Wesley G. Bruer(1926 - 2013)

Wesley G. Bruer April 20, 1926 - January 4, 2013 His childhood was spent mainly in St. Helens, Oregon, a small mill town on the Columbia River. Though rather lanky he lettered in football (wearing leather helmets!) and track. An excellent student, he was able to graduate a year early. With WWII on going he tried immediately to join the Navy but at 17 he had to wait 6 months and have his mother sign her approval for him to enlist. Young and fearless he volunteered for the submarine service where with the rank of Signalman he and the rest of the crew of the USS Tuna roamed the South Pacific tracking down the Japanese Navy. In 1945 at 19 with the war over Wes while on leave went for a visit in Napa where he met the love of his life Odetha (Dee) and as soon they could they were off to Reno and married that same year. Back to Oregon to attend Oregon State University (Go Beavers!), Wes received a BS in Geology in 3 years graduating with honors. Working for various companies that took Wes and Dee to Washington, East Texas and all points, he finally landed in Bakersfield with Superior Oil. Here he met Jack Clare, B.G. Winter, and others who became life long friends. After being transferred around a few times he decided to go out on his own to become a consulting geologist. He worked with many companies and independent investors through the years and always had great stories to tell about everyone involved while "well sitting". From the "roughnecks", "tool pushers", "mud men" and everyone along the way he enjoyed the camaraderie of all. Wes believed in being involved with his community too. He was on the Bakersfield Planning Commission. Helping local candidates in their campaigns, walking the precincts door to door, Wes managed Bill Ketchum, first for his two successful California State Representative terms then his US House of Representative terms. He was not only active in the local chapter of AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) he went on to be elected President of the Pacific Section. He was proud to have helped Rep. Ketchum with writing the bill that passed into law, requiring the licensing of geologists in California. For this Wes was issued the #1 license. Through out this time he was involved in the Republican Party helping when and where he could. Supporting candidates whose vision he shared. In 1968 Wes was appointed by new California Governor Ronald Reagan to head 2 divisions, Mines and Geology, Oil and Gas also head of the California Energy Commission. While at this post in 1971 the devastating San Fernando earthquake hit and Wes was one of the first officially on the scene. His concerns and along with many others, influenced legislation (AlquistPriolo Act) that changed building codes through out the state regarding fault lines and other related issues. In 1973 Wes decided to leave his post to start back consulting. This led them back to Bakersfield. But following a long studied idea of discovering oil or natural gas in his home state of Oregon, he and Dee moved back to St. Helens to be closer to the action. In 1979 his hard work and vision paid off with discovery of a large natural gas field outside of Mist Oregon, the first in the state and still producing. In 1987 while out for a walk with Dee, Wes was struck down by a very severe stroke that completely paralyzed him on his right side. But armed with his strong will and the help of the great Physical Therapy staff at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, he was able to walk with a cane and be pretty independent to the amazement of his doctors. With Dee by his side, it was decided to move back to Bakersfield to be with a group of dear old friends. Here he enjoyed trips to the coast with friends. Traveling to San Francisco where he and Dee visited their daughter Lucia. Eating lunch out in Bakersfield meant for him either Mexicali or Woolgrowers. Often at either place he would be greeted by old oil biz acquaintances and friends. This always brought a smile. Wes leaves behind his devoted wife of 67 years Dee, daughter Lucia, his sister Marjorie Truedson of Seaside, Oregon, beloved nieces and nephews, dear friends and their families. He loved you all. No Services will be held. www.bakersfield.com/obits

Published in Bakersfield Californian on Jan. 9, 2013