Meeting Brian Cordova for the first time left quite an impression. Our initial interaction took place at the Rio Hondo Kennel Club’s show in Pomona, California, where my breed had supported the entry. I was busily grooming a dog when I was introduced to this Poodle exhibitor with a lively manner and a steady gaze. In no time, Brian drew the attention of everyone within shouting distance, regaling the crowd with stories that left everyone in stitches. The act was quintessential Brian. Few people, in or out of dogs, could match his comedic timing and quick wit. Brian loved an audience and he knew how to work a crowd.
However, his stories weren’t told just for laughs. Each tall tale was carefully crafted using the names of legendary (and infamous) figures within the dog sport. Brian certainly knew his subject matter. He had an encyclopedic mind when it came to the sport of dogs, and he counted many acclaimed breeders, handlers and judges among his many friends. These relationships were important to Brian, and he enjoyed every opportunity to get together with his chosen family. He particularly loved gathering with his local SoCal crew. These intimates will surely miss Brian’s larger-than-life personality most of all. To everyone who knew and loved him, may Brian’s memory bring a smile to your face and leave a lasting impression on your heart.
– Dan Sayers
My beautiful friend, an amazing man, my forever fiancé since I was 16, a true dog person, Brian Cordova. I will miss you forever. I have known you for 38 years. I have so many fun memories, crazy memories, happy memories. I am still so in shock you are no longer here on earth, my Tulip Daffodil.
Forever in my heart.
– Alex Polikowsky
I met Brian a few times; I’m a small fish in the big pond of the Sport of Dogs. Brian made me feel an equal, he made me feel special and important…the loss of this wonderful man is a great loss to our Dog Show Family. He will be missed greatly. May he RIP.
Prayers for all those whose lives he touched.
– Debbi Foust, Wysteria Havanese
What can I say about Brian that hasn’t already been said—witty, funny, handsome, kind…But what I’ll remember most is his love of beach volleyball, especially the players!
Miss you, Brian
– Glen Lajeski
It is a very sad day to hear of someone’s passing, who always put a smile on my face. Although we lived on opposite coasts, the few times I would see him, it was as if we spoke every day. The conversation was always comfortable, funny and engaging. Brian was brilliant, no matter what he did. He was a great Poodle breeder and handler. That ring, in particular, will surely miss him and I was lucky to have him as a colleague.
My condolences to the Showsight family.
– Patricia Proctor, Field Director, Conformation AKC
Whenever I’d see Brian on the West Coast, he always had a smile and a good word. He was truly a genuine human being. The canine world lost a good friend to all. My best to his family.
– Barbara Miller
We were so saddened by Brian’s passing.
Witty, charming (and maybe a little bit cynical), it was always a treat to meet up with him at the shows.
We miss him.
– Susan & John Hamil, Quiet Creek Bloodhounds, Laguna Beach, Encinitas, California
This is an old photo of Brian and me when we both worked for Maripi Wooldridge in 1983.
He will be trully missed.
This is, indeed, a loss to dog people everywhere.
Your note captures the essence of this very special person. He was almost taken from our community years back, but he succeeded in making a triumphant recovery; how lucky each of us was to share additional years of Brian’s love for breeding, conformation, Poodles, and ample time for laughter.
I enjoyed discussing successes of the AKC Universe with him in terms of what the future holds and how to pass many positive accomplishments on to the next generation. He had many thoughts, each one sincere and optimistic.
The Showsight Family is joined by the AKC Family in this time of loss of a wonderful friend.
Rest in Peace, dear Brian.
– Dennis B. Sprung
I have a fun story to share about Brian Cordova. A number of years ago, at one of the shows at the City of Industry in California, I was near Brian and some of his friends. He was good friends with some of my friends. I walked over to him to congratulate him on his big win at Westminster! He was very gracious, but said I think you are confusing me with someone else. I was! It was Gabriel Rangel who’d won at Westminster! I was quite embarrassed but eeked out, “Well, congratulations on all your wins anyway!” He took it in stride and was so kind. I never made that mistake again!
Years later we ended up on Facebook together. I loved how he had the moniker, “Uncle Poodle,” to his young family members and friends. What a great loss this world has had.
– Debbie Beilstein
A TIME FOR OUR FRIEND
Thy Days ran in different directions, thru Time
But Thy Friendship is but a moment away,
Thy Heart is but a Beat from Ours, thru Time
But Hearts, like Ours, are but together,
Thy Time, as We share it, is but all We had
Thy Time, Together, Our Friendship, was,
Thy Time, from with-in Our Hearts, Danced, as One, with Thy Sun
Thy Time, We had Together, We shared with Fun
Beyond Thy Time, We Ran in Thy Fields, and
Played all Day
Beyond Thy Time, Our Friendship had Danced the Nights Away
Beyond Thy Time, in Harmony, Our Hearts,
Together shall Stay
Beyond Thy Time, Our Friendship, Dear Brian, We shall Cherish,
Forever and a Day
Missing You Dearly, Brian
– Ray & Sharon Stevens
Rest in peace, Uncle Poodle.
My heart aches and I am still in shock. A man of endless jokes, an uncle with so much love to give, a friend to many. I am so happy to have seen you not too long ago; I never expected for that to be our last laughs together. I hope you are rejoined with the family again, I miss you all so much.
Dream of Angels.
We are devastated at the news coming from LA today and the death of Brian Cordova; far too young.
Each day, 2020 brings more and more terrible shocks.
We had so much fun together at the Beverly Hills show in March, earlier this year.
Sending our love and hugs to Kathy Bilicich Garcia. (Pictured with Brian, me and Stephen Thomas.)
We have wonderful memories of you sneaking us into the backstage Green Room of BHKC.
I was worried as we sashayed past security. You in your stage voice saying, “Don’t worry, they know who we are.”
– Michael Leonard
Bruce and I were so saddened to hear about Brian. The last time that we saw him was at Abbe Shaw’s Santa Barbara Kennel Club party a couple of years ago. We hadn’t seen him in some time and were both immediately struck by how much we missed his huge, sardonic sense of humor… Brian was truly one of the funniest people either of us have ever known. Anyone who knew Brian knew how quick witted he was. He was rarely mean, but when he was it was in a Joan Rivers kind of way. Not really mean, but funny mean. He was so entertaining.
Brian grew up in Denver, and at Abbe’s party, Brian proudly introduced me to a number of people as his “First Boss.” I was flattered, but also sobered to realize that I was that old. We sat together at dinner and it was a memorable time that I now value even more. He readily told stories of working at Shylo while in high school, and while Brian loved the Afghans as well as a Saluki that we helped him with, we knew that Brian’s heart was with smaller dogs. Hairy smaller Dogs!! Brian went on to work at the “Pup N’ Taco” (Hot Dogs and Tacos) in Denver, and at one point got into a bit of trouble there. The owner drove up one evening to check on things and Brian was proudly gaiting and stacking his new Shih-Tzu for co-worker and dog lover, Jeanette. “That’s not the kind of Pups we have here, Brian!!”
Brian loved everything dog-related and was prone to drawing and sketching dogs in those early years. I don’t know if this continued as he got older. Shown above is a sketch of our Dog “Rowlfe” that Brian did and signed in 1981; almost 40 years ago. I’m afraid that I couldn’t find the original, but only this copy that we used as background for an ad in the 1982 Stud Dog Issue of the Afghan Hound Review.
If ever there was a person who loved Dogs, Dog Shows, and Show Dog People, it was Brian. With much love and appreciation, Brian.
– Steve Fisher & Bruce Clark
We were a dynamic duo for 15 years – Brian knew dogs and I understood advertising. We taught each other the fine points of our craft, but I soon discovered there are traits that you cannot teach a person. Brian had an innate kindness and a generosity of spirit that knew no bounds. He loved attending shows and introducing me to his friends! I will miss my dog show husband!
– Tammy Gincel
I am still numb…
our lives are forever changed…
I am so thankful for our talks this past year…
Poodles…life…or just making fun of ourselves.
(Your sense of humor is like of no other.)
You have a wonderful way of bringing people together…you made us always see the best in life.
I just to spoke to you days ago…and now I cannot imagine not picking up the phone and telling Chris, “Wait, I have to call Brian…”
I will always be thinking of you…
And see you again in time…pick up where we left off…
Love you Brian! (Rachel)
PS…Brian made fun of my name in parentheses, but I loved it. That was for you, Bri Bri!
– Christian and Rachel Manelopoulos
When asked to share a few words about Brian…What immediately came to mind is how his smile could light up a room, how he made everyone and their dogs feel important in the sport and, of course, his dedication and love for his own breed, the Poodle. When we often part ways at a dog show after a long weekend, we don’t often think it’s the last goodbye…We take for granted the wonderful relationships our dogs have brought together. I know we will miss his smile greeting us at the next dog show, for sure, but I’m sure he will be watching us all show our dogs…Until we meet again.
– Heather & Colton Johnson
Thank you for the invitation to share. Brian and I had a special relationship. Like two teens, we would seek each other out at every show to make “Our Selfie.” He would complain about how he looked and make us reshoot ‘til he was satisfied…yet he always shined brighter than I.
To know that his last message to me was, “What is going on with your health, I have no idea? I love you and I wish you well.” (05/03/2020) This told me, in absence, he was always concerned. The measure of a friendship is to know that, sometimes, we just need someone. Not to fix us, or accept a point of view, but to simply be there with us, to check in and ask, “Are you OK?” Brian did that for me, seeking me out to say, “Let’s smile together and let everyone know
– Robert Scott
In April of 2017, my wife and I assumed full ownership of Showsight Magazine. At the same time, Brian’s previous employer, Dogs In Review, decided not to publish anymore. As soon as this came to light, I made sure to reach out to Brian and his colleague, Tammy Gincel, to see if they would care to join me. After a few amazing and, quite honestly, hilarious conversations, we decided to become one family. Our visions and our ways were frighteningly similar. We just clicked, and it became Brian’s magazine as much as it was mine.
Now that I remember, even when we were competitors, years before we came together, Brian and I had many interactions with one another at shows. Each conversation was, literally, more than perfect. They were fun! When we decided to work together, we asked each other why we were so nice when, quite honestly, publishers can be pretty competitive. The answer was obvious: We really liked each other. Brian’s interactions with my wife, Hanifa, and daughters, Iryna and Adrianna, were priceless. Brian was just so caring to them. And me being the jokester that I am, I would call him “grandpa” in front of my kids. This would make him smile. In a world full of roses, be a sunflower.
Brian and I also had interactions that were, let’s say, interesting. Quite honestly, we could drive each other crazy because we both cared so much about our clients. When two people have one common goal—but two different ways to achieve it—things can get very entertaining. OH, I WILL MISS MY FRIEND & CO-WORKER VERY MUCH. Together we achieved a lot and I vow to you, his friends and clients, that I will continue to honor his memory by making you happy. In a world full of roses, Brian was a sunflower!
– Aj Arapovic
How do you write a goodbye?
Sadly, your passing shook our sport to its core. Known, loved, and admired by everyone, your passing has been painful for so many who loved you. For decades we’ve been friends, seeing each other through life’s ups and downs, the good and the not so good. Your friendship meant the world to me, like a warm hot toddy that warmed my soul. I knew I could always count on you. I’ll miss you so much, our staycations, laughs, and conversations…..always a cherished friend whom I loved.
My kids having grown up with their Uncle Poodle are also at a loss for words…. they loved telling their friends about their Uncle Poodle and will miss
Decades ago in Bermuda, we enjoyed riding our scooters across the island after the shows, finding our own perfect private coves for snorkeling, and ending the day with pitchers of swizzles. I pray that you are scootering, snorkeling, and swizzleling in pure bliss. Until we meet again, my friend, know that your life made a difference to so many of our lives.
Forever in my heart, your Valerina
– Valeria Nunes-Atkinson
I’ve known Brian since we were in high school and worked together at a small local fast food, “Pup N Taco.”
I spent most of my teenage years around Brian and his brother Donnie, sister Lori, and parents Jake and Dee Cordova.
He was just starting to show his family’s Beagles while acquiring a few Shih Tzus. I was always amazed at his fierce determination to learn every breed and their confirmation. His senior year, he showed a Saluki and took his senior picture with her.
It was not surprising that he started showing Poodles, as he loved the precision and grooming techniques of different breeds’ hair !
We had so much fun growing up together, and I have so many wonderful and funny memories of my good friend, Brian Cordova.
– Jeanette Schaffer
Brian was one of my dearest and closest friends. I suspect a lot of people likely felt this way about Brian, because of his generous and loving personality. With as many friends as he had, he still managed to make you feel special. It was rare that we’d go more than 24 hours without talking. He occupied that hallowed space on my devices saved for family, the “favorites.” In a world of texting and messaging, Brian still preferred a good old-fashioned phone call, and that more intimate connection.
Brian truly had a wicked and brilliant sense of humor, and could make you cackle with laughter. He was genuinely one of the funniest human beings I know. He was great at poking fun at those dearest to him, but also capable of turning that spotlight on himself with self-deprecating charm. Brian valued kindness in people and the world around him. He loved the beauty of nature, especially plants and flowers. A true empath, Brian had an ability to understand and relate to the feelings of others, be they good or bad. On more than one occasion, I saw him taking on and internalizing the suffering of his friends and family often to the point of sacrificing his own health and happiness.
Brian’s favorite artist was Vincent Van Gogh who was once quoted as saying, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” Brian had a life of passion and of excellence in all that was dear to him. It takes a beautiful mind to love the world around us, flaws and all—and that was Brian.
In short, I will miss him the rest of my days, and reflect with gratitude on the time we spent and the memories we made. Brian loved Winnie the Pooh (mostly to make fun of the fact that Pooh never wore pants, but that is a joke for another day). I remember seeing an image of Pooh walking hand in hand with Piglet, and comforting him by saying, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Saying goodbye to Brian has been excruciatingly hard. I guess I am very lucky. Godspeed, my friend. I will see you in the clouds.
– Maria Arechaederra
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