Amherst Magazine
Brent R. Lindberg '75

Brent Lindberg, fifty-three, passed away in Portland, OR, on October 21, 2006, eleven months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Brent grew up in the St. Louis area, graduating from Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, where he excelled in debate.  Arriving at Amherst in fall 1971, he discovered WAMH in the basement of Pratt Dormitory and enjoyed volunteering there as a DJ and construction hand.  In spring 1972, he joined Phi Delta Sigma and lived in the fraternity house (now Newport House) from sophomore year through graduation.  Always the voice of reason and moderation—and noticeably more mature than most of us—he held several fraternity offices and was president in his senior year.

Tinkering with automobiles and other things mechanical came easily to Brent.  He returned to Amherst from Christmas vacation one year thrilled by the gift of a torque wrench, as it enabled him to handle more challenging car repairs.  He took charge of Phi Delt’s bar-tap system and successfully nursed the iconic, aging, tube-based Seeburg jukebox through several maladies.

Brent graduated magna cum laude, majoring in history.  His senior thesis, on canal-building and coal mining in eighteenth century Britain, was a highly original work that melded his interests in European history, technology, and economics.

After Amherst, Brent enrolled in the Univ. of Chicago law school, graduating in 1978.  His professional career began with the New York law firm of Breed, Abbott & Morgan.  Within a few years, he gravitated to finance, joined GATX Capital Corporation, and relocated to San Francisco.  At GATX, he worked in project finance, equipment leasing, and venture development, rising to senior vice president in 2000.  In 2005, he joined Oxford Finance Corporation, a specialty finance firm serving the biotechnology industry, to lead its expansion in Europe.

While in law school, Brent married Nadean Davis (Smith ’75); they celebrated their thirtieth anniversary last September.  Together they had two children, Sarah and Will, now nineteen and fifteen, respectively.  From the mid 1980s until summer 2006 they made their home in the beautiful hills of Orinda, CA.  Always gracious and generous hosts, Brent and Nadean would drop everything when Amherst friends came to visit.

Brent was a natural teacher, and he sometimes mused that the life of an academic historian would have suited him well.  The role of parent, however, gave him abundant opportunities to apply his teaching skills and to impart his love of learning.  Brent was deeply devoted to his family, and he took great delight in his children’s growth and accomplishments.

In recent years, Brent faced daunting health challenges.  While jogging with his daughter on Father’s Day in 2004, he experienced cardiac arrest but was revived by a quick response from the Orinda firehouse.  An implanted defibrillator saved his life in three subsequent cardiac episodes.

Brent approached his cancer diagnosis with characteristic curiosity and determination.  Aided by his knowledge of the biotech field, he researched treatment options and enrolled in an aggressive drug-treatment trial.  Between rounds of chemotherapy, he maintained a punishing schedule of intercontinental business travel, striving to close deals that would help secure his family’s financial future.

When two of us visited Brent and his family in March 2006, he seemed in good spirits.  Medical tests had hinted that the cancer might be coming under control.  A day trip to the wineries of Sonoma afforded us many opportunities to raise the glass in appreciation of our friendship and time at Amherst.  It was good to experience again his warmth, honesty, booming voice, and easy laughter.

In late summer, with the disease taking a greater toll, Brent and Nadean moved to Portland to be closer to their extended family.  Brent died at home under the care of hospice.  The family suggests that friends wishing to honor Brent’s life consider a donation to Amherst.

—Mike Reid ’75
—Eric Remelmeyer ’75
—Steve Clark ’75

 

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