Dana Brand, Mets fan, professor, dies

Hofstra professor Dana Brand, a lifelong Mets fan

Hofstra professor Dana Brand, a lifelong Mets fan who authored books about his favorite team and ran a widely read Mets fan blog, died suddenly Wednesday.

Dana Brand had been primed to be a Mets fan at a very young age.

His parents were fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers and forbade their son to follow the Yankees. When the Mets came along in 1962, Brand was on board from the start.

The relationship lasted a lifetime as Brand, a longtime English professor at Hofstra University, authored two books about being a Mets fan and ran Dana Brand's Mets Fan Blog. He was co-director of the upcoming Fifty Years of the New York Mets conference planned at Hofstra in 2012.

"My goal is to bring you back in contact with the eternal Mets, a bizarre and perhaps unworthy baseball franchise that continues to receive the passionate loyalty of millions," Brand wrote on the website for his book "Last Days at Shea," published in 2009.

Brand, 56, of the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, Conn., died Wednesday in Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn., after a stress test, said his wife of 32 years, Sheila Fisher.

Thursday, Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen memorialized Brand on-air during the Mets-Cubs game.

He taught American literature at Hofstra, focusing on fiction written between 1850 and 1950, according to the university. His research included American modernism, the literature of the city, the literature of Americans abroad, and the personal essay. He had also chaired the English Department.

Bernard J. Firestone, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Brand was an "outstanding scholar" and popular with students. Firestone shared a letter from a student describing Brand as "a professor who takes the risk some teachers often refuse to try."

Born in Manhattan, Brand grew up in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., said his wife, an associate academic dean and English professor at Trinity College in Hartford. He earned his bachelor's degree from Columbia University and received his master's, MPhil and PhD from Yale University. He met his wife while they were graduate students at Yale. He had been with Hofstra since 1989.

Brand also authored "The Urban Spectator in Nineteenth-Century American Literature" and numerous articles on topics in English, American and French literature, philosophy and film. His book "Mets Fan" was published in 2007.

Other survivors include a daughter, Sonia Brand-Fisher, 20, of Newtown; sisters Jennifer Brand, of Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn, and Stefanie Brand, of Montclair, N.J.; and his mother, Helen Thomashow Brand, of Englewood Cliffs.

A small service for immediate family will be held Friday and a public memorial service will be June 4 at the Meeting House in Newtown. Contributions may be made to a charity of one's choice in his honor.

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