Robert H. “Bob” Brunner
October 7, 1932 - July 17, 2017

Robert H. “Bob” Brunner

Robert H. “Bob” Brunner
Oct 7, 1932 - Jul 17, 2017

Robert H. “Bob” Brunner
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Robert H. "Bob" Brunner,
84, of Indianapolis, departed this life on July 17, 2017 at his home. He was born October 7, 1932 in Brazil, IN to the late Louis E. and Erna (Fischel) Brunner. He was a 1950 graduate of Shortridge High School. A loyal Boilermaker, Bob earned his degree in business from Purdue University where he was active in theater and met his first wife Caroline Brunner, who preceded him in death in 2004. They married and moved to Indianapolis in 1954 and Bob joined the family business, Brulin & Co., which was established in 1935 by his father Louis and a business partner. Bob wore many hats at Brulin and eventually served as company President.

While at Brulin, Bob earned his law degree in 1981 by attending evening classes at Indiana University. In 1985 he embarked upon a second career as a labor arbitrator and worked in that capacity for over 30 years. Bob apprenticed with Marshall J. Seidman and became an often chosen and well liked Labor/Management Arbitrator traveling to several states to hear cases. Bob was on several rotating arbitration panels through the American Arbitration Association and others from which he received many assignments. Bob had several of his arbitration opinions published by Commerce Clearing House and its successor, The Bureau of National Affairs. Some of these have since been cited in other cases. During his time in office, Governor Frank O'Bannon appointed Bob to serve on the Public Employees Relations Board.

A kind soul and a humanitarian, as recently as the Friday before his death Bob was assisting someone who could not afford an attorney by creating legal documents for her.

Bob was an avid musician and an accomplished pianist. He sometimes said that if he could have made a living playing the piano, that would have been his first choice. Decades ago, he took an interest in Ragtime music and often traveled with his wife Caroline to Ragtime festivals. His musical interests later transitioned to old-time Jazz standards of the 1920s and 1930s, and through that music Bob was especially devoted to his longtime band the "Holidaires" which last played a gig on July 9. He derived great joy and satisfaction making audiences happy and forming new friendships through music. In the days preceding his death, Bob even expressed a newfound interest in bluegrass music.

A longtime member of All Souls Unitarian Church, Bob was very active during his times at both All Souls Unitarian and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, serving in several leadership positions and on many committees.

Bob had a second chance at love later in life and was devoted to his second wife Sylvia. Survivors include wife Sylvia Brunner; children Claire (Gus) Gordon and Dan (Holly) Brunner; grandchildren Charlotte Brunner, Jackson Brunner, Amy Gordon, Emory Brunner, and John Gordon; sister Anna Marti, niece Kimo Pope, and nephew Jesse Walsh; great-niece Hayden Walsh, and great-nephew, David Walsh; as well as many dear friends.

Following a private interment, a Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:00 PM Sunday, July 23, at All Souls Unitarian Church, 5805 E. 56th Street, Indianapolis. A reception with light snacks, also at All Souls, will follow the service. Memorial contributions are suggested in Bob's name to a charity of your choice. Online tributes at:

Healing Registry on Jul 20, 2017

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john bitter on Jul 22, 2017

I am sorry to hear of Bob's passing, having learned of it via the e-mail I received. I knew Bob through the many Classic Ragtime Society shows I attended and always enjoyed speaking with him . May he rest in peace.

Joan Reynolds on Jul 21, 2017

So very sad to hear of Bob's passing. We met through the Classic Ragtime Society many years ago, and often corresponded about old rag tunes and songs. He was such a nice gentleman! I enjoyed many of his performances in Indy! I know he is now playing his ragtime for the many friends he has joined!

Judi Izuka Campbell on Jul 19, 2017

"A kind soul and a humanitarian" ~ such an apt description of Bob. You will be so very deeply missed, Bob. Trippin' up to Stookey's, or more locally to that new fish market, will simply not be the same without your entertaining company. Rest, friend, and play your music everlasting. Aloha. Judi Izuka Campbell

Ron Campbell on Jul 19, 2017

CandleWe shared many trips to Stookey's to consume large amounts of catfish, onion rings, and a beer or two followed by Bob having coffee and a dessert. I would gain 20 pounds each trip just by watching him eat. On food, he would leave me in the dust. As he remarked to me, most people eat to live; he lived to eat. We have lost a great friend of many years.



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All Souls Unitarian Church
5805 E. 56th Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46226
1:00 PM

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