Byran Marshall last spring.
Is it time for a group hug yet?
If it is everyone's desire to pass from this life doing something that brings joy in a place that is beautiful and serene, then Byran Marshall got his wish.
Byran, the advertising manager for the Uintah Basin Standard and Vernal Express, died Saturday while hiking solo near Stringham Cabin in the Ashley National Forest of an apparent heart attack. He was 54 years old.
Over the past four years the Vernal Express and the Uintah Basin Standard won numerous awards for unique selling ideas and ads that Byran's department originated or adapted to our standards. He also helped both newspapers out with his photography skills and interests.
Byran had talents that drew people from two formerly competing newspapers into consensus. His job was challenging - working with two different advertising staffs, production departments and layout specialists to help finance the success of the newspapers in the Basin. He was a level-headed participant in all of our planning and management meetings.
At work, Byran was a peacemaker who had a personality that made people feel comfortable. On more than one occasion when tensions were running high, he would ask if now would be a good time for a group hug, which would cause everyone to step back and smile.
For me, the hardest part of managing Byran was making sure that I addressed him as "Byran" and not "Brian," which is the more common of the two names. I apologized for calling him Brian and was able to nail his real name most of the time.
Byran did love his job, but his love for the out-of-doors was his real reason for coming to work each day.
When Byran moved to Utah from Indiana in 2007, he instantly fell in love with the larger than life mountains surrounding the Uintah Basin on the north and the deep canyons of the desert on the south. Flaming Gorge became a destination almost every weekend, with his love for hiking and photography getting him out in the early days and a love of fishing the Green River drawing him more and more during the past couple years.
This past winter Byran's years of fasting from skiing ended when he broke down and purchased a season pass at Park City and new skis. He spent as much time on the slopes as possible. He was a perfectionist in life and no different on the slopes. He would ski the same terrain run after run until he felt a certain level of achievement and then he would move on to something more difficult.
I believe that if you want a glimpse of a man's interests, take the memory card out of his camera and see what is there. For Byran there were photos of dog sledding and skiing, of river running and fishing. But the last ones were taken within a few hundred feet of where he passed away. They looked back toward the east on the trail he was hiking, and then off to the west.
Byran's memory card still had room for many more images, though it's hard to imagine that he lacked for memories created at work and at play.
We will miss Byran's work ethic and his humor. His absence has already created a void that will be hard to fill in our newspapers' offices.
Kevin Ashby is the publisher of the Uintah Basin Standard and the Vernal Express. (
Editors note: Byran Marshall was a force in all the papers owned by Brehm Commmunications in Utah. He was one of those that helped to start the Energy Profiles special that four of the five papers produce together each fall. The Sun Advocate and Emery County staffs will miss his wit, hard work, but most of all the wonderful human being that he was.)