April 06, 1933 - July 18, 2022
Russell Dale Bruenger, 89, of Florissant, Missouri died Monday, July 18, 2022, at Missouri Baptist Hospital, in St. Louis, Missouri, with his children by his side.
Russell was born April 6, 1933, at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. He was the youngest of six children to Elmer 'Pete' and Clara (Mueller/"Miller") Bruenger; grandson of Peter Henry and Hannah Fredericka (Siebrasse) Bruenger, and Ernest and Louisa (Marks) Mueller, all of Quincy.
A devout Lutheran, Russ attended St. James Lutheran Church and Elementary School; later marrying Mary G. Graham there.
As an 8-year-old child, a pilot took him for an airplane ride from the hangar near Melrose Township and a seed was planted. While a student at Quincy High School, he took particular interest in drafting and aviation, and became employed as a draftsman laying out steel beams for construction projects at Michelmann Steel. Following graduation from QHS in 1951, he joined the Army and served during the Korean War stationed at the US Army Headquarters in Sendai, Japan. Utilizing his excellent penmanship and graphic layout skills on various Mapping projects for the officers and generals stationed there, he was integral to mapping enemy locations and US troop movements.
Following his service, Russ returned to Quincy, but chasing his youthful love for aircraft he traveled down to St. Louis, Missouri where he began a 40-year career with McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company (now Boeing). Always with a keen eye for detail, and a steel trap mind for engineering specifications, Russ was the first Quality employee assigned to Project Gemini where he helped build the Quality Inspection Program for the duration. From there, he progressed in his career working on the F-4 Phantom, the F-15 Eagle, and the F-18 Hornet as a leader in the Quality Assurance Program. In addition, he was also an early expert in CAD/CAM for the aircraft manufacturing industry, and a published author and speaker representing McDonnell Douglas at various industry meetings and conferences across the country.
While he lived in St. Louis County for over 60 years, Quincy was 'home' to Russ and Mary both, consistently returning home on weekends. Quincy held his roots, in his love for family, and a solid place to grow from. He often spoke of Calftown, and the old German Southside neighborhoods and inhabitants, their names and locations.
Russ is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Thomas Luebbert, his son Kurt Bruenger, two grandchildren, Shelby Luebbert and Jack Luebbert, all of Florissant, Missouri; his in-laws, Larry (Phyllis) Graham, and Roger (Chandra) Graham all of Quincy, Illinois; and Carolyn (Jim) Toedte, recently of Columbiana, Alabama. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, and their families.
Russell was preceded in death by his wife Mary G. Bruenger, his parents, five siblings and their spouses: Arline (Robert) Wemhoener, Ruth (Marvin) Lange, Dolores Bruenger, Richard (Jean) Bruenger, all of Quincy, Illinois and Norma Jean (David) Butcher of Springfield, Illinois; niece Cynthia (Wemhoener) Frohn of Quincy, Illinois, and nephew David C. Butcher of Chatham, Illinois. In addition, he was also preceded by his in-laws, William Forrest and Mildred (Dulaney) Graham of Quincy, Illinois, and nephew Richard Graham of Quincy, Illinois, and brother-in-law William (Patsy) Graham of Hannibal, Missouri.
Graveside Services: 11:00 am on Saturday, July 23, 2022 at Greenmount Cemetery with military honors conducted by American Legion Post 37 and the United States Army Honors Detail. A viewing will occur just prior to the Graveside service at 10:45 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, if desired, suggested donations are Disabled American Veteran's Foundation, or The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - Gateway Chapter. Memorial Donations may be made online at https://memorials.hansenspear.com
Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements.