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Arthur Richard Brusa
Husband, Father, Coach, Farmer, Yankee Fan
Arthur Richard Brusa, 86, of Gonzales, passed away Thursday, April 4, 2013. He was born May 13, 1926, in Salinas.
Art was the fourth of six children born to immigrants from Ticino, Switzerland. Art lived a rich life, full of love for family and the youth of our community. He and his life-long love, LaVerne Brusa, were married almost 63 years. They were partners in every sense.
Art farmed for 50 years on the Williams Ranch south of Gonzales, where he and LaVerne raised their family. Art approached farming with the same zeal as he did the rest of his life. He had extraordinary yields with beets, lettuce, potatoes, celery and many other crops. He also recruited local youth to work on the ranch during the summer months. It is well known that if someone survived Art's summer training camp they could work anywhere.
Art served proudly in WWII in the Merchant Marines. He associated with the "House of Knowledge" men's-only group that met daily at Art Brazzi's house in Gonzales.
Early in his life, Art discovered baseball, and his passion for Joe DiMaggio of the San Francisco Seals made him an ardent New York Yankees fan. He started a youth baseball training program, called "Midget League," which he ran at their Williams Ranch home for 21 years. LaVerne kept score while both boys and girls as young as four years old learned the love of the game. He organized Babe Ruth, Pop Warner, and youth basketball leagues throughout the Salinas Valley. He was one of the founding members of the Gonzales Booster Club. The Gonzales Booster Club organized many community events. One of these was the annual Gonzales Booster Club basketball tournament. The success of this 35 year tournament can be credited to Art's leadership and dedication. Other Booster Club events included an annual Easter Egg Hunt and the games for the Fourth of July celebration.
Art was guided by a profound Christian faith, a member of St. Theodore's Catholic Church in Gonzales for 86 years. He gave from his heart, and his community service was recognized during his lifetime: Recipient of the Jefferson Award in 2009; named "Father of the Year" in 1984 by the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and the M.C. Cowbelles; Outstanding Service from the California Parks and Recreation Society, 1984; inducted into the Gonzales High School Athletic Hall of Fame; was named to the Inaugural Class of the Salinas Valley Sports Hall of Fame by Public Recreation United; the Gonzales Little League baseball field was named the Art Brusa Field in 2001; he served on both the Gonzales Elementary and the Gonzales Union High School District Boards; the President of the Gonzales Cemetery Board; the Vestry for St. Theodore's; President of the Swiss-American Club; President of the Gonzales Little League for 12 years; the Commander of the American Legion Post 81; President and Honorary Life Member of the Parent Teacher Association.
While Art's accomplishments are many, he will be most remembered for his love of life and love of people. He was a big personality, who touched many lives during his 86 years on this earth. Some words to describe Art are unique, loud, passionate, wild and crazy, mischievous, exuberant, sometimes overwhelming, but always inspiring.
Art is survived by his dedicated wife, LaVerne; children, Kathy Brusa Mitani (Oscar Cisneros), David (Leticia Rolon), Michael (Federica), Steve (Ellen), and Stan (Susie); 12 grandchildren, Kenji and Zach Mitani, Eva Mendoza (Jose), Bernie (Ella), Ernesto (Roxanne), John and Brianna Brusa, Melissa and Alex Brown, Jack Saunders Brusa, Samantha and Joseph Cisneros; four great-grandchildren, Ariana, Bella, Max, Nico; sisters, Adeline Stennick (David) and Rita DuBroy; and cousins by the dozens.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, April 10, 2013, from 1 to 7 p.m., at Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis, Salinas, 93901.
Rosary will be held Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 7 p.m., in the Struve and Laporte Chapel.
Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, April 11, 2013, at 10 a.m., at St. Theodore's Catholic Church, 116 S. Belden St., Gonzales, CA 93926.
Burial will follow in the Gonzales District Cemetery.
Donations can be made to Gonzales Little League for maintenance of the Art Brusa Field in Gonzales, CA, so every child in South Monterey County has a place to play baseball; 501 First St., Gonzales, CA 93926.
Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home. Online condolences to www.struveandlaporte.com
Struve and Laporte Funeral Chapel
41 West San Luis
Salinas, CA 93901
Published in The Salinas Californian from Apr. 6 to Apr. 9, 2013