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Gene F. Bruyette

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Gene F. Bruyette Obituary

Gene F. Bruyette, of Bloomfield, CT and Stuart, FL - patriarch, entrepreneur, and philanthropist - died on December 8th surrounded by his loving family. It was two days after his 90th birthday. He leaves his beloved wife of 62 years, Kathleen Barry Bruyette, his daughter Michelle Melander and husband Thomas of Concord, MA, daughter Barry O'Laughlin and partner Brian Davis of Weston, MA, grandson Michael Melander and wife Kellie and great-grandchildren Jack and Nora, grandson Matthew Melander and wife Beth, grandchildren Katie, Will, Jayme, and Michaela O'Laughlin, sister Janet Fitzgerald, sister-in-law Veronica O'Brien, 14 nieces and nephews, and many great-nieces and nephews. Gene was predeceased by his daughter Sharon, son Brian, and grandson Gregory Melander, his parents Dr. Leo and Rhea Bruyette, his brother Dr. Leo Jr. and sister-in-law Betty Bruyette, and brothers-in-law Hubert Fitzgerald and Robert O'Brien. After serving in the Pacific in the US Navy during World War II, Gene graduated from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. He joined the Greater Hartford Junior Chamber of Commerce, where he met Harry Keefe, Jr., chairman of the 1952 Insurance City Open, who recruited Gene to the investment firm of R.L. Day, later acquired by Tucker Anthony. In 1962, Harry, Gene, and Norbert Woods founded Keefe, Bruyette, and Woods, and grew it into the leading boutique investment firm specializing in the banking industry. In 1989 Gene became Chairman and CEO when Mr. Keefe retired. Gene retired in 1991, but remained Chairman Emeritus. Gene's was a lifetime of giving back. His time, energy, and expertise, and at times his controversial opinions were shared, long even before there was financial capacity to give. Among his many interests were the Hartford Archdiocese fund, the Keefe Bruyette Fund at the School for Young Children, the Brian T. Bruyette Fund at Westminster School, and at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, the Bruyette Natatorium, Bruyette Athenaeum, the Presidential Fund, and a doctorate in pharmacology. He was a relentlessly strong proponent of financial literacy at any age. He co-chaired the 1955 ICO, precursor to the PGA Travelers Championship. He co-founded the Alleluia House of Avon, CT and served on the Board of Directors of St. Francis Hospital (Hartford) for 20 years, the Combined Hospital Fund, and was also a Financial Advisor to the archdiocese of Hartford on banking matters. He worked tirelessly for the KBW Family Fund after 9/11, and created the Mariner Sands Foundation to provide financial aid to Mariner Sands employees. For these and myriad good works, Gene was honored as a Knight of St. Gregory by the Catholic Church, a Doctor of Humane Letters by Univ. of St. Joseph, and Connecticut Philanthropist of the year in 2011. Gene was a life-long low-handicap golfer who waited till his mid-70's for his first hole-in-one, and then got three more in a matter of months. He served as Director of Wampanoag Country Club (West Hartford) and President of Mariner Sands Country Club (Stuart). In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations to two charities that held special meaning to Gene. The Mariner Sands Foundation, Attention: George Forsyth, 6125 SE Mariner Sands Drive, Stuart Florida 34997 or The Presidential Fund, Attention: Maggie Pinney, at The University of St. Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117. Funeral arrangements will be coordinated through Molloy Funeral Home. The wake will be held at St. Timothy's Church, 1116 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06117, on Friday, December 16th from 3:00-7:00. A mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, December 17th at St. Timothy's Church. Burial will be private. There will also be a memorial service at the Mariner Sands Chapel in Stuart, FL on a date to be determined.


Published in The Hartford Courant from Dec. 10 to Dec. 11, 2016
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