During his school years he worked at his family’s marine laundry business that serviced Great Lakes grain and ore boats, operating and repairing machinery and delivering laundry to the boats. He met Jackie Johnson, who lived across the bay in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1954. A toll bridge connected the two cities and it cost Brian a substantial amount of money to date her for two years, but it was the best money he ever spent!
They married in 1956 and moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where Brian earned a Master’s Degree in Analytical Chemistry from Florida State University, after which they moved to Chicago where Brian did research at the Illinois Institute of Gas Technology.
In 1964 he accepted a position at Research Corporation for Science Advancement, a private foundation that funds basic research in the physical sciences. He began as a regional director, serving the Chicago office, then the Minneapolis office, finally being transferred to the Tucson headquarters when the foundation consolidated operations there in 1983.
He became Coordinator of their newly expanded grants program, Director of Programs for Science Research and Education, and in 1992 was appointed Vice President. He developed two programs at RCSA – the Partners in Science program which funded research opportunities for high-school teachers to work with research scientists at colleges and universities, and the Cottrell Scholar Program which has supported more than 500 outstanding early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy. He also helped found and served as executive secretary of the Council on Undergraduate Research, which has grown to nearly 700 institutions and more than 13,000 individual members from around the world.
Brian and Jackie made many road trips across the country with their four children in the back of the station wagon. According to the kids, Brian stopped and read aloud every word of every historical marker along the way! Besides his passion for science education, Brian had many other interests and hobbies. He was an avid reader, enjoyed hunting and fishing, sports, flying, music, cooking, stamp and coin collecting, old cars, steam engines and airplanes. He was a do-it-yourself guy who received great pleasure in helping others fix things. He had a quick and unrelenting sense of humor, sometimes so spontaneous it would leave him laughing heartily at his own jokes! When it came to sports, the Minnesota Twins, Arizona Wildcats, and Green Bay Packers were his favorite teams, much to his Vikings-loving wife’s chagrin.
From childhood Brian had a deep, unwavering faith in God. Wherever he lived he would be actively involved in his church. He was a Teacher, Deacon, Elder, Missions Board member, Stephen’s Minister and loved singing in the choir. For several years he served on the Board of Trustees of the St. Paul Bible College (newly named Crown College) in Minnesota.
Psalm 34:8 was a favorite Bible verse that he learned as a young child: “O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him”. With a big smile on his face he would substitute the word “boy” for “man” and then go happily on his way knowing the One who would guide him throughout his life.
Brian will be deeply missed by many friends and family: Jackie, his wife of 66 years, daughters Karin Andreen, Laurie Andreen Grygiel (Andy), Carole Andreen Harris (Lemorris) and son Eric Andreen (Julie), grandchildren Ingrid, Andy, Annelise, Alix, Charles and Hannah, and great-grandchildren Forest and Brooks. Also many much-loved nieces and nephews, sister-in-law Marlene, brother-in-law Maurie, and best friend of over 70 years, Dick Solie, and all the other Solie’s, his adopted family.
Memorials in Brian’s name may be made to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona or the Tucson Gospel Rescue Mission. A Celebration of Life will be held at 1:30 pm on Saturday, March 11th, 2023 at Catalina Foothills Church, 2150 East Orange Grove Road, Tucson, AZ 85718.