In Loving

Lawrence Allen (“Brol”) Broglio

July 29, 1943 – July 2, 2024

Brol Broglio didn’t want to leave us, but his body had other ideas. He left our beautiful Earth the morning of Tuesday, July 2, 2024. He leaves behind a gaping hole in the lives of his wife of 45 years, Yoli Szczerba Broglio; his daughter, Morgan; and his son, Jake. They are trying to make sense of what just happened to them and why it happened so soon. Brol had so much to live for, so many things he still wanted to experience. Knowing him as we do, he would want us to celebrate what he did accomplish while here, what we witnessed – a spectacular, fun and full life.

Brol’s departure was as dramatic as his arrival. His deceased parents Ruth Hines and Antonio Broglio marveled at the timing of their newest baby’s birth in 1943 – exactly nine months from Tony’s last shore leave. They decided to name him Lawrence in honor of his beloved and flamboyant uncle, Zio Lorenzo. Brol was like Zio Lori in many ways – dramatic, spontaneous, exuberant, and just more. “More” describes Brol fittingly. He wanted to do (or at least try) everything. Whether it was dancing on tabletops or skiing the Italian Alps (Larrrrrrrreeeeee – you go too faaaaast!) or parasailing over land (not water!) in Martha’s Vineyard or keeping you on the edge of your seat with his ability to tell a great story, he gave it his all. He grew up in Cleveland, attended St. Ignatius, went on to Holy Cross, and finally to Cornell, where he earned his MA and MFA in acting and directing. His first official job after college was teaching Latin at Martha’s Vineyard HS. Brol loved the arts and imbued his life with writing, acting, and the theatre. He taught drama at several colleges during his career and, before he retired, taught adults how to use vulnerability and creative thinking in sales with companies like GE Financial in Richmond and Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis.

True to their Italian-Catholic background, Ruth and Tony had five children. The eldest, Joan, was married to Don, who are both gone now. The surviving Broglio siblings are Tony (Marilyn), John (Judy), and Timothy.  He cherished his many, many nieces and nephews and their many, many children. He was the kind of Uncle that parents both loved and dreaded. Plenty of roughhousing and fun that kept the kids wired all night long. He was the magnet they were all drawn to, the Big Dog they loved.

Brol had strong, down to earth, midwestern values. He never wanted to be rich or famous. He only wanted his own family and to be able to provide for them. His picket fence dream finally came true when he met Yoli and had his own two now grown munchkins – Morgan (James Casey) and Jake (Holly).  How he loved his babies! There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them.

Brol had one grandchild – Morgan and James’ little girl, Lily, who instantly became the sugar plum of Papa’s eye when she was born one Christmas Eve. Lily is the beautiful little princess who stole Papa’s heart. She and Papa quickly became an inseparable duo, partners in all things fun. He had two big remaining life goals: to see Lily graduate high school and to meet Jake and Holly’s first baby. Now those goals are relegated to his role in the spiritual world.

One thing is for certain: we know that wherever Brol is in the universe today, he is watching over his family, present and future, loving them, keeping them safe. He is their official Guardian Angel, their biggest cheerleader, their greatest fan. He will be right there, by their sides, forever and always.

Brol’s love of family extended to Yoli’s family, too. Her deceased parents, Nicholas and Sophie Szczerba, emigrated from post-War Poland by way of Germany and had 11 children: George (Dawn), Irene (Peter Swanson) Donna, deceased (Jim Briganti), Edward, deceased (Helen), Richard, deceased, Nicholas Jr., Michelle (Joe Topolosky), Laura, Regina, and Doreen (Lou Perella). Like the Broglio’s, there are scores of Szczerba nieces and nephews. Many happy holidays were held at New Street. Brol fit right into the chaos and clamor of a large Polish American household where he could be found leading a chorus or two. Today, he’d say to the boys, “Na Zdrowie!” And to the girls, “Keep the chorus line going!”

Not surprisingly, Brol had many fur babies over his lifetime. From his first dog, Spooky, to his last pair, Happy and Goldie, all left paw prints on his heart. Happy and Brol had a special bond. Watching this 90-pound pup run and hurl himself into Brol’s lap from across the room was a sight to behold. The broken recliner still stands.

Brol was blessed with the ability to make friends with people no matter where he went. No one was a stranger. On behalf of the family and to all our dear friends in Richmond and all over the U.S., we thank you for your continued love, kindness, and friendship. The family especially thanks the nurses, PT/OT staff, and doctors of Henrico Doctors’ Hospital Intensive Care Unit. To the Broglio and Szczerba families, especially to Marilyn and Laura, we thank you for keeping the family updates flowing and for your unending support. To the many neighbors who were there when we needed them, and the countless friends who Brol made over a lifetime, thank you.

Brol gave so willingly of his talent, treasures, and time. He had his own butterfly effect, reinforcing how the small stuff becomes the big stuff in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. During the eight short decades he graced Mother Earth, he was able to flap his wings and use his positive outlook to change the world around him, especially for those of us lucky enough to know him. We look forward to the days when Brol will send us a sign from above…maybe even a butterfly!

Thank you for loving him. In his honor, make today special and make today count by loving each other and the world around you. Wear bright colors. Eat the cake. Laugh too loud. Celebrate!

…if a butterfly flaps its wings at just the right time in just the right place…it can cause a hurricane

thousands of miles away…a tiny change in a big system can affect everything.     

  • Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

A Celebration of Life will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at Affinity Funeral Service Richmond Chapel 2720 Enterprise Parkway, Richmond, Virginia 23294.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the The Grey Muzzle Organization.