Marcus (Mike) Cordell Brune was born on July 14, 1926, the second of six children born to Oscar and Lydia Bertha Ruth (Gebhard) Brune. His dad’s parents, William Frederick and Pauline Wilhemenia Freie Brune came from Okarche, Oklahoma to the Panhandle in a covered wagon in 1902. His mother’s parents, Ernst August and Hulda Mathilda (Reigelman) Gebhard were both born in Germany and immigrated to the US in their teens. They married in Racine, Wisconsin, and moved to the town of Optima in the early 1900s.
Mike attended Optima schools through the eighth grade and graduated from Guymon High School in 1944. Growing up on a farm during the Great Depression was both a carefree time and one of hardship. When Mike was fifteen, most of the available bus drivers were serving in WW II or had to run dairies so Mike got his commercial license and drove the Optima school bus route to Guymon.
After graduation, Mike stayed on the farm until he was drafted in 1945. He was inducted in Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, and went immediately to Harlingen Army Airfield for training as an aerial gunner. With the end of the war soon after, no more gunners were being trained, and Mike went to San Antonio, then to Geiger Field in Spokane, Washington. He served one and a half years as an aviation engineer at Ladd Field in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he attained the rank of sergeant. At the time of his discharge he went on inactive reserve duty.
Mike returned to Guymon where he met Patricia (Pat) Brown, a hometown girl. They married on May 28, 1949. In 1950, when their first daughter Carla was an infant, Mike was called up from the reserves and sent to Korea. There he was a combat engineer, a frontline duty where his battalion built bridges and roads and laid minefields. He attained the rank of Master Sergeant while in Korea and had the privilege of shaking hands with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
When he returned to the Panhandle, Mike went to work for Phillips Petroleum and moved with his family to the Sherhan Plant south of Guymon. Two more daughters were born while they lived at the plant—Donna and Marsha. At the plant, Mike’s jobs included, boiler firer, engine operator, truck driver for the gang, and work in the cryogenic unit when the Helium plant went in. For the ten years prior to his retirement in July, 1985, he ran a backhoe. Because he worked shift work many of the years, Mike was able to follow other pursuits during the day.
He always loved horses, and had a barn, corrals, and a pasture four miles from the plant where he kept various livestock. During this time he broke around fifty mules that were used for the Grand Canyon. He also took twenty-two mountain trips of his own, riding his horse or mule over remote areas of eastern New Mexico and southern Colorado where he enjoyed the solitude of the mountains.
Mike attended Sherhan Baptist Church at the plant where he taught Sunday School. After moving to an acreage north of Guymon, he and Pat became charter members of Grace Southern Baptist Church, where he remained active the rest of his life, serving as greeter, usher, and assistant treasurer.
Some of the many hobbies and interests Mike enjoyed were saddle making, horse trading, restoring horse buggies, and entertaining his grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Pat in 2000, son-in-law Karl in 2001, one brother Evain Brune, and one sister Phyllis Crippen.
Mike is survived by three daughters Carla and husband Max Stewart of Wylie, Texas, Donna Brune of Guymon, and Marsha Mayer of Guymon. Also, two sisters LaRue Kiser of Liberal, Kansas and Carolyn Blair of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and one brother Dall Brune and wife Pat of Ridgecrest, California.
Mike is also survived by seven grandsons and their spouses Andrew and Amy Stewart of Perryton, Texas, Brett and Cindy Stewart of Orland, California, Scott Stewart of Edmond, Oklahoma, James and Allison Stewart of Lucas, Texas, Jonathan and Jen Mayer of Houston, Texas, Travis and Damaris Mayer of Tallahassee, Florida, and Robert and Kylee Mayer of Amarillo, Texas. He also had 15 great-grandchildren.
It’s hard to describe Mike Brune in just a few words. Brother. Son. Soldier. Horse trader. Buggy man. Story teller. Husband. Father. Grandfather. World traveler. Man of God. Pioneer of the Oklahoma Panhandle. As such, he was honored to be the Parade Marshal for the 2012 Pioneer Days.
Visitation for Mike is scheduled from 12:00 noon till 7:00P.M. Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at Henson-Novak Funeral Directors in Guymon.
Graveside funeral services for Mike are scheduled for 2:00 P.M. Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at Elmhurst Cemetery with Pastor David Player officiating.
Memorial contributions can be made in Mike’s honor to Grace Southern Baptist Church or charity of choice c/o Henson-Novak Funeral Directors, P.O. Box 1306 Guymon, Oklahoma 73942.
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