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Donald G Brunner (1926 - 2007)


Donald G. Brunner, 1926 – 2007. Don was an avid pilot and loved life. He logged over 5,000 hours in a variety of aircraft he owned and built. The airplanes ranged from a single engine Maule to a twin engine Baron. He held his single engine land, multi-engine land and single engine sea licenses. Since he was an engineer by trade, it did not surprise people when he decided to start building airplanes. He built a total of 6 airplanes including Kit Foxes (with and without floats), Avid Magnum, Slipstream Genesis, Zenith CH701 and his favorite, the Glass Air. All of the airplanes he built have the signature tail numbers ending in ‘DG.’ He flew some of these planes from Wisconsin to Pine Shadows airpark in Florida where he enjoyed several winters.

Don was a proud lifetime member of the EAA and strong promoter of the organization. He was active in the Young Eagles program introducing youth to the world of aviation. At Airventure, his contributions are represented with a ‘WF’ on the bases supporting the roped off areas, standing for the Waupaca Foundry. Don began working at the 13 man Waupaca Foundry Operation as a plant manager. He helped grow the Foundry to what it is today, 6 high production facilities employing over 3,600 people. His employees knew his rule, “work hard, play hard.” Don was the president and CEO of the Waupaca Foundry from 1972 until his retirement in 1997. In appreciation of Don’s dedication, leadership and determination the road leading up to the Waupaca Foundry was renamed Brunner Drive. In 1997 the City of Waupaca renamed its airport “Brunner Field” in recognition of Don’s commitment to the city and passion for the airport.

Airport, 68C, just north of Ogdensburg, WI held a special place in Don’s heart. He met a lot of great people there. Every Friday a group of pilots would gather for lunch. Don had a vision to create a place where pilots could meet in the name of camaraderie. He helped design and fund the clubhouse building. People still meet here every Friday for lunch, some flying in from all over the state to share in the common bond of flying.

Due to his modest nature most people who knew Don did not know that he was at the top of his class while obtaining his engineering degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Or that he was the recipient of the Iron Casting Society’s Gold Medal, American Foundry Society’s Gold Medal, AFS William F. Grede Award or the JHW Gold Medal, just to name a few.

Don’s children and grandchildren cherish the time they spent with their father and grandfather. There was never a dull moment. Several of his family members continue Don’s passion for aviation. Don’s family and everyone who met him will always remember Don’s mischievous nature and especially his chuckle and tell-tale grin.


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8/5/2008 12:35:13 PM Flag As Inappropriate
Thanks for the memories, Don
Submitted by: Bill Stark
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