Villa Maria Academy deeply mourns the loss of Brian Zwaan, a friend and supporter to everyone in the school community. Brian was the husband of Diane Zwaan, Villa’s Director of Special Events, and father of Elizabeth Zwaan Milne ’05, Sarah Zwaan ’10, and Margaret Zwaan ’14. Son Matthew is a graduate of Malvern Prep. Brian served on Villa Maria’s Advisory Board for many years, and gave very generously of his time and talents. Brian passed away suddenly on July 31.
Kathy McCartney, Director of Advancement, said, “I met Brian 16 years ago and was immediately struck by his passion for everything, but especially for his family. He had the uncanny ability to make the person he was talking to feel like the most important person in the room. The world is a sadder place without the jolly, quick-witted, larger than life Brian Zwaan.”
Everyone at Villa Maria will miss Brian’s wide and welcoming smile. His energy and enthusiasm were always on display, whether cheering on one of his girls from the sidelines, socializing with other parents and friends, or throwing himself into the task of advancing the mission of the school.
“Brian was one of the first people that I met when I arrived at Villa Maria,” said Sr. Regina Ryan, IHM, principal of Villa Maria. “Immediately, I experienced his support, knowledge, and readiness to do all that he could to ease my transition and further Villa’s and the IHM mission. He filled the room with positive energy. He just exuded goodness. You loved being with him and being part of any enterprise or project in which he participated. Villa has lost one of its best friends, and all of our prayers and loving support are with Diane and his children.”
Brian’s generosity was not limited to Villa. He was on the board at AIM Academy, People’s Light and Theatre Company, and Elementary Education of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, to name a few. In 2014 he was given the Distinguished Graduate Award by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and was similarly recognized by his alma mater Archbishop John Carroll High School.
Brian had a long and successful career as a banker. He was Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, at WSFS Bank, after serving as President/COO/CLO at Penn Liberty Bank for 12 years. He held a BA from Lehigh University and an MBA from Drexel University.