DES MOINES — Don Bruntlett, 91, died peacefully as he had lived, on March 5, 2018.
Don Erwin Bruntlett was born on October 6, 1926 to E.J. and Ethel Bruntlett of Gowrie. He graduated from Gowrie High School and took a train to Chicago that same night to join the WWII effort as a radio operator. After WWII, he received an accounting degree from the University of Iowa and returned home to manage the Bruntlett Elevator and Bruntlett Farms in Gowrie. He married Phyllis Feddersen on June 22, 1956. The majority of Don’s professional life was spent as a commodity broker and his family and friends benefitted greatly from his sound, conservative investment advice.
Early on, Don and Phyllis created their “bucket list” and happily checked off completed items during their 57-year marriage. They gave birth to a boy and a girl. They adopted and loved several family canine companions. They enjoyed fine food, friends, and music. They moved to Lake Panorama and lived on the water. After Don retired, they sold the lake house, lived full-time in a motor home, and travelled the world. They finally settled into their last home at Scottish Rite Park in Des Moines in 2001.
Don’s lifetime passion was music. He played a baritone horn all through public school and college, and performed in many community bands throughout his life. When he taught teenagers in Sunday School, he would often forego traditional Bible study to introduce his class to Big Band and Swing music. There was always music in the Bruntlett home and in his life.
Don was proud of taking care of his family. Some would say he spoiled his kids. His love for his family and wife was truly inspiring. He always referred to Phyllis as his “honey” and he always made her feel beautiful. When Phyllis experienced dementia, Don demonstrated that he loved her more with each passing day.
In Don’s final years, he bravely faced the challenges of disability while trusting God to provide strength. Even with failing health, he continued to make good, sound decisions for himself and his family.
When Phyllis passed away in 2014, Don’s bucket list was complete and he looked forward to following her to heaven. Also preceding him in death were his parents E.J. and Ethel Bruntlett of Gowrie, his sister Shirley Bruntlett of Gowrie, many dear friends, and several beloved dogs who are surely welcoming him to heaven with their tails wagging and warm, sweet kisses.
Survivors include son Chip (Angie Jones) of Knoxville; Benet of Vancouver, Washington; lifelong friends Max Palmer of Des Moines and Sherry Johnson of Meeteetse, Wyoming; and his “adopted family” of residents and loving staff at Scottish Rite Park.
Memorials in Don’s name can be made to The Puppy Jake Foundation or to the Miller Fund at Scottish Rite Park in Des Moines.
As per Don’s wishes, he was cremated. A brief memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 10 at 2 pm at Scottish Rite Park, 2909 Woodland Ave., Des Moines. Private burial of his remains will take place at a later date in Gowrie, Iowa.