Brandon James Malstrom
About Brandon James Malstrom
Brandon James Malstrom was a loving son, brother and friend. A passionate lacrosse player and skateboarder, he transferred from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to the University of Maryland, College Park. The 20 year-old junior, operations and quality management major died suddenly on November 10, 2002.

"Brandon was the light to so many lives and he gave everyone a reason to smile." -Nicole Heffernan (Baltimore, MD)

"People did not just love him, they adored him. We all did." -Mandi Baker (Lewes, DE)

"He was the best kind of friend. He was easy to talk to and confide in, and was always quick to lend a helping hand. He always put others first, and would be the first one to stick up for friend." -Janna White (Phoenix, MD)

"I remember Brandon as a life-loving young man who made life more enjoyable for everyone he touched." -Hank Maser (Pittsburgh, PA)

About the Scholarship
The Brandon James Malstrom Memorial Scholarship was established in December 2002 by Brandon’s friends and family. Spendable Income from the Brandon James Malstrom Memorial Scholarship provides an annual scholarship for a transfer students at the University who share the educational aspirations that Brandon exemplified.
Diamondback Article in Memory of Brandon Malstrom
The following is an article from the Diamondback highlighting the wonderful memories Brandon left behind:

Nov 15, 2002


Student known for smile and love for skateboarding

by Justin Fenton and Jeremy Hsieh Staff writers

PHOENIX, Md. - The room is wallpapered with skateboarding posters, lacrosse plaques and mementos of lost loved ones. Someone had spent a long time in this room making it his, but its tidiness and thin layer of dust make it clear the room isn't used every day, just like the rooms belonging to every other kid away at college.

But the spotless floor, undisturbed bedspread, autographed lacrosse balls and nutcracker dolls in this room will continue to gather layers of dust through Thanksgiving, Christmas and the summer for years to come. It will probably stay untouched for as long as it's a part of the family's home. The Malstrom's home may be in order, but their world has been turned upside-down.

Hundreds of friends and family members gathered at a home in rural Phoenix, MD yesterday to console the immediate family of Brandon Malstrom, the 20-year-old junior who died Sunday morning from a stab wound.

"He had so much life in him, you know?" said his brother Bill Malstrom IV. "He died at 20 years old, but he lived a full 20 years, probably more."

Perceptions of Brandon did not vary; everyone who came in contact with him described him as honest, kind, friendly, supportive and fun-loving.

"You almost could never find Brandon when he wasn't smiling," said his father, Bill Malstrom III. "He had a very infectious smile; he could light up a room. It was hard to have anything but positive and upbeat conversations."

About 75 of his peers, traveling from as far as Connecticut and Utah, gathered yesterday to share memories. They included classmates, roommates, teammates, best friends and a girlfriend of almost six years.

At one point during the reception, a small boy walked over to Brandon's brother, tugged on his shirt, looked up and offered these comforts: "Brandon never would've guessed how many people cared."

Bill, 23, paused. Visibly moved, he responded, "Yeah ... he'd be flattered."

The last time Gina Cox, a junior letters and sciences major and Brandon's girlfriend, spoke to Brandon was Saturday night. She was home for a family event, and he called her from a homecoming tailgate party.The last thing he said to her was, "I love you - talk to you later."

Cox was sure she would speak to him later. They had been dating since their freshman year at Dulaney High School in Timonium, Md., and their relationship had survived both adolescence and distance. She spent her freshman year at Villa Julie College, while he was at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. They both transferred to this university before their sophomore year.

"They probably would always be together," said his mother, Carol Malstrom.

Their relationship had reached a special level that only time can create. No obstacle was too great, no distance too far, according to friends of the couple.

The ring he gave her for their four-year anniversary, as well as the cards and letters he wrote to her, are among possessions she will forever cherish.

"He was a wonderful boyfriend," Cox said, overwhelmed with memories. "He definitely didn't deserve what happened."

His main reason for attending UMBC was the pursuit of a budding skateboarding career, buoyed by a sponsorship deal with the Spicey Inline Skate and Snowboarding Shop. Never mind his accolades as a high school lacrosse player; skateboarding was his passion. After making the varsity team at Dulaney as a freshman midfielder, the only first-year player to do so that year, he hung up his stick and pads his senior year in favor of ollies, nose-grinds and kick-flips.

"He was an outstanding midfielder; really good on ground balls, a really good athlete," said Dulaney coach Gary Schreiber, who noted Brandon's team-first attitude and caring nature. His teammates mobbed him after scoring his first goal as a freshman; he was the team's "little brother."

"[Pursuing skateboarding] was a big decision for him," Schreiber said. "We really missed him." His mother said skateboarding was a new horizon for him. "He was always looking for new horizons," she said.

His brother Bill recalls fond memories of skating with Brandon, pointing to a crumpled aluminum "No Skateboarding" sign on Brandon's wall with a smile on his face. On family trips to the Bahamas and Spain, they would spend up to five hours a day skating with the locals.

A torn ligament in his ankle and the subsequent recovery time waned Brandon's interest in the sport. That, coupled with his dissatisfaction with UMBC's social atmosphere, led him to College Park, where he took an active interest in the basketball and football teams.

Music was one of Brandon's other loves, sometimes leading him to hit the road and drive across state borders to catch his favorite shows.

While the performance of the Beatles' "In My Life" at the funeral was poignant, Brandon's musical preference was underground hip-hop; he favored Big L, Notorious B.I.G. and personal friend and emerging MC Jay Sharp, whom Brandon drove to his first performance. Traveling deep into inner cities for shows, "he would be the only white guy there," his brother said.

His studies, meanwhile, did not go neglected; Brandon's grades earned him spots on the dean's list both of his semesters at the university.

"He was the kind of person that seemed to embody every good quality that you would hope for in a child and expect of a friend," his father said. "He absolutely without fail never ever did anything less than what exceeded every expectation I had for him."

Now, Bill Malstrom is thinking of ways to keep his brother's spirit alive.

"I'll never forget him," said his brother, who plans on making a video montage of Brandon's skateboarding clips as a tribute to his memory. "I'm naming my first child Brandon."

There is no manual for grieving a loss. For the Malstroms, they will deal with the grief slowly.

"They say it will [return to normal] eventually," Carol said. "But I just can't imagine it ever."

The University of Maryland
Division of Student Affairs ▪ Office of Development and External Relations
8400 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 200 ▪ College Park, MD 20740 ▪ (301) 314-4900