Eugene F. Bruning, paint company executive

January 15, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Eugene F. Bruning, a retired president of a paint company founded by his brothers, died Wednesday of heart failure at the Roland Park home of his daughter. He was 89.

In 1969, he retired as president of the Bruning Paint Co., which was founded in 1923 as the Bruning Brothers Paint Co. by his three brothers.

"His older brother had worked for the H. B. Davis Paint Co.," said Frances B. Ghingher, his daughter, "and they mixed their first bucket of paint on the third floor of my grandparents' house on Chesterfield Avenue and went into the paint business."

In 1923, her father joined the business, which had been located ** over the years at Bush Street, Fleet and Haven streets and then Orangeville. The company was acquired in 1968 by the Millmaster-Onyx Corp.

"They let my dad into the paint business because he had a thousand dollars he had saved from his office boy job," his daughter said.

"I was born at the Women's Hospital on Bolton Hill," Mrs. Ghingher recalled, "and while my mother was in labor, he was down the hall trying to sell paint to the superintendent of the hospital.

"He was fond of saying,'When my daughter was born, they closed every bank in the country.' And they did. That happened when President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt closed all the banks during the bank holiday of 1933."

Born in Louisville, Mr. Bruning came to Baltimore with his family when his father, the Rev. John David Bruning, was named pastor what was then St. Matthew's Lutheran Church at Mayfield and Norma avenues.

Mr. Bruning studied for several years at Polytechnic Institute before leaving in 1921 to become an office boy for the Old Bay Line steamboat company.

After his retirement, he purchased a 70-acre farm in Monkton near Elkridge Harford Hunt Club and raised prize-winning polled Herefords. He sold Jen-Car Farms in 1983 and lived at the Warrington Apartments in Guilford until 1991 when he went to live with his daughter.

He was a scratch golfer who shot his age in 1969 and tried to repeat the feat in later years.

"He used to say, 'I get an additional stroke each year,' " Mrs. Ghingher said.

He played golf at Clifton Park, Hillendale Country Club and, for many years, at the Five Farms course of the Baltimore Country Club until he gave up the game in 1987.

He lunched as recently as this past Tuesday with his cronies at the Baltimore Country Club.

"He gave up playing bridge some years ago and told me,'Those old men are too slow,' " Mrs. Ghingher said. "And I said, 'Daddy, you're nearly the same age.' "

"Every year we put the same thing on his cake: 'The greatest old man of our time most probably,' " she said.

His wife, the former Sybilla Mueller of Baltimore whom he married 1929, died in 1972.

Services were set for 11 a.m. today at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, 6500 York Road, with interment in Parkwood Cemetery.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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