Deyan Ranko Brashich (1940-2019)

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Deyan Ranko Brashich

My father recently passed away.

This is a snapshot of his adventurous, memorable life.

New York, NY--Deyan Ranko Brashich, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother, died on August 30, aged 78. Deyan lived a long and full life, which he led with a sense of adventure and good humor.

Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1940, Deyan arrived in this country with his family in 1949 as refugees from communism. He graduated from Trinity School (New York City), Trinity College (Hartford, CT), New York University School of Law, and the Hague Academy of International Law.

Admitted to the New York Bar in 1966, he was a seasoned attorney and skilled litigator. Beginning in mid-1960’s, Deyan had a vibrant and varied career in private practice in New York City with the law firm Brashich & Finley. He was attracted to all cases, civil and criminal, which spoke to his conscience, venturesomeness, or heralded the underdog. Deyan was personally invested in the welfare of each of his clients—which included multinational businesses as well as underserved individuals in Nigeria, Liberia, Argentina, Yugoslavia, and the United States—travelling around the world on their behalf, for cases both large and small.

Deyan Brashich (top left) as pictured in the New York Times, June 22, 1979, after successfully negotiating the release of 135 passengers and substituting himself as a hostage on hijacked American Airlines Flight 293

Deyan will be remembered for a number of important cases: recovering purloined art—Constantin Brancusi’s The Muse; representing the politically jailed Graiver family in Argentina; and for his involvement in cases before the Supreme Court for the United States and circuit Courts of Appeal such as Schwartz v Postel, Regents v Bakke, Steelworkers v Weber, and Brashich v Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on constitutional challenges; and as lead defense counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague for Momcilo Krajisnik and Stevan Todorovic, both accused of war crimes. In a historic case that attracted much notoriety,

Deyan also represented Nikola Kavaja, the “Assassin Who Failed to kill Tito” and hijacker of American Airlines Flight 293. In June 1979, Deyan boarded the hijacked plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and negotiated the release of 135 passengers, substituted himself as hostage, and surrendered his client at Shannon, Ireland.

Deyan was also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pace University, White Plains, NY from 1983-1989. Steadfastly proud of his Serbian heritage, Deyan was a founding member of the Serbian-American Bar Association and was decorated with the Orders of Star of Karadjordje and St. Sava (Royal, Yugoslav), as well as the Selective Service Medal (Civil, US).

One of Deyan’s passions was the written word: he authored commentaries on domestic as well as international legal topics, including in The New York Law Journal; Op-Ed essays on political, legal, and social issues of the day for his blog Contrary Views; and magazine articles covering literature and art (also an artist, Deyan’s paintings were shown in galleries in the early sixties). Deyan was Editor and Publisher of The Foothills News (CT); Editor-at-Large for The Country and Abroad; and Contributing-Editor for the publications Passport (US), Scrisul Romanesc (Romania), Pecat (Serbia), Britic (UK) and Ekurd Daily (Kurdish).

He also self-published three books—Letters from America, Essays with a New York State of Mind(2013), Contrary Views, Columns from the Litchfield County Times (2003-2014), and Dispatches (2017).

His is survived by his wife, Patricia Tunsky-Brashich of New York, NY and their daughter, Arianna Evers (Tunsky-Brashich) of Washington, DC (Austin, Hudson, and Sienna). With his first wife, Catherine Sidor of Greenwich, Connecticut, he had two daughters Alexis Morledge (Brashich) of New York (Louis Sr., Louis Jr., and Alexander) and Audrey Sjöholm (Brashich) of Vancouver, BC (Christopher, Oliver, and Felix).

My father, my sister and me.

He took great interest in the development of his grandchildren. He is also survived by his older brother, Neboysha R. Brashich of Cutchogue, New York (Prunella, Alexander, and Nicholas).

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