Brig Cabe was born in the Bronx to Brigido and Marialina Cabe in 1943. Always curious and dexterous, Brig would deconstruct and reconstruct everything from radios to homemade explosives. Often times, his unsuccessful attempts would overshadow his successful attempts, but this did not extinguish his interest and determination to wreak havoc.
If one were to look at Brig during his formative years, many would guess that he would be an engineer, rocket scientist or a pyromaniac. However, after watching Martin Luther King Jr. on the television one evening, Brig felt compelled to join the Civil Rights Movement in any way that he could. One evening, Brig quietly left his New Jersey home—abandoning a promising engineering career—picked up a camera and landed on Dr. King's doorstep. After knocking on the door in search of a job, Dr. King hired him as his personal photographer and wanted to keep Brig around because he enjoyed his tenacity and spirit. Brig's fast-paced life with the movement landed him in some unique situations including jail time with Dr. King and getting beaten by the Ku Klux Klan, to name a couple. Thankfully, Brig never became a permanent jailbird.
While Brig worked for the Civil Rights Movementas an active member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Brig and his then-wife, Vera, became the happy parents of two wonderful children, Ian and Sabina. Brig stayed with Dr. King until his unfortunate assassination in 1968. Following his time in Atlanta, Brig was recruited for a photojournalism job at the Washington Star and moved Washington, D.C. with the young family in tow.
Always the curious traveler, Brig's job gave him the opportunity to travel the world and experience many cultures. Photo assignments took him across the world to countries including: Egypt, Senegal, Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Japan, Laos, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile… to name a few. Brig's travels fueled his passion for local and exotic cuisine, often relying mostly on advice from cab drivers about the best local hole-in-the-wall—if there weren't any locals eating there, then stay away! Brig's passion for traveling and adventure was something he would soon pass along to his children.
Brig met Joanne in Washington, D.C. at a well-known restaurant and watering hole. Brig had a prospective client meeting to discuss a photography opportunity when Joanne and a couple friends walked into the restaurant. Joanne and her friends struck up a conversation with Brig and his client, which led to the exchange of phone numbers. After a yearlong courtship that included exploring the culture and cuisine of Washington, D.C., and Joanne assisting with photo assignments, Brig asked Joanne to marry him. Joanne said yes, and they were married at the Lutheran Church of Reformation in 1980.
After Brig and Joanne married, the Cabe clan grew—Jordan, Ariel and Leslie joined their older siblings. Ian and Sabina took on the roles of a caring older brother and sister. As life progressed and his children grew, Brig was blessed with a bountiful bunch of loving grandchildren: Oren, Ian, Devina, Zachary, Sade, Marc Anthony, Sereneti, Adrien, and twins Morgan and Paige. Brig's grandchildren filled him with joy and love, often proclaiming how proud they made him.
Although Brig officially retired, he never stopped taking photographs. He often inserted himself as the additional photographer for graduations, weddings, dinners and so on. Also, Brig was a staple on the sidelines of his children's soccer games, snapping photos with his trusty 400mm.At every family event, Brig was always able to capture the moments and memories that will last forever.
Brig's daughter Sabina has been known to say: "he lived life like it was a buffet." Brig was compassionate, patient, loving, wise, hungry, hilarious, thoughtful, sentimental, caring, humble, goofy, well traveled and well spoken. To say that he was a special person is a huge understatement. His soul and spirit will forever be honored through his wife, brother, children, grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and his legacy will never be forgotten.
Brig was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease seven years ago with his symptoms worsening over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, he developed a severe case of pneumonia due to complications with the disease, and lost his battle on December 17th. He was surrounded and comforted by his family as his spirit left his body to join his mother and father in eternity. While he is no longer with us physically, his spirit will remain with us forever.
The Post-Dispatch made the announcement on its website, stltoday.com.
"I worked with Bryan at three different newspapers," Detroit News sports editor Phil Laciura said Thursday. "He was a true professional and always upbeat. He was also a trailblazer for many African-American journalists."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports editor Roger Hensley said in a statement that Burwell was one of the most well-respected journalists in his field. The Associated Press Sports Editors named Burwell one of the top 10 sports columnists in the country in 2007.
Burwell joined the Post-Dispatch in 2002 after working as a correspondent for HBO's "Inside the NFL." During a long career, Burwell also wrote columns for USA Today, wrote for the Washington Star and worked in New York at the Daily News and Newsday.
In recent seasons, Burwell had begun working in sports video.
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