"The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long".
And so it was with Brian Pierce, gone from this earth far too soon at age 51.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 8, 1968 to Sheila and David Pierce, Brian was the eldest of three, and big brother to Adam and Hally.
His college years solidified his love for all things Penn State. Indeed, although he rooted for the Cleveland Browns and Indians, became an Akron Zip, and made lifelong friendships with those who honor the Buckeyes, Brian Pierce was a Nittany Lion through and through. Together with his wife Lisa Lobbe, he brought his Penn State pride to Akron in 1991 for law school and a new life.
At Akron Law, Brian quickly found a band of brothers and legal community that embraced his keen intellect, sharp wit and irreverent sense of humor. He began practice as a criminal defense attorney and remained a formidable one until the day he died - always a champion of due process and every person’s right of innocence until proven guilty.
Brian was a fervent opponent of the death penalty. And although his legal successes are far too many to count, it cannot be left unsaid that he saved every death row client he had from that fate, because of his hard work, persistence, determination and honest belief that the State should not have the power to execute anyone.
Despite Brian’s many accomplishments, he acknowledged what many successful people cannot - that he was a flawed human being, capable of making mistakes but worthy of redemption and new efforts. In the face of all of his achievements, his humility filled the room. His sense of humor was infectious and often self deprecating, and so many people enjoyed a drink, a joke or a game of chance with the man who was so private, yet so very personable.
He leaves behind to mourn the loss of him, his wife of 24 years, Lisa Lobbe, and their three children who he loved more than anything in this world - Mackenzie, Colin and Peyton. In the years to come, those who knew him well should endeavor to share their stories with his beloved children, so they will continue to learn about their father - a man who worked so very hard every day to provide for them a life better than that of so many clients he represented.
Brian leaves behind his loving parents, Sheila and David Pierce, his in-laws who embraced him as their own, Arthur and Josephine Lobbe, brother Adam (Tara) and sister Hally (Gary Peterson), three nephews Jameson (Adam & Tara), and Chase and Max (Gary & Hally) as well as his brother in law Jon Lobbe, his wife Jackie and their sons Kaiden and Davis. And although he leaves behind friends too numerous to count, his partners in the law, Don Malarcik, Noah Munyer, Jacob Will and his colleagues in the firm Larry Vuillemin, Rick Dobbins and Jim Henshaw, as well as "firm momma" Erica McGee will feel his loss for decades to come.
In the end, despite that we lost him too soon, Brian gave the ultimate gift and became an organ donor, continuing to save lives in his death just as he did throughout his life. Erie, Akron, Hudson and State College will never be the same without him.
A Celebration of Brian’s Life will be held on November 3, 2019 at John S. Knight Center, 77 East Mill Street, Akron 44308 at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Brian Pierce Scholarship Fund through the University of Akron School of Law.