Brian Roy Bluhm
Class: Masters Student (second year)
Major: Civil Engineering (Water Resources)
Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA (birth place) / Troy, MI (childhood) / Louisville, KY (HS)
High School: duPont Manual (Louisville, KY) - Class of 2000
Previous College Education: BS, Civil Engineering (Virginia Tech, 12/04)
Died along with Prof. Loganathan and 8 other students in Advanced Hydrology class.
YouTube video: Tribute: Brian Bluhm by dennisdubay
Detroit Channel 4 video: Tiger Fan Remembered
Personal Remembrances From Family/Friends/Colleagues
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Brian Bluhm and Matt Gwaltney Memorial at Facebook
Newspaper Remembrance Stories
Graduate Student Loved God,
Family and Baseball
Brian Bluhm sometimes struggled to get some of his priorities straight.
Should he go to the Virginia Tech football game against Clemson, or stay home and watch his beloved Detroit Tigers in their first playoff appearance in years?
But the 25-year-old sports-crazy graduate student, who died in Norris Hall Monday, was clear on the most important things in his life.
“He was a Christian man who loved God first and everybody else after that,” said Matt Dunham, a Tech senior who knew Bluhm through Tech’s Baptist Student Union.
He called Bluhm a mentor.
Bluhm was a regular at Bible study and the group’s Tuesday night worship service, Dunham said.
After God came family and friends.
Baseball couldn’t have been far behind.
“He was always wearing that Tigers hat, that beat-up old Tigers hat,” Dunham said. The last time the two were together was to watch an opening day game between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Bluhm would often meet his old Tech friend Matt Conner, who now lives in Lynchburg, for Tech football games or Salem Avalanche baseball games.
“Under normal circumstances he was a quiet guy, but when it comes to sports, he’ll yell and jump and cheer with the rest of us,” Conner said.
He also had a catalog-like recall of sports statistics.
Bluhm was a highly regarded regular contributor to several baseball blogs, particularly those about the Tigers. Fellow bloggers posted numerous memorials about him this week.
“I never met him in person or spoke to him on the phone,” wrote Zachary Herman on one Tigers blog. “Still, I considered him an important person in my life and I am deeply saddened by his death.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, just before Tuesday’s Tigers game, the announcer asked for a moment of silence for all the victims at Tech, and mentioned Bluhm specifically.
If Bluhm knew his name was called over the loudspeaker at a Tigers game, Conner said, “he’d be smiling from ear to ear.”
Bluhm, who had lived as a boy in Troy, Mich., went to high school in Kentucky before coming to Tech. He earned a degree in civil engineering, and stayed at Tech for a masters degree in water resources.
He was nearly done, and already had a job lined up in Baltimore. He’d already found an apartment there, Conner said.
“He was really excited to finish up his thesis and get out in the real world,” he said.
— Matt Chittum (Roanoke Times, 4/18/07)
York Times Profile:
Brian Bluhm, 25, was a graduate student in civil engineering at Virginia Tech who was working toward a master's degree in water resources. He considered Blacksburg, Va., his hometown, but he was really from all over. He was born in Iowa and went to high school in Louisville, Ky. He spent his childhood in Detroit, where he became a rabid Tigers fan.
His next stop, friends say, was Maryland.
Mr. Bluhm was set to finish his courses and defend his master's thesis early this summer, and he had already accepted a job in Baltimore and found an apartment there, said his best friend, Michael Marshall, 25, of Richmond. He said Mr. Bluhm had planned to start his new job in July.
"He was a real lovable, genuine, peaceful person," said Mr. Marshall, who roomed with Mr. Bluhm while both were undergraduates at Virginia Tech.
Mr. Bluhm had been working as a graduate teaching assistant in the engineering department, a job that sometimes weighed on him, said Hannah Barnhill, 23, a close friend from Roanoke, Va.
"He struggled as a student teacher because he took it seriously and graded fairly, but hated giving students low grades, (even if they may have deserved them)," Ms. Barnhill wrote in an e-mail message from Peru, where she was traveling today.
Mr. Bluhm was a shy, quiet person who did not like the spotlight, Ms. Barnhill said. "But he loved his friends," she said. "He would light up whenever he saw someone he knew, and loved to joke around." She said he loved Hokie football and "adored" Virginia Tech.
"He had a memorable laugh (more of a chuckle) and a huge heart," Ms. Barnhill said. "He was a person of faith, a loyal friend, and a Hokie till the end. He deserved every good thing in the world, and we are all shocked and deeply saddened to have lost him."
Grad student was preparing
for new life
Brian Bluhm was weeks away from earning his master's degree and starting a new life. He had accepted a job in Baltimore, where a brother and sister live, and looked for an apartment, friends said.
Bluhm, 25, earned a bachelor's in civil engineering from Virginia Tech and planned by early summer to complete his master's in water resources, said friend Ricky Castles, 25, a fellow graduate student and teaching assistant. Both belonged to the Baptist Student Union and were avid Hokie fans.
"He joked around a lot. He had a great sense of humor," said Castles, who lived four doors down the hall from Bluhm and taught some of the same introductory engineering classes. Castles says Bluhm was devoted to his faith and his friends.
One of his closest friends, Castles said, was Matt Gwaltney, who was attending the same advanced hydrology class Monday when shooting began.
Bluhm, born in Iowa, spent much of his childhood in Detroit where he became a staunch Tigers fan.
Beverly Keepers, his principal at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, said he graduated with honors from the magnet school. "He was a very quiet person but strong academically," she said.
She said he was "the kind of student parents would say, 'How lucky I am.' "
Washington Post Profile:
Brian Bluhm, who worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the school's Civil Engineering Department, was one of hundreds of would-be engineers at Virginia Tech. But he stood out to friends at the Baptist student union -- where he often hung out and did Bible study -- because of his wisecracking humor and his devotion to the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Detroit Tigers, friends said.
"We gave him hard times about things. He was such a Hokie fan, and always at every game. He had these bright orange pants he'd wear," recalled former classmate Angela Antonucci, 23, of Wellington, Fla. "They were bright orange. Like the kind of vest somebody would wear cleaning up litter on the side of the road -- that kind of orange."
"He was very full-spirited and very friend-spirited," she said.
A gifted student, Bluhm chose to pursue both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Virginia Tech -- first earning his undergraduate degree in civil engineering, then beginning work toward a master's in water resources.
"My main area of research is sustainability of water quantity using safe yield of a reservoir during a critical drought period," he wrote in a recent online biography for Virginia Tech.
He was a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a 2000 graduate of duPont Manual High School in Louisville, a magnet school widely considered to be the best public high school in the state. Even among his competitive peers, he stood out, a former teacher remembered.
"He was at the top level of a school of top students -- so, the top of the top," said Advanced Placement history teacher Glenn Taylor. Bluhm was a member of the National Honor Society and the school's rock climbing team.
Ricky Castles, another graduate student, said Bluhm was finishing up his thesis this spring and was getting ready to start a civil engineering job in Baltimore after graduation. He was auditing a class in advanced hydrology in Norris Hall when the attack occurred, Castles said.
-- Annie Gowen, The Washington Post
of Higher Education Profile:
Brian R. Bluhm’s friends say he always wore a smile on his face and a Detroit Tigers cap on his head.
Mr. Bluhm, 25, was a graduate student in civil engineering who had earned an undergraduate degree in the same subject at Virginia Tech. He was studying water resources and had planned to take a job in Baltimore after finishing his master’s degree this semester.
Mr. Bluhm was an avid Tigers fan, and his death was announced at the stadium before the team’s game on April 17 against the Kansas City Royals. Curtis Granderson, the Tigers’ starting center fielder, paid tribute to Mr. Bluhm in a blog entry. On Mr. Granderson’s MySpace Web page, the player said that he would leave Mr. Bluhm among his list of “top friends” on the site as a small tribute.
Mr. Bluhm spent several years living outside of Detroit as a child, though he was born in Iowa and attended high school in Louisville, Ky.
At Virginia Tech, he was active in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Darrell Cook, the campus minister for the group at Virginia Tech, says the conversations he had with Brian usually revolved around one of three topics: academics, his faith in God, or the Detroit Tigers.
“He was passionately invested in all three,” Mr. Cook writes in an e-mail message, “but usually the Tigers would bring out that passion the quickest.”
Mr. Cook said that Mr. Bluhm was often quiet in groups but had a “playful side,” too. Mr. Bluhm was “shocked,” Mr. Cook says, when he learned that the minister’s children had never seen one of his favorite television programs, The Muppet Show
So Mr. Bluhm insisted on lending the Cook family his DVD of the first season of the show, Mr. Cook says, and “Brian was an instant hero to my kids.”
Avid Tigers fan among the dead
at Virginia Tech
The Tigers were among those who lost a friend in Monday's horror at Virginia Tech. In their case, the friend, Brian Bluhm, was more like family.
Bluhm, 25, was to graduate in two weeks with a master's degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech. He died Monday during a shooting rampage that took the lives of 31 other Virginia Tech students and faculty.
Tigers fans with an Internet connection knew Bluhm as a thoughtful and prolific writer who was a member of the Motownsports.com Web site. Bluhm, who lived in Troy as a child, had posted almost 35,000 times over the past five years -- most of them "game threads" in which fans engage in conversations about the latest game.
"The online community is hard for people to understand," said Alan Chichester, 26, of Swartz Creek, an engineer for Consumers Energy who had been part of countless online chats with Bluhm. "But when it came to the Tigers, there was no one more passionate or more intelligent about the Tigers, and no greater guy, than Brian."
"When you're hanging on every pitch and every at-bat for multiple summers, you do grow close to these people."
The Tigers chat-room family was worried Monday when word broke there had been mass shootings on the Blacksburg, Va., campus. Motownsports.com "posters" began flooding Bluhm with requests to report all was well.
Chichester left a message on Bluhm's dormitory phone.
When a man who might post a dozen or more submissions in a given day, particularly during baseball season, failed to respond, the concern turned to dread. By late Monday night, word had been received by way of the MySpace Web site niche occupied by his sister, Angela, that Brian was dead.
Dan Calabrese, a freelance writer from Grand Rapids and another Motownsports.com regular, said Bluhm's passion and intellect were extraordinary.
"I'm 40 and have followed the Tigers all my life, and I didn't know half what he did," said Calabrese, explaining that Bluhm had been pivotal in putting together a decade-by-decade Tigers Hall of Fame for the Web site. "He was not a casual fan -- he was a serious fan. He made a point of being deeply knowledgeable about everything that mattered to him."
Bluhm's attachment to the Tigers mystifies even those who knew him intimately from the Web site chats, although it is believed that the 1980s Tigers, who would have been prominent at the time a young boy developed his love for baseball, best explained his affection.
Bluhm's last occasion to watch the Tigers play came last Wednesday at Camden Yards in Baltimore. His chat-room friends are left with the happy thought that Bluhm was on hand when Craig Monroe's 12th-inning grand slam gave Detroit the victory.
The Tigers had a moment of silence before their game Tuesday, for the victims at Virginia Tech and mentioned specfically "lifelong Tiger fan Brian Bluhm."
Those who knew him say his favorite player on the 2007 Tigers team was Curtis Granderson, who listed Bluhm No. 1 on his "friends" list on Granderson's My Space site.
"He just loved the quiet, methodical, good players like Granderson," Chichester said Tuesday. "It probably fit Brian's personality a little bit. His favorite player of all time was Charlie Gehringer (late Tigers Hall of Fame second baseman).
"Maybe," Chichester said with a pained whimper, "he got his chance yesterday to meet Charlie."
By Lynn Henning
April 17, 2007
Virginia Tech Magazine
Brian Roy Bluhm was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on July 19, 1981. His family moved to Detroit, Mich., in 1984 and then to Louisville, Ky., in 1990. He graduated secondary school at duPont Manual in Louisville and then earned his bachelor of science in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in December 2004.
While Brian was serving as a teacher’s assistant and earning his master's degree at Tech, he focused on water resources, and his main area of research was sustainability of water quantity using safe yield of a reservoir during a critical drought period. He was also interested in hydrology, hydraulic structures, and water resources planning/law.
Brian was a member of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Baptist Collegiate Ministries, among other organizations. His thirst for knowledge was endless and his interests were wide-ranging. His first love was for God, and his relationship with Him was shown through his kindness, his warm smile, memorable laugh, and his friendliness with everyone he met. He loved his family and his friends.
Growing up, Brian had a strong passion for sports, particularly baseball. His favorite team was the Detroit Tigers, which he studied and analyzed throughout his life, even when the regular season was over. He was a regular poster on the Motownsports.com message board and several other boards. Brian also had a passion for learning, particularly music, history, nature, and animals.
Brian loved Virginia Tech sports, especially football and basketball. He showed up for games in Virginia Tech colors to show his support.
Brian had passed the first section of his Professional Engineer exam and had recently accepted a position to join an engineering firm, Hatch Mott MacDonald, in Hunt Valley, Md., He was preparing to move to an apartment in the Baltimore Metro area in June.
Brian would want to be remembered for his love of God, family, and friends, the Detroit Tigers, and Virginia Tech. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.
Through the Virginia Tech Foundation, the Brian Roy Bluhm Memorial Scholarship has been established at Virginia Tech in his memory. For more information and/or to donate to this memorial fund, see VT's Hokie Spirit Memorial Funds page.