Our dad, Bryan Keith Shanoff, 64, left this world for his next big adventure on Feb. 20, 2021, comfortably in his home with his life companion, Barbara “Annette” Powell, and best friend, Earle the Cat, both by his side. He fought cancer with every ounce of strength he had and learned it was the one thing in this world he couldn’t out-wit or out-stubborn! We know that he quite reluctantly left without being able to take along those of us he loved most: Annette and Earle; daughters, Brittany Robb (Nate), Morgann Gordon (Josh) and Allie Shanoff (Tanner Johnson); Dad’s sister, Terri Gerren (Jeff), and her children, Melissa and Tyler; brother, Mike Grundstrom (Toni), and his children, Jesse and Kelli; and brother, Ole Grundstrom (Karen). His family far and wide by birth and blood, choice and chance, marriage and divorce, including our Mom, Theresa Shanoff, in-laws, ex-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and countless others will assuredly miss him in ways great and small. We hope that as soon as Dad breathed his last, he was met by the loving arms of his parents, Elizabeth Jean “Betty” and George Rodney “Rod” Grundstrom, and Robert James “Bob” Shanoff. We imagine too that he and his older brother, Robert “Bobby” James Jr., whom he’d never had the chance to meet in this world, are having one heck of a time getting to know one another on the other side!
Our Dad was charisma incarnate. He made fast friends with anyone who was fortunate enough to cross his path. His sense of humor and wit was second-to-none and the gravity of his larger-than-life personality drew people in. Dad was the center of attention and the life of the party. There are countless times we can recall that our Dad’s ability to find humor in the ironies of life have gotten us through some of the most difficult experiences we’ve endured, and our biggest wish is that he was by our side at this moment helping us laugh through the tears.
Dad’s curiosity provided him the great fortune of living many lives; in the Navy and the Air National Guard he was an Adventurer, as a builder and mechanic he was an Inventor, in the postal service he was a Traveler, as an over-the-road truck driver he was an Explorer. We will always remember him best as an Artist whose imagination was glorious, and whose creativity was restless and unfettered. He could hardly muster the patience to see an endeavor through to the end before the next grand creation was underway. The entirety of his life was a work of art unfolding until the end.
All skills of the human experience take time to refine. The longer Dad was our parent, the better at it he became. In the winter of his life through the last days in which we were fortunate enough to be by his side, he was quick with an, “I love you,” an impromptu hug, and a joke to lighten a heavy heart. He made it so clear that we were the center of his world. Of all the myriad ways he invented and reinvented himself throughout his lifetime, his constant source of pride and joy, and the favorite role he ever fulfilled was being our Dad. He taught us the importance of being kind to each other and to animals, he reminded us that professional success and personal fulfillment are often not one in the same, he told us to always listen to our Mother, follow our intuition, and most importantly, that life is far too short to settle for unhappiness.
Celebrations honoring our Dad will be held in both Duluth, Minn., and the Eastern Shore of Virginia at times when it is safe to bring together all who loved him. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our family and friends, and from those who knew Dad best. On their recommendation, we have created a memorial fund in his honor at: https://gofund.me/a1d364a0