John Brady, a longtime Burbank resident and well-known civil rights activist, died Thursday, his loved ones reported on Saturday. He was 57.

Brady is survived by many cousins and his girlfriend of five years, Barbara Deriada.

Brady served on the Burbank Human Relations Council for about two decades. He headed the group as president for more than five years, said Sylvia Sutton, who worked with Brady on the council.

“He was a seeker of peace. He tried to create harmony where he could,” said former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos, a close friend of Brady's since junior high school. “He understood the concept that sometimes you had to rattle a few cages, shake things up a bit in order to truly find peace through justice.”

Brady was vocal in local politics, friends said. He started attending City Council meetings at a young age with his mother, Mary Brady, a longtime city employee who served on the Senior Citizen Board.

He was dedicated to fighting against hate crimes, Sutton said.

“When any hate crimes occurred … John was one of the people who was notified and given the phone number of the victim to see what aid the human relations council could give the victim,” Sutton said.

Through the council, he also helped plan annual Holocaust commemoration programs, Sutton said.

“He was very unselfish as far as devoting his time to others,” she said.

John Brady also served on the Youth Task Force and Burbank Coordinating Committee.

Ramos said John Brady urged her to run for City Council in 2000, and was heavily involved in her campaign.

“He continued to be a confidant, a friend, an advisor,” she said.

But he struggled in the public arena in recent years.

In 2009, he was kicked off the Police Commission after it was discovered that he was on unsupervised probation for drunk driving.

Deriada said the Burroughs High School graduate loved Burbank and vowed never to move.

“He said to me: ‘I was born here. I will die here,'” Deriada said.

A prayer service and violin tribute will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Forest Lawn Church of the Recessional in Glendale. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Finbar Catholic Church in Burbank.

His loved ones asked that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor John Brady's memory donate to the Kids Community Dental Clinic or the John Burroughs High School Instrumental Music Assn.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter:@atchek