Dr. Edward Fredrick Brunner 91, a resident of Fernandina Beach, Florida
passed away Tuesday, July 5th after a marvelous, and brightly colored life.
Edward was born in Passaic, New Jersey to his parents Edward A. and
Helen Petzold Brunner. Edward grew up on his parent’s farm spending
much time walking the forests, that were in existence then, in Freehold,
As a member of the greatest generation, Edward joined the allied forces in
WWII at 18 years of age. An infantryman, he was one of the few allied
survivors of the brutal Hurtgen Forest battle, spending multiple years
recovering from his wounds, and subsequently being awarded the Purple
Heart. Please enjoy his story in the Library of Congress.
Dr Brunner talked about how fortunate and proud he was that the GI Bill
enabled him to receive an extensive education. His college education
began at the Newark College of Engineering, ultimately receiving his
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Southwestern University in Winfield,
Kansas, where he also ran track. Dr. Brunner received his Doctor of
Education (Ed.D) from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri at
the age of 35.
Dr. Brunner was an idealistic educator whose career encompassed roles
such as Superintendent of Schools for Tuscumbia district in Missouri,
Maysville, Missouri High School Principal, Professor of Education at Murray
State University, Fernandina Beach High School Principal, and Director of
Guidance at Lake City Junior College and Forest Ranger School. His
professional accolades included a U.S. Presidential Educator of the Year.
He tutored young students into his 80’s because his contributions mattered.
Listening to music and singing gave tremendous joy to Ed, and everyone
he sang to. His favorite tunes were from the 40’s, but all genres of music
were a part of his life, except perhaps rap. For many years Ed was a
member of the church choir, and most recently was a member of the Prince
of Peace Lutheran where he sang Sundays in the congregation. As a
member of the Osprey Village Glee Club, he continued his enjoyment of
Everyone speaks of Eddie’s smile and how much they enjoyed interaction
because of his smiles. His sense of humor ranged from warm to absolute
wickedness. Ed was also very focused on sustainability regardless of the
general views of society. For example: In the early 1970’s with gas prices
below 30 cents/gallon, Ed drove vehicles that he pushed to achieve miles
per gallon efficiency of over 37 mpg. This ethos of sustainability echoed
across almost all aspects of his life.
The week before Ed’s passing he enjoyed his normal routine. His
“adopted” granddaughter, Summer Page, was his assistant and drove him
wherever he needed to be. This included Tai Chi at Osprey, visiting his
good friend Larry Olgilvie at Advanced Muscle Therapy, along with his
trainer, Tifini on Wednesday. The library was another love of Ed’s, and
Summer and he had been going every week. Then on Fridays, he met with
another dear friend, Gena at Pilates of Amelia. Frequently during the week
when Ed and Summer were gadding about town, you could find them at
various lunch spots. All of these wonderfull individuals, and more,
contributed to assisting Ed live the full, long life that he did. He was so very
Passing before Eddie was the love of his life for 59 years, Eileen DeVries
Brunner. Also passing was his sister Janet Brunner Craven and his
granddaughter, Erin Brunner.
Survivors include a son, Rick Brunner, Hazel,
KY., a daughter, Barbara (Jim) Whiteherse, a daughter, Julie Randall
(Amy), Indianapolis, IN., a son, Roger (Diane) Brunner, Leavenworth, WA,
10 grandchildren, Bryna, Chad, Corrine (Mike), Nathan,
Christopher(Dawn), Kristen (Jorge), Michael, Matthew, Tiffany (Ben), and
Amelia and 17 great grandchildren.
There will be a brief celebration of Ed for friends and family led by his
children on Saturday, September 24th at 2:00 PM in the Main Beach area
of Fernandina Beach, Florida.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Dr. Brunner’s name to the
Northeast Florida Community Hospice either by phone, 904-886-3883,
https://support.communityhospice.com/donate, or 4266 Sunbeam Road,
Jacksonville, FL 32257 Attn Community Hospice Foundation.