James Brian Carusella passed peacefully, age 57, in Dallas, Texas, from a malignant brain tumor called a glioblastoma.
Brian was born in San Antonio to Yvonne and Louis Carusella. The family moved to Houston in the early ’80s. He attended Cypress Creek High School and earned a BA in Photography from Sam Houston State University, with an emphasis in Cinema.
Brian was an artist, collector, filmmaker, storyteller, lover of travel and unusual museums, historian, and writer. He excelled at living with limitless curiosity, exceptional kindness, a fantastic wit, and an easy laugh, making the world a little brighter for us all.
In the ’80s, while working in the Houston film scene, Tex Cobb celebratorily threw him in a pool, and he may have serendipitously introduced Rutger Hauer to pudding. In 1989 he began a career with Half Price Books, and except for a brief hiatus with a tech start-up, his book career (including a stint at the Houston Public Library) spanned over 30 years. Brian was a collector of books on almost every subject. He also collected curiosities, little-known facts, electronic parts, bad art from thrift stores, good art made by good friends, recipes, and tiny metal buildings. His collection of vintage children’s science books inspired his website Bizarrelabs, which led to extensive research and the writing of a book, Foxhole Radio, about radios made in the trenches during WWII and the servicemen who built them. He took great pride in his research, the opportunity to interview the veterans and record their stories.
Brian was an expert at listening, giving gifts, cooking, merry-making, playlists with songs you never heard before but instantly liked, and road trips. He had a love affair with roadside America and a T-shirt collection to match. His shirts told the story of who he was, what he enjoyed most, and where he’d been: From Monster Hunting in Fouke, Arkansas, to the Quartzite Yacht Club in Arizona, from the Snake Farm in New Braunfels, Texas, to the Moon Marble Co. in Bonner Springs, Kansas.
Brian also loved every pet he ever met, rock hyrax, sci-fi, B movies, The State Fair of Texas, clever dioramas, making things, junk shops, finding things, The Waffle House, getting together with old friends, making new friends , and cellars. Most especially he loved having adventures with his son, Henry. In November 2021, after 19 years, one kid, four cats, one dog, and seven chickens together, Brian and Anna eloped and made it “official” at the Harmony Wedding Chapel in Houston.
Brian wasn’t keen on daylight savings time, yard work, or clowns.
He is survived by his wife Anna, son, Henry, and father, Louis of Dallas, aunts, uncles, cousins, adoring family-in-law, HPB family, friends from all over the map, and the neighbor’s cat, Blue. Preceded by his mother, Yvonne Carusella, his cousin Jeff Denecamp and nine of the pets mentioned above.
One last road trip: A Memorial Service will be at the St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, 3364 Pierce St, Fayetteville, TX 78940 Cemetery in Fayetteville at 11 am Dress comfortably. A graphic t-shirt will work just fine.
The family encourages donations to a small quirky museum somewhere. May the stories of Brian’s many adventures always remind us to get out, take the scenic route, stop often, and document everything along the way. The family would also like to thank our wonderful friends and family for the outpouring of support through this journey and the staff at Doctor Fink’s office who took great care of him.
Published by Legacy Remembers on Aug. 29, 2022.