“He was a connector of humanity,” said Bryan. “You always got the sense he looked at everyone as valuable and everyone as important. Nobody was dismissed.”
That idea is portrayed by the fact that in his last days, when brother Jeff Paulhus requested friends send in memories of their times with Brent so they could read them to him, so many stopped what they were doing to craft a loving goodbye. They spoke of good times on the football field at NHS, at the baseball diamond at Perkins Playground and participating in some hair-brained adventure or game thought up by Brent that turned an otherwise boring day into unforgettable memory.
Some also spoke of painful times in their lives when they were most fragile, and how Brent sought them out with attention and kindness, as if he knew what they were feeling.
“We had a grandfather who lost his wife and was all alone,” said Bryan.
With the funeral over and the rest of his grandfather’s family and friends moving on with their lives, their grandfather sank into a sort of depression, until Brent sought him out and asked him what he liked to do.
“I like Italian meals,” was the answer, to which Brent replied that the two would go to Ponte Vecchio in Danvers and partake of the best in the region. At the end of the meal Brent looked at their grandfather and asked if he liked it. The elder replied that he did, and Brent informed him they’d be going back the following night.
“At 82 years old, (Brent) gave the guy a baseball bat and started pitching balls to him,” said Bryan. “The guy lit up like a Christmas tree. He took him to Ponte Vecchio’s until he died. He didn’t provide compassion at the bare minimum, but at the maximum that he could give.”