Life Properly Lived: Neighborhood remembers former Le Middle mayor and enterprise chief Robert Brunson | Information



(Above) Robert Brunson is photographed in a 1987 version of the Le Middle Chief taking his first oath of workplace with re-elected metropolis councilors Bev Kroll and Gary Issue. (Le Middle Chief archives)

(Left) Robert Brunson in his Air Power Reserves uniform as a youth. (Picture courtesy of the Brunson household)


A mayor, manufacturing chief, airman, world traveler, prepare dinner, grandpa, fisherman and golfer: few have worn as many hats of their life as Robert Clyde Brunson. On the age of 75, the previous Le Middle mayor and group president of engineered merchandise of Gibraltar Industries died on Oct. 19, 2021, however his legacy within the Le Middle neighborhood and Le Sueur County area lives on.

Brunson’s years of success within the enterprise world have been preceded by humble beginnings of his childhood residence in Tampa Bay, Florida. He was born on Oct. 10, 1946 to Esther and Walter Brunson in Clearwater, Florida and was the oldest of 4 siblings. After graduating from Brandon Excessive Faculty in 1964, he joined the Air Power Reserves.

Although he didn’t have sufficient money in his pockets to attend faculty, Brunson’s drive caught the eye of the company world. Through the first couple years of a 53 year-long marriage, Brunson and his new spouse Judy jumped from place to put as he climbed the company ladder. They moved to Cleveland, Ohio in his work for an engineering consulting agency earlier than work led them to Syarcuse, Indiana, Nashville, Tennessee and Manchester, Connecticut the place their son Travis was born. At simply 28 years outdated, Brunson was named Vice President of Operations on the Amicor Company and relocated to their division in Milan, Italy.

“For a man that didn’t have any faculty schooling in any respect, he obtained into the enterprise world fairly early and rose fairly quick,” stated Travis Brunson, son of Robert Brunson. “Folks noticed his potential and he was getting the job completed. That normally doesn’t occur, even again then, with out having some expertise which are obvious to different folks. Motivating, main folks and placing folks in the appropriate slot to get the job completed was undoubtedly an excellent energy of his.”

Brunson leaned into his administration expertise at AmiCor, the place he was regularly positioned in control of newly acquired corporations. After working with every agency for a number of months, he decided whether or not the enterprise could possibly be salvaged or needs to be scrapped. The work introduced him to locations like Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia earlier than Brunson and his household lastly settled in Le Middle, Minnesota.

In 1977, Amicor assigned Brunson to Winco, which was lately relocated from Sioux Metropolis, Iowa to Le Middle. A couple of months later, Brunson flew again to Italy to deal with troubles on the Milan location. When he got here again stateside, Brunson grew uninterested in the nomadic way of life and settled down within the Le Middle space.

A city as small as Le Middle was in contrast to anyplace the Brunsons lived earlier than, however the household got here to understand the close-knit neighborhood.

“It was an uncommon factor for each of us, as a result of earlier than we moved to Le Middle, Knoxville was the smallest place we lived and most of the people have heard of Knoxville, Tennessee,” stated Robert’s spouse Judy. “So Le Middle being 1,900 folks was an actual completely different state of affairs for us. We had by no means been in a state of affairs the place everyone knew everyone on the town and was associated to most individuals, it was a brand new expertise for us.“

Beginning in 1979, Brunson would spend the following 30 years of his profession at United Metal Merchandise in Montgomery. He joined the corporate as vp of operations and retired as group president of engineered merchandise for the producer’s mum or dad firm Gibraltar Industries. As group president, he additionally oversaw Appleton Provide Firm in Wisconsin and Semco Southeastern Metals in Jacksonville, Florida.



Robert Brunson

Robert Brunson as he appeared within the Le Middle Chief throughout his time as mayor. (Le Middle Chief archives)


Lexia Bosch, who labored with Brunson for a few years at USP, stated he was a supportive supervisor who helped her give attention to the larger image in operating a enterprise, reasonably than get tangled within the weeds.

“He was a really no nonsense supervisor. The folks that labored for him, he gave them leeway to do what they wanted to do of their jobs.” stated Bosch. “He supplied recommendation, he was there for help. He was undoubtedly not a micromanager; he believed in his folks and their expertise.”

Brunson’s curiosity in enterprise growth and politics ultimately led him to function mayor of Le Middle. He was politically opinionated, stated Judy, and spearheaded efforts to carry companies to Le Middle’s industrial park.

“He felt that the one option to get something completed was to start out on the grassroots degree,” stated Judy. “He was well-versed in what was happening politically, in addition to enterprise, and wished to carry companies into Le Middle. After we first moved there, jobs have been restricted, until you have been a farmer. He was instrumental in bringing that industrial park and most of the companies which are there.”

Throughout his time in Le Middle, Brunson made many shut friendships. He was a mainstay of the Le Sueur and Montgomery golf golf equipment, the place he performed weekly video games with Tom Hunt, then proprietor of Home of Insurance coverage Company and Gary Issue, who beforehand ran Issue Motors. When Tom Hunt died, his son Darian Hunt stated Brunson took him beneath his wing and invited him to the common golf outings.

“Robert was an excellent mentor to myself, though he wasn’t within the insurance coverage enterprise. He at all times made positive to verify on me and information me alongside,” stated Darian Hunt. “He was very enterprise savvy, and he had a bit of bit completely different view of enterprise than the small city view, however it was at all times nice to get his data.”

Family and friends described Brunson as reserved, however with an enormous coronary heart. He wasn’t the lifetime of the occasion, however his dry humorousness made him a magnet that folks sought out for his opinion, stated Travis.

“You’ll get some snark that was humorous,” stated Travis. “I bear in mind being frightened of messing up once I was a child. He was at all times very good; he didn’t yell or something, however man, don’t screw the pooch.”

He had such a penchant for humor that his granddaughters Samantha and Kate Brunson wrote a guide as youngsters titled “The World In keeping with Zeke.” It was stuffed with a few of their grandfather’s favourite sayings, like “Adults are well-trained. Youngsters might be educated. Idiots are hopeless.”

“That was the perfect reward he ever acquired. I feel he actually appreciated that,” stated Judy. “That was the one factor he would at all times carry round with him when he would come down [to Florida] and are available again up.”

In his later years, Brunson would break up time between visiting his household in Florida and spending time at his job and with associates in Minnesota. He spent many days at his Cape Coral pool together with his granddaughters, boating with family and friends out by his cabin on Lake Jefferson, fishing for walleye up in Ottawa and cooking meals for his household in the neighborhood.

At residence, Brunson was famend for his Spanish Paella recipe — so good that it’s a Christmas custom within the family. He additionally discovered his justifiable share of Italian dishes from his time in Milan and repeatedly brushed up on his expertise within the kitchen as an avid watcher of the Meals Community.

His well-known peanut brittle is a deal with nonetheless fondly remembered by many in the neighborhood. Brunson began making it for his Jody’s enterprise, Le Middle Impartial Summary, and even opened up his personal aspect enterprise with Bosch out of the Le Middle Sportsman’s Membership known as “Bob’s Connoisseur Brittle” for about three years.



Robert Brunson Air Force

Robert Brunson in his Air Power Reserves uniform as a youth. (Picture courtesy of the Brunson household)


At the same time as he handled congestive coronary heart failure in his final months, Brunson stored channeling his power into cooking, day buying and selling and walks — proper up till his final day.

“He was an excellent man. He was a very good human being,” stated Bosch. “It’s nonetheless type of robust to know that he’s gone.”

Attain Reporter Carson Hughes at 507-931-8575. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All Rights Reserved.

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