Bruner—David Rich Bruner, 87, on June 3, 2021, at Mt. San Antonio Gardens, a retirement community in Pomona, Calif. David Bruner was born on June 18, 1933, in New York City during the heart of the Great Depression. His father, David Kenneth Bruner, was a professor of sociology, and his mother, Catherine Rich Bruner, was a writer and editor for the Society of Friends. He was an only child.
David’s family moved from one college to another as he was growing up, from Pennsylvania to the Midwest and finally to California. He loved traveling by train with his mother and father and spoke warmly of those childhood family trips. In 1947, the family settled in Stockton, Calif.
From his earliest years, David demonstrated what he called “an addiction” to anything mechanical: model trains, planes, and automobiles. Throughout his long life, he loved nothing better than spending hours working on a model of some kind. He was a member of the Society of Antique Modelers and a collector of toy trains. David also loved classical music and singing in choirs. Dvořák, Berlioz, and Mahler were favorites of his.
David attended Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., then transferred to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1959, where he majored in mechanized agriculture. He was a conscientious objector during the Korean War, and enjoyed working for Goodwill, directing, driving, and unloading boxes in Northern California. He married Helen Cohn while attending the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
David’s mechanical mind found a home at the California Department of Transportation, where he spent his career. His greatest satisfaction was working in the field on road-building projects. He was most proud of improving a very dangerous stretch of Highway 17 through the Santa Cruz Mountains.
David was an active member of Berkeley (Calif.) Meeting and San Francisco (Calif.) Meeting. He took a sabbatical in 1985 to study Quakerism at Pendle Hill study center in Wallingford, Pa. His time there had a lasting impact, and reinvigorated his participation in Quaker meeting.
When he retired, David moved to Claremont, Calif., where his grandmother’s house still stands. In 2002, he moved to Mt. San Antonio Gardens in nearby Pomona, where he married Fran Feeny. He served Claremont Meeting faithfully over many years as clerk of the Finance Committee and Nominating Committee, and on the Board of Directors. David was outspoken, a man of strong convictions and a generous supporter of Claremont Meeting, American Friends Service Committee, the Democratic Party, and the Nature Conservancy.
David was predeceased by a daughter, Anne Bruner. He is survived by his wife, Fran Bruner; and three children, Gail Bruner (Greg Tudor), Margaret Bruner, and David M. Bruner. He was the beloved adopted grandfather of Sarah Ross.