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Dr. Brian Focht Obituary - Hill Funeral Home


Visitation will be held on Sunday, April 14th, 1-4pm, at Hill Funeral Home.  A visitation will also be held on Monday, April 15th, at Hill Funeral Home, 11am-12pm, with a service to follow at 12pm. Additional parking is available at 64 E. Walnut St. across from the Hill Funeral Home's rear exit. There will be a luncheon after the service at the Renaissance Hotel located at 409 Altair Pkwy, Westerville, OH 43082.  Funeral Service will be livestreamed on the Hill Funeral Home YouTube channel.


Dear Brian's family,

Brian was a great scholar, a caring person, and a diligent leader for our department (Educational Studies). My prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Warm Regards,
Laurice Joseph

Laurice Joseph

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Obituary for Dr. Brian Focht

Dr. Brian Focht 1972-2024

Dr. Brian Focht

04/06/1972 - 04/05/2024

Dr. Brian Carl Focht, age 51, of Westerville, passed away on Friday, April 5, 2024, unexpectedly.

Brian was born on April 6th, 1972, to David and Eleanor (Tomlinson) in Lancaster, PA. After graduating from Kutztown high school in 1990, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at East Stroudsburg University where he met Laura (Gillich) and they wed in 1995.  He earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees at University of Florida, Gainesville FL in Exercise Science and completed his post-doctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC.

 In 2002, Brian began a highly successful and distinguished 20-year career in Exercise Science when he was appointed as an Assistant Professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. After several distinguished faculty roles at leading universities, in 2005, Brian joined the faculty at The Ohio State University (OSU). During the following 19 years, he achieved the rank of tenured Full Professor of Kinesiology in the Department of Human Sciences in the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE). He also served as the Founding Director of the Exercise and Behavioral Medicine Lab at OSU. As a scholar, Brian published and presented hundreds of scholarly works and received numerous awards to include being appointed as a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology, which is among the highest honors in his field. His research was focused on the role of exercise in enhancing health and wellbeing, preventing chronic disease, and recovering from cancer. His research agenda was supported by more than $10 million in grant funding from the National Institute of Aging, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Disorders, American Institute of Cancer Research, and many others. Brian also enjoyed remarkable success as an academic leader, being appointed as an Associate Chair and then a Vice Chair of the Department of Human Sciences. Recently, he was appointed as the interim Chair of the Department of Educational Studies in EHE. Across these and many other leadership roles, Brian was widely regarded as a strong, caring, and astute academic leader among his colleagues at OSU and his peers across the nation.

 Brian and Laura have 2 amazing daughters, Brittany, and Alyssa. Brian never missed a school, sports, or dance event.  He relished his role as a Girl Dad.  Brian cherished spending time with his family and friends.  Brian also enjoyed bodybuilding and participated in multiple bodybuilding competitions including the 2015 and 2016 NPC EAS Mike Francois Classic Men's Bantamweight division. 

 Brian's favorite holiday was Halloween where he would spend time reading Stephen King novels and watching John Carpenter scary movies during his countdown to the holiday.  Brian was thrilled to meet and greet with John Carpenter. His favorite band is the Goo Goo Dolls and he was very pleased to meet Johnny Rzeznik during 3 different concerts. He shared his love for hockey and the Columbus Blue Jackets with his family, attending many games and going to draft events with friends.

 Brian will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who had the privilege to know him.

Brian is survived by his wife, Laura, his daughters, Brittany and Alyssa, his brother Eric Focht (Monica) and his nieces and nephews, John Jr., Krista, Justin, Jenna, Jason, Greta, and Jacob.

Brian was predeceased by his parents.    

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to support the Brian C. Focht Memorial Fund supported by the American College of Sports Medicine Cancer Special Interest Group: