The Transylvania Times -

Jim Bruening


Last updated 7/13/2020 at 2:52pm

Jim Bruening passed away July 6, 2020, of natural causes at the home he built in Penrose.

He was the first of the late Arthur and Bertha Bruening’s six children, Betty Shappie, Jacob Bruening (deceased), John Bruening (deceased), Joseph Bruening and Bernadette Arehart. He was born in Greenville, Ohio, March 3, 1948, and grew up on the family farm raising livestock, as well as growing crops.

After attending Versailles High School in 1966, he attended Indiana Technical Institute and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1970. He graduated on a Saturday, but the Wednesday before, he married the love of his life, Rebecca Ann Simon, of Willowdell, Ohio. After graduation they moved to the Chicago area, where he obtained his MBA from Perdue University in 1973. Shortly after they moved to South Carolina, where they fell in love with the South. In 1977 they welcomed their first child, Jacob, and two and a half year later, their second child, Jeffrey, in 1979. While in South Carolina, they met several life-long friends.

In 1981, the family moved to Charlotte, N.C. He has always been a renaissance man, believing that if you want something done right, learn how to do it yourself. He took auto body repair class to fix his Camaro, built a garage for the house, as well as a screened-in porch, and remodeled a bathroom, where he and the boys found an old coke bottle in the wall and put it back. He also explored classes through CPCC in cooking, painting and stained glass.

In 1988 the family moved to Germany. He took advantage of the move to travel throughout Europe with his family. During these trips he tolerated stories from his kids about attacks of killer apple strudel when they got bored of all the church tours. In 1989 the family moved back to the United States, with a short stay in New Jersey, before returning to Charlotte. Here he really embraced his two favorite hobbies, wood working and gardening, building gates with arches, another screened-in-porch, and cultivating a garden that was eventually designated as a horticultural preserve.

In 2008 they started to act on their dream of building a retirement house on property they bought in Penrose. Continuing his tradition of “learning to do,” he took architecture and general contractor classes.

After retiring from Wellman Inc. in 2010, they moved to temporary housing in Etowah, while they broke ground on their retirement home. Immediately they found a loving, caring community in the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. During the construction, he was diagnosed in 2011 with Parkinson’s disease. They became active members of the Brevard Hendersonville Parkinson’s Support Group that became so important to them both as they learned and adapted to this disease.

During 50 wonderful years of marriage they built a beautiful family. He is survived by his wife, Becky; his two sons, Jacob and wife; Buffy; Jeffrey and wife, Jennine; and his two grandchildren, Jensen and Juliette.

He was a deeply faithful Roman Catholic who lived his life by the teachings of the Church.

A quote that he carried around in his wallet, next to pictures of his family every day, and lived by: “To laugh often and much: to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Because of current conditions, a service will not be held until March 6, 2021.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014, or

To leave a condolence for the family of James J. Bruening, visit “obituaries” at

Moore- Blanchard Funerals & Cremations is serving the family.


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