving are his mother, Jackie (Don) Jarzambek, father, Michael (Mary) Sullivan; three siblings: Shawn Sullivan, Maura Sullivan (Denny Sorensen) and Morgan (Laura) Sullivan; three step-siblings: Monica Hessey, Steve Jarzambek and Jason (Jennifer) Jarzambek; many nieces and nephews. Cremation will take place. Services will be held Saturday, January 13, 2018, 4:00 PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 followed by a reception in the Life Story Center. Please visit Brian’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Norte Dame Club of Kalamazoo Connor Sorensen Memorial Scholarship.