Dr. Joseph Edward Bruggman, of Turlock, CA died peacefully on July 23, 2017 in Benicia, CA. He was 99 years old.
Joseph is survived by his children, Nancy Spies, Betty Heise, and Donald Bruggman; his two grandchildren Scott Heise and Mark Heise; his four great-grandchildren Logan Heise, Jane Heise, Kailey Heise, and William Heise; and his sisters Winnie, Iola, and Cecilia. He is preceded in death by his first wife Edna Ruge, to whom he was married 44 years until her death in 1986, and his second wife Adalene McKnight, to whom he was married for 17 years until her death in 2004.
Joseph was born on August 24, 1917 near Williams, CA to Guss and Emma Bruggman, and was the fifth child of 13 children. He attended Junior College in Sacramento, CA and then obtained a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State, where he paid his way through college by playing trumpet in local dance bands. While at San Jose State, he met his first wife and fellow music major, Edna. Both pursued careers in education, and he went on to obtain a Master’s degree in education and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in music from Columbia University in New York City in 1949. He then taught music at the University of Redlands from 1949 to 1957, followed by teaching junior high school students for three years. In 1960, he was invited by Dr. J. Burton Vasche, the founding president, to be one of the original faculty of the new Stanislaus State College (now California State University, Stanislaus) in Turlock, where he started and chaired the music department in addition to teaching. He pioneered activities in student government and served as the first Dean of Students before returning to teaching in the music department. He retired from education as Professor Emeritus in 1985.
In addition to his illustrious career in education, he served in North Africa and France as an intelligence officer in the United States Army Air Corp during World War II and on active duty at March Air Force Base during the Korean War, eventually retiring from the Air Force Reserves as a lieutenant colonel after 27 years of service.
Joseph was an accomplished musician and active in local music and community groups, including the Modesto Symphony and his own Dixieland group, Joe’s Dixie Dads, the dance band at the Turlock Senior Center, the Turlock Community Concert board, the Crippled Children’s Society, the Regional Arts Council, the Arts Guild, and the first Turlock Arts Council. He was a member of Kiwanis for over 40 years, having serving as President and Lieutenant General. His other hobbies included worldwide travel, bowling, photography, dancing, reading, and genealogy.
A memorial service is scheduled for 10:30 am on Monday, August 28, 2017 at First United Methodist Church, 1660 Arbor Way in Turlock, CA with a burial to follow at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella, CA. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Joseph’s life. In lieu of flowers or plants, memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church or the charity of your choice.
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