Always With The Fish
Brian Jay Hirsty
  • 47 years old
  • Date of birth: Oct 30, 1966
  • Date of passing: Mar 10, 2014
Let the memory of Brian be with us forever
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Brian Hirsty, 47, born on October 30, 1966 and passed away on March 10, 2014. We will remember him forever.
Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Ian Rosen on 21st November 2017

"Dear Faye,
Thanks for the nice reply. Lots of love to you. Nice to read your messages here, and the ones from Amy and Brian's other friends too.


This tribute was added by Faye Hirsty on 7th September 2017

"Dear Ian,

Thank you for remembering my sweet son, Brian, and reminding me of those special and happy days when Brian was in Junior High.  Moving away was a big mistake; I should have stayed in Santa Monica where he was happy and had such nice friends.  But good and bad events followed and he loved working as a seafood chef.  Thanks again for  you kind words.

Faye Hirsty"

This tribute was added by Ian Rosen on 4th September 2017

"I knew Brian in the 7th and 8th grade, in Santa Monica, but lost touch with him after that (he must have moved away, or transferred to a different school). I always remember his warm, mischievous personality.

I looked him up on the internet, and was very happy to see he was doing well, working as a chef, and was fulfilled in what he did. I meant to visit the Bluewater Grill and say hello, but hadn't gotten around to doing so. In the meantime, it was nice to see some interviews with him on youtube. Just seeing him standing there, talking in his distinctive way, smiling that warm smile, brought back a lot of memories.

Looked him up again and was surprised and saddened to see he had passed away. Brian, I'll always remember your sense of humor and niceness, and will  think of you when I'm at a seafood restaurant, enjoying a good meal. I'll also think of you when reminiscing about going to junior high school, being kind of scared in a new environment and making friends with nice people.

Great to see a tribute here. Thanks for putting it up.

Heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Brian's loved ones."

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 12th August 2017

"You must know when we talk about you.
I can feel your energy.
You must know when I need you.
I find the hearts you leave.
You also must know when I need to stop for a moment.
I take pictures of those moments.
You also must know how much we miss you here.
My tears are proof of that.

Amy Hirsty

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 2nd June 2017

"Your son Dylan James Hirsty.
I miss you so much father. Every second I'm always thinking of you. Today I'm living for you and Mom. Without you two I wouldn't be the man I am today.  The tears and pain I hold inside can't define how much I want you home. Your such amazing person i love you so much and always miss you daddy. Your beautiful son Dylan Hirsty."

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 1st June 2017

"Daddy, I miss you so much,everyday there are no words, memories and thoughts can't even say how much you mean to me. Everyday is hard and sad sometimes. I don't even want to try, but thinking of you makes me stronger. I love you and miss you so much. I think about you every second of the day. People will never understand how much you were to me. I can't think one second without knowing your not here by my side.
Your son Dylan James Hirsty
         I love you forever"

This tribute was added by Jim U on 10th March 2017

"I think of Brian everyday when I pass the cemetary he is buried in when I drive Frank & Ella to school...I sometimes say to the kids "Say Hi to Brian".  We all miss him so much and thank him for his friendship and all he did for me and for Bluewater Grill!"

This tribute was added by Faye Hirsty on 29th October 2016

"Tomorrow my beautiful, precious, smart, talented son would have turned 50.  I got you, my brown-eyed pixie boy when I was thirty-five and you were the joy of my life.  Everything was funny to you; you loved to laugh and have fun.  You loved to ride your bike down to the ocean, you loved dogs and you were the most cuddly and loving boy I have ever known.  Grandpa Bernie loved to take you fishing.

If you had received the best medical care when you got sick, you might still be here with your loving wife, Amy, and you adoring son Dylan.  But we didn’t know; it happened so fast.  The chemo knocked out your immune system and in just a few days you were gone.

I know your soul is still around and watching over us.  My one out-of-body experience proves this to me.  Your soul still lives.

I remember how you used to draw perfect horses just from memory; but how could you remember?  You never had a horse.  Maybe those few weeks you spent at the Jameson Ranch in the summers, maybe that’s how you got to know horses. Or did you ride a horse in a former life?

Recently I went to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  One day early this month, while exploring Prague and learning all about the distant and recent history of those countries, I had a vision.  Suddenly a large image of you, like on a movie screen appeared.  I had to look upward to see you. You were very colorful and real.  You stood tall and beautiful wearing a very old fashioned costume with puffed sleeves, looking like a prince and smiling down on me. I could see you standing there smiling for a long time.  I need to find out which country had that style of clothing.

I remember meeting you at Vons grocery store in Santa Monica with a recipe, so we could buy the special ingredients and you would cook me a wonderful dinner.  You were just about ten.  We miss you very much and love you forever my dear son.

Your Loving Mom Forever"

This tribute was added by Helen Gatti on 30th October 2015

"Happy Birthday, Brian. Celebrate with Jerry Garcia. I miss you."

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 28th October 2015

"To the wonderful person that sponsored this web site so it can once again be used to remember Brian Hirsty,  THANK YOU!
That small act of kindness and selflessness is to commended.  Those qualities are very rare these days so God Bless your soul.
Again, thank you!"

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 3rd April 2015

"I still can not believe that your precious being is not with me.  Many days I can get through, but today is not one.  I need your hugs, your kisses, and your words of encouragement.  I need you to be by my side to tell me you have faith in us. I need your strength you gave so freely.  I need you.
Many people who have made statements of being here for us are no longer.  I understand life goes on, but they did not know what an impact you were on our world.  Had they seen the intimate world that was built behind the scenes they would understand my pain.  Without you I am incomplete.  I will never be whole again.  
This flower is for my deep love for you that will never go away.  So my pain will remain until the day you say I can come and be with you again."

This tribute was added by Joseph Warren on 14th March 2015

"I’m late in this brief tribute for one significant reason: I had no idea Brian had passed until one year after the fact. After more than one thousand ceremonies aboard various vessels one would probably conclude that I couldn’t recall them in any detail, but that’s not the fact. It’s not the superlative nature of my memory because from day-to-day I rarely remember my own phone number. Rather, it was Brian and Amy, themselves.

I had a long-standing relationship with the people at the Bluewater Grill from whom most catering came. This was in the “Old Days” when Jim U was young and so were the rest of us. It was a family of the highest sort and I was very pleased to be a part of it.

Brian was at the center of my everyday life aboard while parked in front of BWG on the Riverboat. His sense of humor; his robust vision of life; his willingness to take on challenges; his ability to contend with the whims and fancies of the multitude of brides; his innate intellectual flexibility and adaptability all made him a pleasure to work with.

Then, I met Amy some fairly distant time before conducting the service aboard: I understood. Amy and Brian were a couple woven from the same fabric and sewn tightly together like a broad, two-pieced quilt, providing each other with warmth and cohesion through life’s daily travails and joys.

I was crushed when Amy was able to reach me and convey the very sad news. I feel a loss for her. I feel loss for everyone who knew Brian, however intimately. And I have spent long periods of time meditating on Amy’s well being.

For now,

Joseph Warren, Captain (retired)"

This tribute was added by Jim U on 10th March 2015

"I can't believe it has been a year.  Not a day has gone by I have not thought about my dear friend Brian.  You were one of a kind and I feel blessed to have had you in my life.  We miss you and will remember you forever."

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 7th November 2014

"As I sit here wondering why I am left without the best thing that has ever happened to me I light a candle in your honor.  You will not be forgotten my love!"

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 1st November 2014

""I wish you were here with me, walking on the beach in Hawaii.
Laying in the golden sand, looking at the ocean, now I understand.
Love is like an open sea, and I wish you were hear with me,
On the beach in Hawaii.

Since you've been gone away, I think about you everyday,
Don't you know I miss you much, and you know I need your touch.
I'm on a rocky cliff, oh I wish you were here with me,
On the beach in Hawaii!

A little pakalolo, and I say mahalo,
ujjayi breathing, to get a real feeling,
Yogi gonna let you know,
That I wish you were here with me
On the beach in Hawaii
In Hawaii!"

"Beach in Hawaii"
     Ziggy Marley

I will remember that day when happiness was in abundance and love was honored in the most precious way possible.  I loved you then, I loved you through sickness and health,  richer or poorer, and still today.  I cherish you always.  

Forever your wife,
Amy Lynn"

This tribute was added by judy and Ron Hirsty on 31st October 2014

"Today Brian would have turned 48..............he was too young to have died.  I still think of him as the little boy I met when he was 8.  He was such a sweet boy, that never changed.  I can remember spending much time on the phone with him concocting meals.  He started his cooking career at a very young age.  Little did I know that he would go on to be a successful executive chef!  Oh how he loved his work.  When we would see him of course we would talk food. We miss you Brian."

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 30th October 2014

"A candle to remember you on this October 30th your birthday.  You would be 48 today honey.  I celebrate in your honor with a toast to you.  Happy Birthday my love."

This tribute was added by Jim U on 7th October 2014

"Brian Jay Hirsty Eulogy  

Thank you Rabbi Rachlis.  Your words bring great comfort to all of us.  

For those of you that do not know me, I am Jim Ulcickas. I was blessed to spend the last 18 years working with Brian “elbow to elbow”.   He liked to say that because people work in a restaurant kitchen, side by side, which is how Brian and I have been since we met.   Aside from his family, few people had the pleasure of spending more time with Brian than me.  If you know me, that makes Brian a Saint!  


I met Brian, when he walked in to our lives when Rick Staunton and I started Bluewater Grill.  He was bright-eyed, ambitious, and,
he was unlike every other person we interviewed,
he was accomplished, gentle and unassuming.
He was also skinny!
We asked him to join our team on the spot.  


He loved to say that he was the only skinny chef you could trust!  I can see that day in July 1996, vividly in my mind, when he turned the corner and walked onto the dock in Newport.  We sat at Table 34.  It was a very lucky day for us.  We hired a great Chef and he grew to become an incredibly close friend, confidant and a major contributor to our success.  
His life was not supposed to end this soon.  None of us believes he won’t walk right back into our lives, with that quirky gait of his, like he did ours, that day.  
We already miss him so much it hurts.  
But Brian would be the first to say, “the show must go on”.

We lived through over 5,000 shifts together, and at countless special events, and restaurant openings.  We also had some amazing fun “Bluewater” trips to Mexico, aboard Pilikia, to Catalina and Santa Ynez where all shared some laughs and just relaxed.  I calculated the number of guests we have served since 1996 and it is close to 8 million.  
That is a staggering number.
The amazing thing is, we seldom get any food complaints, and that is a credit to Brian and the team he built.  
He would always say he was only as good as the last plate served and that motivated him to make a difference every day.  Brian was so proud of the team he built.  He was loyal, perhaps to a fault, and always thought of everyone else before himself.

There are so many favorite moments that I shared with Brian. It is difficult to pick one, but I thought this one was particularly fun to share.  Brian was preparing for a party we were catering for a 50 year old bachelor (he was sort of a “pig”) and he designed a centerpiece. It was a spinning serving platter, sort of a decorative “lazy susan”.  It was a Luau theme with Kahlua Pork.  Brian decided we should roast a pigs head and place it in the middle of the platters and place the food around it.  I will never forget his face when he came up to me laughing hysterically and said to take a look in the oven.  He opened the oven and there they were…eight very large pigs heads,
Ears flapping in the wind created by the oven fan.  We laughed and laughed together at the site.  Needless to say the party was a huge hit.
What did Brian love and what was he most proud of?

He loved his family most of all…..
He loved his wife Amy and would share his deep affection for her with anyone that would listen.
Knowing Brian, if he could, he would apologize to you for putting you through the grief caused by his death.
He loved his mother Faye, and often spoke of how she loved him.  He was so proud that she would set-up events to promote Bluewater with her friends.
He was not religious, but he was proud of his Jewish heritage.  Whenever we would cater a party with smoked fish he would say, “I’m jewish and I know smoked fish, I make the best Schmear for bagels” ….and he did.  He made it for me all the time when I would ask.  Capers, red onion, cream cheese and a little lemon, I think…

He was so proud and excited on the day that his daughter Chelsi got her first job.  He was beaming with pride she was becoming independent and making a life for herself.  He was so optimistic you would find your way, Chelsi, and make him and Amy proud.

He loved his son Dylan and bragged about how tough and courageous he was.   He always said he wished he was half as tough as Dylan.  
The only time I ever saw Brian afraid was a few short weeks ago. He worried he might not be around, to be there for you, Dylan, and your mother.  I told him not to worry and that he would be fine… I wish that had been true.  If I could only take that back and tell him I loved him one more time.  

Brian loved fish.  Not just to cook.  He loved fishing and told stories of how he would fish from the Santa Monica pier when he was growing up or how he loved to go fishing with his family.  He also loved his aquarium fish and would often talk about his saltwater tanks.
He loved people most of all and he was a great judge of character.  He had a sixth sense of knowing who the good and bad guys were.  
He was particularly proud of teaching a trade, his trade, to countless numbers of people that worked for him.   The number of his staff that have worked with him for many years was proof he had good reason to be proud.

Did I say that Brian liked to talk?  

Well, if you knew Brian, he had the nervous habit of talking well after the conversation was over.  I think we will all miss that most of all.  It was a defining characteristic of Brian‘s and, in retrospect,  it was reassuring.  He must have hated silence.  Sometimes you would not notice it, and sometimes you would leave the room and not realize he was still talking, and then you would realize it and you would return until he finished. Sometimes not.  
My son said to me, when I got home from the hospital, the night Brian died, that he wished there was a phone in heaven so he could call and talk to Brian.  He said he would miss talking to Chef Brian and I agreed with him that, I would miss talking to him too.  We talked about everything personal and professional.  I know I am not the only one who did.  

What was Brian really good at in his professional life?

Of course he was a great chef but he was the king of multi-tasking.  He was a duck…calm and still on the surface but paddling furiously under the water.  Brian would not have it any other way….he would be prepping appetizers for a charity ball, and the drain would be clogged and he would need to call a plumber, the kitchen prep printers crash,
……he would just calmly grind it out…ALL IN A DAYS WORK…..
The restaurant business is relentless.  It is hard to explain the exhilaration that comes from surviving a busy shift and bathing in the exhaustion when it is over.  He would always say that what we do is “like working in an emergency room but nobody’s life is at stake”. Triage on table 4.
Opening restaurants and fine tuning them until they hum, so they crank out perfect orders, one thousand customers a day, NO PROBLEM. That is what we do, and he was the king.  
A cold coors light never tasted so good.  
And then you get up and do it again.            And again.                   And again.   And again.
At the end of every day, I think every man asks himself, “Have I made my wife and children proud? Did I make their worlds better?” He was a loving husband, father and son, and this is what gave meaning to Brian’s life.  

It is hard to believe Brian is gone. I expect him to come bounding in the door any minute, (it was more like a skipping gait), with his crisp white chef coat on, his red cap slightly askew with that sweet, innocent smile.  His body is here today laying in this coffin.  He has his Bluewater Chef coat on, his red hat in his folded hands, his Grateful Dead T-shirt and special family keepsakes with him.  His soul is in heaven and he lives on in our memories. He has probably already made a lot of friends up there, cooking for them, taking care of them and of course, talking to them…..  

I would like to read a poem called “Dying Young” that gives me solace in knowing Brian’s spirit will live on.


Sometimes its hard, to understand why
Someone so young, should have to die

No reasons are given, It just happens that way
There's nothing we can do, Nothing we can say

Our time here on Earth, we will transcend
We are not here forever, and life doesn't end

There is a place, where we all find peace
We will meet soon, when I come to cease

So don't dwell on death, For its not the end
Your Spirit is eternal, my dear, dear friend

Goodbye my dear friend Brian.  You are gone but you will be remembered by all of us. Thank you for all you gave to me and to Bluewater. Your memory lives on with the countless people that love you and whose lives you have touched.  Save a seat at the bar for me, Dear friend, until we meet again….
Vaya con dios.

(Hand-out at Door)
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye"

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 3rd October 2014

"The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained."

This tribute was added by Amy Hirsty on 30th September 2014

"You filled the world with special joy and happiness untold.
You always had a sunny way and a heart made of gold.
You made life so much brighter just by being thoughtful too.
And saying kind and helpful things was typical you.
That's why it's hard to face the world and know you won't be there.
Lighting up life so warmly with your smile beyond compare.
The memories you've left behind grow sweeter day by day.
But, you are MISSED my LOVED ONE more than words can say!"

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Amy Hirsty

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