Sad news to pass on to you all. Mr. Bruggeman passed away Saturday, September 26, 2015. He was an inspiration to many and revered by family and friends. The recent article that was posted here several days ago was such a nice tribute to him. Jim Swank made this comment:
“I remember our Latin classes as if they were yesterday. Especially second year and Winnie Ille Pu. Also, the last portion of second year when we studied some Greek, and in particular the day when Mr Bruggeman read to us (I think from Winnie Ille Pu) while holding the book upside down, putting his reading glasses on upside down and also putting his cap on his head upside down. I could not believe that anyone could read upside down so I walked up and looked over his shoulder and the book was upside down. He was a great teacher.”
“I was fortunate to have Mr. Bruggeman for two years as my Latin teacher and 4 years as my French teacher. His love of language was evident to his students as he was so eager to share his knowledge, whether in the official curriculum or not.
So, we read Winnie the Pooh (Winnie Ille Pu) in Latin, studied Greek rootwords, read Paris Match, and enjoyed Boeuf Bourguignon (prepared by Mme.Bruggeman),complete with a sip of real French wine, in a French class picnic.
So much of what he taught us resonates with me to this day and I thank him for his wisdom and knowledge and patient teaching.”
Requiescat in pace
Susan Fisher Langley
I will always have a special place in my heart for Mr. Bruggeman as he instilled in me his passion for french and foreign languages. I met my husband Arrigo on a fix up in Rome, Italy and our only common language was french. We have been married since 1971 and spent fifteen years in Bruxelles and fifteen in Rome. The entire family is now trilingual and I remember him most fondly.
Mary Beth Joffe Sadun
(As appeared in the Sept. 15, edition of the Dayton Daily News)
Local man looks back on his legacy
WWII vet became a teacher and touched many lives.
By Beth Anspach – Contributing Writer
As former Riverside resident and schoolteacher Bob Bruggeman nears the end of his life, he finds himself reminiscing about a life well lived.
Born in March of 1927 in Middletown, Bruggeman eventually joined the Army and served during World War II in Tokyo. By the time he was discharged in 1948, he had achieved a rank equivalent to sergeant, had crossed paths with the likes of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito and saw Admiral Tojo during the war crimes trial.
One of his six children, Cathy Bruggeman DeMarco, says that her dad’s legacy is about so much more than what he accomplished thousands of miles away from his home in and around Dayton. “Dad taught at Fairview High School (1958-83),” Demarco said. “And that was a highlight of his life. He went to a reunion recently, and he couldn’t walk 10 feet without someone stopping him and telling him how he was a mentor to them.”
Bruggeman’s time as an educator had him crossing paths with some famous Daytonians, including track star and Olympic champ Edwin C. Moses, whom he taught at Fairview, and Archie May, the Iowa State basketball player. Bruggeman also sponsored a group of students that included both May and Moses that ended up touring France.
“Dad taught at French, Latin and English at Beavercreek High School,” DeMarco said. “Then he taught at Fairview. He was the first French teacher at Beavercreek and the last French teacher at Fairview.”
Bruggeman and wife Jamie recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary with their children around them at The Wellington in Miamisburg, where they are living today. And though Bruggeman has suffered four heart attacks over the past 20 years and his health is rapidly failing, with the help of his wife and children, he recounts an incredibly full life.
Jamie said that’s exactly how he lived his life, calling his summers “off” from school, his “guaranteed layoff,” but filling them with construction jobs such as adding bedrooms on to his home, selling encyclopedias, driving cabs, working as a bartender, a painter and working in food service.
A graduate of the University of Dayton, Bruggeman taught Latin, French and English before retiring in 1985. “Dad served as a French interpreter for the NATO Conference in Dayton in 1980,” DeMarco said.
“It’s more important even after I retired that I knew what I was retiring to rather than what I was retiring from,” he once said. “Because if you are retiring to an easy chair, then you are doing the wrong thing!”
One of the first things Bruggeman did upon retiring from teaching was contact his friend Montgomery County Sheriff Tom Wilson about a possible job. “I became the first civilian to auction off foreclosed properties,” Bruggeman said. “I did that job for eight years, and we standardized a lot about the process.”
During his lifetime Bruggeman has traveled to Japan, China, Guam, the Philippines, Canada, France, Spain, England, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. He still enjoys crossword puzzles, word study, history, speaking French, eating out, movies, concerts and get-togethers with family and friends.
One such friend, a former student, Dan Wolf, wrote to Bruggeman a few years ago, and the two rekindled a friendship and forged a strong intellectual connection, DeMarco said. “Once a month Dan has come to visit him,” DeMarco said. “They have gone to some great historical places together.”
DeMarco said her dad is a person who forges connections with many people. “When you walk away, you always feel you’ve met a friend,” she said. “You feel you’ve met someone who cares about you. His children extend quite a bit beyond his physical family, and all my friends have always felt like he was there for them.”
Be sure and read more touching and beautifully written stories by Dan Wolfe, about our faculty and staff at the Fairview ’66 site