Late Residents Leave Lasting Mark Upon Brevard

By  //  January 1, 2013

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Prominent Brevard Residents Who Died In 2012


BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – A number of notable Brevard residents, leaders and unsung heroes left us in the past year, but their contributions to our community is endearing.

Here’s a look at some of the prominent Brevardians who passed in 2012.

Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Barbara Pill was shot and killed in the line of duty in March in Melbourne. (Image courtesy of Brevard County Sheriff’s Department)

Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Barbara Pill, 52. Shot and killed by a suspect in March in Melbourne during a stop for questioning about a motel robbery.

Former Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Abe Collinsworth, 76. Died in October in Orlando following a long career as a teacher, principal and eventually the superintendent of Brevard Public Schools.   

Cocoa Beach NKF Surf Festival Organizer Rich Salick, 62. Died in Orlando in July of kidney failure. Diagnosed with kidney disease in 1973, Sallick devoted his life to the National Kidney Foundation and helped co-create the largest surfing event on the Space Coast.

Army CWO 3 Brian Hornsby of Melbourne, 37. Died in August when the Black Hawk helicopter he was riding in crashed northeast of Kandahar in Afghanistan. 

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford of Palm Bay, 34. Died in July in Badghis province in Afghanistan while conducting combat operations.

Army SPC Justin L. Horsley of Palm Bay, 21. Died in July in Puli Alam in Afghanistan of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device.

Renowned tiki artist Wayne Coombs of Merritt island died in unexpectedly in September. He owned and founded Mai Tiki Gallery in Cocoa Beach. (Image courtesy of

• Artist Wayne Coombs of Merritt Island, 62. Died in unexpectedly in September. Owned and founded Mai Tiki Gallery in Cocoa Beach and was a world-renowned talented inspiration who left behind many colorful creations and a legacy of work.  

Former Brevard County Commissioner Randy O’Brien, 66. Died in June following a career that included service from 1994 to 2002 as a Brevard County Commissioner representing District 2.   

High school and college basketball coach Kirk Stewart, 70. Died in October in North Carolina. He guided basketball teams for Titusville High, Astronaut High and Brevard Community College. He taught the game of basketball to thousands of area children over the years through his summer camps.

• Brevard Elite youth basketball star Brandon Fritz of Melbourne, 15. Killed in March in an automobile accident on I-95 while returning home from a youth basketball tournament in Orlando.  Was a promising football and basketball player and an outstanding student at Eau Gallie High School. 

Former Melbourne Beach vice mayor Bradford Betten, 44. Died in August following a long illness. Served as a town commissioner and vice mayor for Melbourne Beach. He also owned and operated The Black Dog Bait & Tackle Shop in Melbourne Beach.

• Entrepreneur Robert Kurrus of Melbourne, 44. Killed in February in a plane crash. Was the co-owner of The Premiere Oaks Theater of Melbourne and Ben & Jerry’s at The Oaks. He also was involved in many charitable causes throughout Brevard County.