Obituary of Gerald Edgar Brunkhart
Jerry was born in Auburn Heights, Michigan on February 24th, 1939. His family relocated frequently, and his childhood was spent in various homes in Michigan, Florida and Indiana before settling in Doniphan, Missouri. A graduate of Doniphan High School, Jerry participated in varsity basketball, school theater, and excelled academically, graduating as valedictorian of the Class of 1957. He then attended the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla on an ROTC scholarship, where he ran track, sang with the glee club, and was a brother at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Jerry’s summers were spent working with the Missouri Department of Highways, before graduating third in his class with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1961.
After graduation, Jerry moved to the Washington, DC area to work with the Department of the Navy at David Taylor Model Basin. He left the model basin to honor his ROTC commitment, serving as Assistant Post Engineer at Fort Story in Virginia Beach and then in intelligence at Fort Eustis in Newport News. It was during his military service that he met and became engaged to Mary Howell of Virginia Beach, to whom he remained faithfully married for the rest of his life.
Following his military service, Jerry returned to work at David Taylor as a structural engineer, embarking upon a 35-year civil service career at the model basin where his contributions were frequently recognized. This culminated in his being honored as the 1989 recipient of the David W. Taylor Award for outstanding scientific research and achievement in engineering. He retired in 1995.
Jerry and Mary settled in Loudoun County where they lived together for 55 years and raised three sons. Jerry loved his adopted home state of Virginia and was frequently active in the community as a volunteer. Over the years, he served as Arcola Elementary PTA president, as a Cub Scout Pack Leader, and assisted with Loudoun Youth Soccer and the local Boy Scouts of America. In later years, he frequently participated in volunteer work with Pender United Methodist Church.
Jerry had a lifelong love for the outdoors, diligently maintaining his property and its beloved stand of white oaks. He enjoyed golfing, gardening, and was an ardent and faithful fan of the Washington Redskins. A dedicated husband and father, thoughts of providing for and protecting his wife, sons, and indeed, his entire extended family were never far from his mind, and they shall forever miss his affectionate devotion.