Bruce ASID photo
Bruce James Brigham
  • 63 years old
  • Date of birth: Feb 4, 1951
  • Date of passing: Jul 8, 2014
Let the memory of Bruce be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Bruce Brigham, 63, born on February 4, 1951 and passed away on July 8, 2014. We will remember him forever.

Please leave tributes to Bruce here, and stories and memories of him under the "stories" tab.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by jan ambrose on 5th February 2016

"I love you forever Bruce.  I miss my best friend very much and I always will.  There's no one on this earth like you. Love always, Jan"

This tribute was added by Scott Harrison on 4th February 2016

"Thinking of you on your birthday

Charlie Scott Harrison"

This tribute was added by jan ambrose on 5th September 2015

"Fall is in the air Bruce and I miss you with all of my heart. Memories of our beautiful times together keep me putting one foot in front of the other.  I'm so alone without you but I feel your presence.  Thank you.

All my love forever, Jan"

This tribute was added by jan ambrose on 9th July 2015

"I miss you today as much as I did when you left.  I will never stop loving you. the world is different without your beautiful spirit.  you're in my heart and soul forever and I feel your presence Bruce. what a beautiful life we shared."

This tribute was added by Barbara Sauerbrey on 9th July 2015

"The world was a better place for friends, and for design,
with you among us.

We will meet again.

Barbara"

This tribute was added by Peter Brigham on 8th July 2015

"I miss you, Bruce."

This tribute was added by Christine Suzuki on 9th February 2015

"Bruce, you were too young to leave this world.  However, I feel in my heart that you are in a place full of love and joy.  Happy Birthday!"

This tribute was added by Katherine Vaughan on 5th February 2015

"I'll never forget Bruce, and wonderful memories of the Brigham family when we were Seattle neighbors....Love to all..."

This tribute was added by Barbara Sauerbrey on 4th February 2015

"Thinking of you very fondly, Bruce."

This tribute was added by Katherine Vaughan on 14th October 2014

"My earliest and fondest memory of Bruce is from elementary school days, when he joined our third- or fourth-grade class at John Muir School in Seattle. Probably because of his smarts and international education, he was placed with us despite being a year younger. I have this crystal-clear memory of the "new boy" with the English accent, clad in shorts and blazer (and kneesocks too, if memory serves), easily holding his own by dint of an outsized personality, easy laugh, and zest for life. What a pistol he was then, and so clearly remained during his life. I send my sincerest condolences to Jan, Peter, Denise, and Georges for the loss of a dear husband, son, and brother.  -- With love always, Kath (Burns) Vaughan"

This tribute was added by Scott Harrison on 15th August 2014

"Bruce and the Brigham family(Peter, Denise & Georges);
My sibs(Chris, Cheryl & Chad) and I remember roller-skating in your folks attic at 3708 42nd Ave S. We are the Harrisons from 43rd Ave S. Miss you all and especially Bruce who was one of my closest early childhood pals. God's Blessings and RIP"

This tribute was added by Peter Brigham on 24th July 2014

"Bruce's long-time colleague, Josh Sellers, wrote this to Jan shortly after Bruce died.

--------------

Bruce was a Character.

As a kid, I always looked at Bruce as a great big, powerful guy that I could not understand his "Vibe" or style. He just had this way of knowing so much cool stuff and bringing the fresh perspectives to our little red-neck/ hippie/ K2 factory workers getting by on Vashon Island. He intimidated me a bit - he was just so different than anyone I had been introduced to in my 7 years of life.

I remember the house in Ellisport - the Cedar wood paneling - and a great painting on the wall that had colorful animals, people in a surreal jungle setting, and Bruce trying to explain the story behind it. He was very animated and passionate in telling me the story behind it. This would be the first introduction of a passion for great design... how would I know what it would lead me in to much later down the road!

I remember the house on the beach, toward the south-end of the island, and the infamous cherry-bomb that ignited the huge bag of indian reservation fireworks that cleared everyone off the roof of the boat-house we were perched on, within seconds. Bruce was just calm and cool - laughing but making sure everyone was okay and taking charge to set up the remaining fireworks show on the beach, a place with better places to run from any more accidents.

I remember living with you guys for a while in that cool place on Lake Washington - just down from the Central District (where my good friends were!). - The hours upon hours of cable TV I'd consume, and the piles of crumbs from Wheat-Thins I'd leave behind in your bed. Bruce would always just come in and ask "you need anything?". I still could not understand his "Vibe" and his energy and how passionate he would speak about… anything. He had his opinion, and had the character to stick with his opinion.

As a kid, I never knew what Character meant - aside from a literal meaning to a kid - a cartoon "character" - later in life I'd define it as someone that stands out, someone who is their own and not a copy of anyone or anything else.

Later, when I left the nest of Vashon and to downtown Seattle with no money for shopping and no friends, you and Bruce would have me come down to the boat and hang out for the weekend, and feed me pan cakes. Bruce would give me a few chores to help him re-apply paint on the top deck. I thought that was so cool - here I am, I get to help that big powerful guy that kind of intimidated me as a kid, with his booming voice and larger than life character, and I get to actually help him out! Even at 20 years old, I was pretty excited to hang out with him.

Art School rolled around, and of course I had to talk to the one designer I knew - that big character - Bruce. WOW! if only I had known what I know now, the power and intellect of the man I was asking the most entry-level and asinine questions to. But, Bruce took the time and helped to answer my questions - and later he would allow me to come to the Planet Retail office to get some prints done on their fiery printer, and annoy his graphic designers, mainly Rich Tugade, with questions and peering over his shoulder to look at the work he was doing.

Bruce would look at my school work and give me tips and pointers - with me not having any idea how much work he was doing already in the office and running a company full of gay politics!

I went off to San Francisco to finish art school and eventually move on to China for a year, coming back thinking I was pretty cool - International design, I know the China market, I know digital, blah blah blah… I came back to Seattle, and couldn't get a job in design. I still lacked a lot of experience, though I didn't see it that way. I think I even chased Bruce for an internship, but by then he parted ways with Planet Retail and was freelancing. I kept on with fine art and graphics jobs on the side, and went back to the insurance company. I kept Bruce's advice to not give up and keep making stuff.

Bruce came to me a couple years after my return from China, with a free-lance opportunity to make shopping bag designs for TSL. And, I got to work a bit with Rich Tugade! Man, things were looking up! Here, I get to work with BRUCE and RICH! At this point, in my little experience, I started to see a bit of how powerful Bruce's senior experience was… but really, I still had no idea the immense resource and professional experience I was working with.

Bruce later introduced me to Tommy (insert fart noise) and William, and opened the door for me to get back in the saddle of design - and still not knowing what pedigree was ahead of me.
I took the job in Hong Kong… and boy was I really excited to actually be directly working with Bruce! How in the f'n hell did I manage that!?  I was intimidated again though… I still could not shake that "vibe" that left me perplexed as a kid. But I had the maturity at this point to know to just shut up and listen, learn and do my best to appease thy Creative Director!

7 years of logo designs, ad layouts, photoshoots, web projects, internal pitches, elevations, image editing, heated debates about how to dispose of Cherry Lau's corpse and how to sell her hair to North Korea, literally 1000's of pages of documents Bruce would write about BRAND, BRAND SCREENS, BRAND PERSPECTIVES, BRAND HIERARCHY, BRAND POSITIONING, BRAND IMAGE, BRAND STORY, BRAND, BRAND BRAND… Brand summit meetings at the hotel over champagne and green olives, sprinting in the Hong Kong summer heat to keep up with his excited pace, as we picked apart other retail brands... not to see what they were doing wrong - but what they were doing right!, and seeing it all come together and what it all meant in the end. Bruce put so much trust and faith in me professionally… and I always have looked at it as what Bruce did for me professionally.

And here I sit on a fast moving train to the office, to my design team that I run, and that I teach and preach BRAND, professionally. I channel Bruce in every meeting. I make my designers go out and run after me as we go in to retail environments and we pick the brand apart to see what they are doing right.

I finally get that Vibe. I get that Character that I could never figure out.

The Character of Bruce was BOLD, loud, well put together, and well thought out for the Up-sell. The Character of Bruce was a BRAND. His design is just as bold as his character. Every one of his designs has a consistency and was well thought out to be open enough for an up-sell - an evolution. Bruce's Character is in his designs, and his designs are his Character.

I was intimidated by Bruce's Character because I needed to build my own identity and Character. I needed to have a solid opinion based on experience and humility. I learned this from Bruce with out him telling me. He just directed me in to this, like a great creative director that sees the whole picture. And the whole thing, that I saw for so long as "professionally" - was built personally on trust and love from Bruce. I am so lucky to have had Bruce in my life. The words still cannot capture what he did for me and the love he showed me. And behind Bruce is you, Jan. You're so amazing. You inspired Bruce's creativity and love. Thank you. I love you very much.   -josh"

This tribute was added by Loraine Rogers on 22nd July 2014

"I am still stunned that one so vibrant a man full of life and energy has been taken from us.  I did not know he was ill before Jan contacted me right before he passed.  I still find it hard to believe.  

Bruce sat on the chapter board of ASID Washington State chapter when I was hired as the new "temporary" administrator in 1990.  I remember that he had a way of listening to a basic idea, processing the thought, expounding on it  and making it 100 percent bigger and brighter than its original conception.  

It still stuns me that I won't again pick up the phone one day soon and hear his voice, talking like I had seen him last week.  

I am so happy he and Jan were able to enjoy their time together, and he was still able to jet around the world to pursue his chosen profession.  

May his family and friends find comfort in the wonderful tributes and stories shared here and recently published about him."

This tribute was added by pat mcdonnell on 20th July 2014

"So many wonderful memories of Bruce during our time as next door neighbors at Playa Las Tortugas.   Kind, generous, and fun friends,  
our time there with Jan and Bruce will always hold a special place.
Among my fondest memories of Bruce was of an afternoon spent floating down the nearby estuary during a strong tide and sharing
laughs and giggles as if we were 12 with not a care in the world. I can still see your face, Bruce, filled with pure joy. Much love."

This tribute was added by John Seakwood on 20th July 2014

"I am heartbroken…

For now, all I can manage is this very old poem by Li Po, "Taking Leave of a Friend"

Blue mountains to the north of the walls, 

White river winding about them;

Here we must make separation 

And go out through a thousand miles of dead grass.

Mind like a floating white cloud,                      
Sunset like the parting of old acquaintances

Who bow over their clasped hands at a distance. 

Our horses neigh to each other 
as we are departing."

This tribute was added by Joanie Seakwood on 18th July 2014

"Although he seems to be gone, we are surrounded by him in our lovely house that he expertly designed...
-and by the memories of magical guided journeys he took us on up Desolation Sound on Galatea and Legendary...
-and the two amazing homes he built in Mexico and the fun times we had there...
-by so many memories of the long and close friendship between him and John...
- and the four of us together, sharing music, movies and stories of travel, work and play...
-and the comfort and fun of his inspiring friendship.
My deepest sympathy to dear Jan and all of Bruce's loving family."

This tribute was added by Mary Ramsey on 18th July 2014

"The first time we met Bruce in San Carlos, we loved his quiet, humble spirit, his obvious love for Jan and his affection for Teddy & Nico. Just a sweet, wonderful guy. It was a privilege to know him. Love to you and your family, Jan.   ~Mary & Grace"

This tribute was added by lindsay ray on 17th July 2014

"Richard and I can only echo these tributes by adding how honored we feel to have known Bruce,a brilliant and inspirational artist.
He and Jan (Mama 2) came out to Colorado in our darkest hour demonstrating their love for our son Jamie and their compassion for us.
No-one compares to you, Bruce. We'll always love you!"

This tribute was added by Lynn Moran on 15th July 2014

"We are so sad about Bruce.  I remember the day I met Jan when she came to work at Associated Grocers.  Bruce would stop by the office.  What a perfect couple.  He was such an interesting, humble man with a sparkle in his eyes!   Always showed interest in everyone and asked questions and made sure you were having fun.  I remember Jan's 50th and how Bruce treated her as a Queen - in fact he treated all of us that way on her special day.  Bruce made us feel like we were special and important - he certainly had a gift.  I loved how he and Jan laughed.  He truly loved Jan and my heart breaks that she has lost her soul mate and I feel so honored to have been included in their lives.  Bruce will be missed by so many.  Our deepest condolences to Jan, your family and even the furry kids.  Love Bob and Lynn"

This tribute was added by Elvira Oliden Garcia on 15th July 2014

"mi querido bruce llegaste a mi vida como un angel , siempre me senti protegida y querida por ti y mi querida jan  te quiero mucho y tu partida a sido muy triste para mi hija y para mi por siempre estaras en nuestro corazon y ahora tenemos un angel  que de donde este nos cuidara"

This tribute was added by Christine Suzuki on 15th July 2014

"Bruce, you have been a charismatic, kind and inspirational leader in ASID, in the design field and in LIFE.  You led by example and demonstrated to us how to live life to the fullest.  You will be missed by people throughout the world-all of us have been touched by your spirit. God bless you."

This tribute was added by Cherie Smith on 13th July 2014

"When I lived in Mexico Bruce left his car at my place to fly to Japan. When he came back it was Christmas time and he was so excited to bring Jan a new purse. Bruce and Jan helped me move out of a bad situation when I lived in Puerto Vallarta. He came to my house and helped me pack my van so I could drive back to Seattle. .They are both my Heroes beside being cousins..

My Mother was so happy that Jan had met Bruce and where married. She thought he was so wonderful and would be good to Jan. He helped my parents remodel their house. Mom was so grateful to him for the job he did. He was always so happy to see the Smith family."

This tribute was added by Barbara Sauerbrey on 13th July 2014

"I was privileged to work with Bruce in the Washington State Chapter of ASID.
One of my fondest memories of him was a day following a meeting in Florida when all the other ASIDers went to Epcot or Disneyworld, but Bruce and I opted for Cape Canaveral,  We rented a car, and had a wonderful experience together.
He was an outstanding designer and friend."

This tribute was added by barbara marini on 13th July 2014

"I met Bruce probably at the same time as Michael at an ASID Board training...we were newbies then and watched Bruce with admiration. This came to light when in one of our infamous conversations about "branding" and what the traveling ASID booth should look like, Bruce whips out a pad of paper, a Sign pen and in about 30 seconds, shows an amazing sketch and says "THERE!" It's not that tough!  Great talent and vision, always respectful of people and interested in what they had to say. He will be missed."

This tribute was added by John Wise on 13th July 2014

"Bruce was a fine man with humor and kindness. the world is smaller without him."

This tribute was added by Felicia Dale on 12th July 2014

"Bruce, I have no words to express how sad I am that you are gone... but you know how I feel anyway.
See you on the other side.
xo
Felicia."

This tribute was added by Kris Ladau on 12th July 2014

"I was very blessed to meet Bruce and Jan in San Carlos, Mexico.  I loved him the first time we met, and shared many special birthday's and holiday's with the two of them.  Bruce was so vibrant, intelligent and humble.  He was always positive, and inspired me through a very difficult time.  He will always be my hero.  Love always........."

This tribute was added by Michael A. Thomas on 12th July 2014

"I can clearly remember the first time I met Bruce, at an ASID board training meeting, nearly a decade ago.  With a deep resounding voice, sparkling eyes, quite a robust laughter, and a savvy and vision well beyond many of his peers, I knew he would be dynamic as the President of the Society.  And he was.  •  The last time I saw Mr. B was at his ASID "president's roast" where so many colleagues and friends honored him for his service to ASID. Despite his illness, that wonderful voice and laughter was still just as captivating as was the first time we met.  But it was his sparkling eyes that still shone thru despite his physical challenges and that I will always remember."

This tribute was added by Earlina Miller on 12th July 2014

"I met the lovely man named Bruce and his lovely bride Jan while working at the Ballard Q.F.C. They would come thru my check out lane both together and separately!!!! He was such a nice, kind and very funny guy!!! And of course Jan & I hit it of due to our smart Aleck sense of humor!!!!! I could always always see the Love they had for one another....just by the way they looked at each other!!! I sure did miss seeing them after they moved away!!!! However I did get to see them briefly while I was down in Sayulita!!!! How blessed were they to have spent 30 beautiful years together!! I'm sorry for our loss here on earth, but I truly believe in Angels!!!"

This tribute was added by Peter Brigham on 11th July 2014

"Here is the obituary that will appear in the Seattle Times on Sunday, July 13, 2014.

----------

Acclaimed international designer and former Seattle area resident
Bruce J. Brigham dies at 63


Bruce J. Brigham, an acclaimed interior designer whose credits include everything from a makeover of Cartier stores worldwide to the short-notice revamp of a Seattle hotel suite for the Sultan of Brunei, has died in Boise, Idaho. He was 63.

The cause was cerebellar ataxia, said Jan Ambrose, his wife of 30 years.

Brigham was a pioneer in retail branding and design and won numerous awards for his work. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Interior Designers and served as president of the ASID National Board of Directors in 2009. He appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and wrote for several design and marketing magazines. He was involved in the addition of 150,000 square feet of retail space to the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and design of a 105,000 square-foot waterfront resort and casino for the Lummi Indian Nation. Brigham’s design talents were applied to the makeover of 180 Cartier boutiques around the world and store redesigns for Hong Kong-based TSL Jewellery, the largest jewelry company in China.

One of Brigham’s noteworthy Pacific Northwest efforts was revamping the penthouse suite of the Alexis Hotel in Seattle for a visit from the Sultan of Brunei. Brigham reportedly had 48 hours to do the job – and was given an unlimited budget and access to the Seattle Art Museum’s collection, said his cousin, Adrienne Robineau.  Brigham’s design and renovation of the Seattle Supersonics Courtside Club was also widely acclaimed.

Bruce James Brigham was born Feb. 4, 1951, in Sona-Bata, Belgian Congo – now the Democratic Republic of Congo – where his father was a representative for a New York export company. The family moved to the United States when Brigham was 2 months old. He graduated from New Trier West High School in Winnetka, Illinois, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Art and Architectural History from Williams College.

He moved to Vashon Island after college and worked as a carpenter before becoming involved in design and branding. He met Ambrose on the island in 1984. They were married Oct. 11, 1986.

Brigham was managing principal of Planet Retail Studios – an international brand development and design company based in Seattle – before opening his own consulting firm. He designed and supervised more than 400 projects.

Brigham was known for his love of jazz. Avid boaters, he and Ambrose lived aboard their 49 foot Alaskan trawler and often cruised the San Juan Islands and Canada’s Gulf Islands and particularly loved Desolation Sound. He and Ambrose moved to Mexico in 2001 and Brigham designed and built homes for the couple in Turtle Beach – north of Puerto Vallarta – Sayulita and, most recently, San Carlos. They moved to the Boise area to be closer to family a few years ago as his illness became more serious.

Brigham died July 8 in Boise with his wife, and his best friend, John Seakwood, at his side.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Betsy, in 1996. He is survived by his wife, Jan Ambrose; his father, Georges Brigham; sister Denise Morocco; brother Peter Brigham; stepsons Peter Clark and Tom Clark; brother-in-law Stephen Morocco; sisters-in-law Penny Brigham, Kelly Ambrose, Laurie Ambrose and Lisa Ambrose; six grandchildren; five nephews and six nieces.

The family suggests memorial donations in Brigham’s name go to the American Society of Interior Designers Foundation (http://www.asidfoundation.org/CONTRIBUTE.html). Arrangements for a private service are pending."

This tribute was added by terry davis on 11th July 2014

"Bruce was our daughter Stephanie's first boss at Planet Retail when she relocated to Seattle from Ithaca, NY in the mid 1990's! Bruce was kind and inspirational and a great mentor for Stephanie. We met Bruce several times on visits to Seattle, and found him to be so welcoming and friendly! He instantly made a huge impression and thus we are so sorry to learn of his passing! Our thoughts and our blessings are with his family at this very difficult time! RIP Bruce. Terry and Duane Davis, Ithaca, NY."

This tribute was added by Fosshage Judy on 10th July 2014

"Bruce was a wonderfully brave and kind man whom will be missed by so many at ASID. His enthusiasm and passion for design lit up the room and his gentle leadership inspired us all. May you now be free from pain. Judy F."

This tribute was added by margie dettor on 10th July 2014

"What sad news to hear of Bruce's passing. I personally couldn't have imagined my time in Seattle any other way than working at PRS back when I knew next to nothing right out of design school...learning from such a charismatic Master of his craft. Bruce, thank you for leaving such a lasting and positive impression. After all, "Who remembers anything ordinary?" The answer of course, is no one. You will always be remembered. Love to your family, Margie (McNally) Dettor"

This tribute was added by Adrienne R on 9th July 2014

"Miss you cousin, hope you are free from pain and with your Mom in heaven, xo -A-"


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