Ivan Bruner of Madison passed away on June 3, 2019. He was born in O'Brien County, Iowa, on December 21, 1924, the son of Ross and Edna (Yungbluth) Bruner.
Ivan spent the first 19 years of his life growing up on a farm in Iowa. In February 1944, he joined the U.S. Navy Air Corp. After boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Station, Ivan attended aviation ordinance school in Memphis, TN, where he earned a promotion to petty officer. He also graduated from two aerial gunnery schools and two naval operations schools. The Navy assigned him to an air crew to conduct operations in four-engine Liberator Bombers. His crew was designated to train pilots. He was also first ordinance man and naval gunner aboard the bomber. Ivan was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy Air Corp in March 1946.
Ivan married Eva Lou Lord in 1945 and they had two sons, Ross and Jay.
After leaving the Navy, Ivan worked with the American Fidelity and Casualty Insurance Company as a claim adjustor. He remained with the company for 22 years leaving as a branch manager of five mid-western states.
While working for the insurance company, Ivan became interested in land development, building construction, and property management. As this business grew, he found it necessary to end his career with the insurance company. He continued his work in development and property management until his death. He enjoyed working with all he met during this career.
In 1976 Ivan married Virginia "Gini" Morrison. They have been members of Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison since 1976 where Ivan served as an usher and a past chairman of the Radio and Television Committee.
Ivan enjoyed both watching and participating in sports. He loved his Packers, Bucks and Iowa Hawkeyes. He played basketball and baseball in Iowa. In 1960 Ivan coached a little league baseball team called the Dirty Sox. Ivan was drawn to the sport of paddleball and played often at the central Madison YMCA. In 1968 Paddleball became racquetball. Ivan joined in with a huge passion for the sport. In 1971, the National Masters Racquetball Association started and 10 Masters players held the 1st national tournament in Pennsylvania. Ivan became the association president for the next 23 years. The association grew to over 1000 members and now holds both National and International events.
Ivan along with several partners won 23 U.S. National Doubles Tournaments and 12 International Doubles Tournaments.
He also served three years as the U.S. Racquetball Commissioner and six years on the International Racquetball Association Board of Directors. He was elected to the Wisconsin Racquetball Hall of Fame and also the U.S. Racquetball Association Hall of Fame. He was very proud of his racquetball achievements but more importantly to him were the friends he made playing locally and worldwide. He always traveled with his racquet as he could find a game wherever he was!
Ivan was preceded in death by his mother and father, Ross and Edna Bruner; brothers Marvin, Bruce, and Rodney; sisters Eleanor and Phyllis; and two step-sons, Donald and James Morrison, and a nephew, Brad Bruner.
He is survived by his wife Virginia; two sons, Ross (Julia) Bruner, Las Cruces, NM; Jay (Sally) Bruner, Madison; four grandsons, Travis Bruner, Flagstaff, AZ; Tyler (Patty) Heinzmann, Dane, WI; Stacy (Taylor) Bruner, Madison, WI; Chris (Melissa) Morrison, Madison; and four granddaughters, Jill Lenhardt, Weston, MA; Lindsey (Chris) Kromm, Fitchburg; Sara (Allen) LaCrosse, Milwaukee; and Deanna Morrison, Madison. He is further survived by eight great-grandsons, Colin, Blake, and Davis Lenhardt: Myles Heinzmann, Preston Kromm, Tyler and Connor Morrison, and Grayson LaCrosse; and four great-granddaughters, Jacey Heinzmann, Scarlett and Mabel Kromm and Morgan LaCrosse. He is survived by one brother, Donald (Vera) Bruner, Norfolk, NE; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held at 12:00 noon on Monday, June 10, 2019 at BETHEL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 312 Wisconsin Avenue, Madison, with Pastor John Swanson officiating. A visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. until the time of service at church. A reception will follow at church.
In lieu of memorials, please consider a donation to the Salvation Army, or any charitable organization of your choice.
Ivan was a great family man, father and friend and will be missed by all that knew him.
Rest peacefully Friend... we all know you deserve it.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison
"Dear Family. I am real sorry to hear about Ivan?s death. I knew him from the racquetball club and occasionally I played doubles with him. We would talk in the locker room about WWII and his life growing up in Iowa. He was a great guy to talk with. I remember him saying that upon entering the Navy, basic training was a vacation for him after his working days on the farm. He was truly a gentleman and we will all miss him. I?m blessed to have known him. "
"Janice and I offer our deepest condolences to Gini and the entire Brunner family with the loss a fine gentlemen and close friend. We have know Ivan for over 50 years with our association in racquet. I considered Ivan a true friend and very competitive racquetball player. If I recall correctly we had a 29-match winning streak with the noon old-timer players. Quite an accomplishment since our combined age far exceeded that of our components. Ivan will be missed by Gini and his extended family as a kind and loving gentlemen. Rest in Piece Ivan until be meet again. Jim (and Janice Lucht)"
"My sympathies to Jay and all the family. Ivan was always fun to chat with."
"The volunteers, flight team and board of Badger Honor Flight mourn the loss of their hero, Ivan Brunner. We are thankful for his military service and proud to have served him on his trip to Washington, D.C. on May 4, 2013."
"Jay, so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts.
Jeff and Jeanine Olsen "
"Ivan - take your raquet with you. A good and kind man will always find a game. Thoughts with Ginny and family. Steve A"
"It was such a pleasure to know Ivan...a good friend to us and a caring person to so many. He made all of our lives better with his generous smile and loving heart. Our thoughts are with Gini and the Bruner family during this difficult time. May you find strength in the wonderful memories and the love of family and friends that surround you. - Don, Doris & Dyanne Singler"
"What a wonderful man! Ivan will be missed , so many great memories and his smile will always be with us, My thoughts & prayers are with Gini and family???"
"Ivan enjoyed life and sharing his love of racquetball with many people. It was always a privilege to play on the same court with him. He will be greatly missed. Deepest sympathy to the entire Brunner family."