Brian Edward Bamforth was born on October 27, 1928 in Luton, England. His birth mother, Madalaine Shoosmith Bamforth died soon after his birth. He was brought to the US months later by steamship and grew up in Norwood, PA. During his childhood he lived with his father and step-mother, Arthur and Beatrice Bamforth, and his older brother, Stuart. He was pre-deceased by his first wife, Bobbe-Jean Bamforth and his ex-wife Janice Lynn McKee, and has been married to Roni Bamforth for 40 years. He is survived by his brother, Stuart, four children, Douglas, Amy, Erica and Mark, and by three step-children, Amy, Marci and Wendy. He also leaves four grandchildren, Kate, Claire, Sam, and Gabe, and one great-granddaughter, Eilish.
Brian studied at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1949 with a degree in political science. Soon after he joined a training course at the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States where he held a number of roles including group and individual sales representative, Assistant Secretary to the corporation and Vice-President of the Holding Company. He never left the Equitable, and completed his career there 47 years later. He also served in the Army Military Intelligence Reserves for 9 years, and was a youth basketball coach, a member of the public school board and was deeply involved in church.
A life-long Episcopalian, the Church was at the center of Brian’s life. As a youth, he earned perfect attendance awards for Sunday school for nine out of ten years and proudly wore his achievement badge commemorating this. He embraced a progressive theology that emphasized social justice and creating community, and was active as a lay reader, bible study coordinator and Vestry member at several parishes in NJ. He treasured his work through St. George’s of Maplewood offering support to unhoused families through the Interfaith Hospitality Network (now Family Promise) as well as commemorating the Righteous Among Nations, non-Jews who helped Jewish people during the Holocaust in an annual event sponsored by SOMA (South Orange/Maplewood Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Planning Committee). He was honored to have received the David P. Hegg II award for lifetime achievement and commitment to the Episcopal Church in 2022.
Brian's religious observance was grounded in Christianity, and included a deep respect for the beliefs and practices of all religions. He regularly shared Shabbat observance and prayers at home with Roni, and when his grandsons became Bar Mitzvah, chanted Hebrew prayers with incredible accuracy. A highlight of his spiritual life was a trip to Israel, co-led by a rabbi and an Episcopal priest, where he took part in a renewal of baptismal vows at the river Jordan.
Brian was famous for unique (never store bought) Halloween costumes and for creating memorable birthday parties and holiday celebrations for his children. He used his wonderful sense of humor to cajole children into behaving with comments like, "There's a dead horse in the bathtub!" when he was convinced that he was being ignored.
He was beloved by his grandchildren for his willingness to try and drive past them on the go-cart track and into them in bumper cars. They could always count on him to support their various interests, be it shopping trips, water slides, card games, or sports events and school performances. He excelled at organizing family events and rituals, from building boats to float down the brook, to special meals at restaurants and trips into NYC to see Broadway shows.
Brian died on June 17, 2023 at age 94. May his memory be a blessing.
Funeral service will be held at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 550 Ridgewood Ave. Maplewood, NJ, on Thursday, June 22, 2023 at 11 a.m.
The family requests no flowers, but that donations in his name be made to one of the following: