Happy 100th birthday, Bud

By Kate Miller, Record Managing Editor
Posted 7/3/19

This week is a whirlwind for Ken “Bud” Bruning as he and his friends and family celebrate his 100th birthday.There was a party at the Warren County Senior Center, a party planned at his residence …

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Happy 100th birthday, Bud

Posted
This week is a whirlwind for Ken “Bud” Bruning as he and his friends and family celebrate his 100th birthday.There was a party at the Warren County Senior Center, a party planned at his residence at Oak Pointe of Warrenton, another at McDonald’s in Wright City, where he’s a valued customer and celebrated every year, and a party with his family.“It’s going to be a busy week,” Bruning said as he listed his birthday itinerary.Bruning, born March 7, 1919, is a lifelong Warren County resident. He grew up on his family’s farm, the sixth of nine kids. Siblings gave him the nickname Buddy, which later turned into Bud. Most people call him Bud, he said.He claims there’s no secret to a long life, other than good genes and living a somewhat healthy lifestyle. His two sisters are in their 90s. His father lived to 98 and his mother was 99 when she passed away.“I have been blessed beyond measure. I grew up on our farm and I still like to call myself a farmer, even though I’m living over at Oak Pointe,” he said.“That farm was my grandmother’s farm,” Bruning added. “That’s where I grew up. It’s now Incline Village.”Incline Village is a golf club in Foristell.Bruning can recall getting an education in a one-room schoolhouse back then. He remembers being 9 years old before the family purchased a car.What he doesn’t remember is a time when he didn’t go to church. Life was about church and family. Bruning met his wife Idele in a youth group at church. Not long after, he was called to war. He was in Germany when World War II ended.“The Army was not my lifestyle. I served my three years but please don’t ask me to do it again,” he said.The Brunings had two children. A daughter, Joy, was born two or three months after he went into the Army. Bruning’s son Paul was 13 months old when they first saw each other. Decades later, Paul would serve in the Vietnam War. He survived the war, but not its lingering aftereffects.“He succumbed to Agent Orange when he came home,” Bruning said.Bruning and his wife, a schoolteacher, had five grandchildren and were married 68 years.“I have to say, I loved that woman,” he said. “I wanted to make it to 70 years, but I didn’t get to know her that long.”Bruning’s daughter Joy Dufrain lives in the house in Wright City where she was raised. She said her father grew up where Scripture was read every breakfast and going to church was the only outside activity they had. It had to do with faith, but money was scarce too. His upbringing molded his faith and his character.“He never says anything bad about anyone. He’s just a genuine, giving, caring person. An all-around good guy,” said Dufrain.As a parent, she added, “The example was set for us. It wasn’t vocalized, but the expectation was there.”Bruning’s giving character extends to his community. He was a regular volunteer for a long while.“I had time on my hands and I needed something to do that was worthwhile,” he said.As a volunteer, he picked up groceries for AGAPE and delivered meals for Meals on Wheels.“I delivered meals until I had my 94th birthday then I made sure I delivered one more meal after my birthday,” he recalled.He stopped driving about a year ago. Friends take him where he needs to go now. One of those stops is at the Warren County Senior Center for a monthly veterans coffee. He likes the camaraderie.“(In the military) you always have a buddy somewhere. You take care of him and he takes care of you,” he explained.Bruning is known for his jokes and his stories. Dufrain said his life story, “My Journey,” is written and stored at Goin’ Postal in Warrenton.“It’s not really complete, but it’s pretty darn good,” Dufrain said.It was written several years ago. A refresher surely will include the marathon week that is his 100th birthday. It’s a birthday he’s proud of.“The Lord wanted me to be 100 years old because he sent a lot of people to care for me to see me to 100,” he said.While Bruning has 100 years of stories he could tell, he can hold back when he wants.“I’ve got other things I could tell you,” he said, “but I’d have to tell you off the record.”

Ken “Bud” Bruning was recognized by the Marine Corps League for his service on the occasion of his 100th birthday March 7. Bruning, a lifelong Warren County resident, served in World War II.

Record photo/Kate Miller

Ken Bruning met his wife Idele in a youth group at church. They were married 68 years.

Submitted photo

Ken Bruning, far right, welcoming a great grandchild to the family. He is pictured with, from left, son-in-law Walter Dufrain, daughter Joy, granddaughter and new mother Paige with newborn Alex. Joy said her father at the time, “was absolutely astonished that they let him hold that little baby.”

Submitted photo

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