William Whitman Brunton

September 2, 1954July 22, 2018
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William Whitman Brunton Sept. 2nd, 1954 to July 22nd, 2018 Bill was a loving and faithful husband, good son, kind brother, helpful uncle, fun cousin and loyal friend who died far too soon at the age of 63. He was born in Staten Island, NY, the oldest of six children, and moved to San Diego at the age of 3. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Regina, his mother, Dorothy, his brothers Matthew, Steven, and Scott, and his sisters Susan and Kathleen. He also leaves behind many nephews and nieces, cousins in California and New York, and friends near and far. Extremely bright and motivated, he worked his way through college, graduating from SDSU with a degree in Comparative Literature. He and his college sweetheart married after graduation. He started his career at Pacific Bell in 1979 with messenger services, transferred to the real estate division, and was able to retire in 2009. Along the way he made many true and enduring friendships and referred to them as ‘my work family’. Bill had a sharp wit and loved to have a good time. His interests included anything to do with science, collecting and classifying mushrooms, gardening, raising goldfish in his pond, photography, writing prose and poetry, woodworking, birding and hiking. He enjoyed cooking, loved good food, and would often try new recipes or replicate something he had liked while dining out. No matter what needed to be done, he would figure out a way to do it, whether at work or at home. Both his father Bill and father-in-law Al instilled in him a love of fishing. He spent many hours fishing with both of them and was his father-in-law’s best fishing buddy at their camp in Mexico. He liked to travel and always made sure there was some there was some kind of fishing involved in any trip he took with his wife, family or friends. His father’s family owned a summer property in Vermont, which was also one of his great loves. Until For the past 25 years or so, and until his Dad died in 2014, they would go every summer. Because the house was no longer structurally sound, he and one of his architect friends shored up the foundation as best they could so his father could safely go into the house he had enjoyed so much as a child. He and his Dad bought a trailer and moved it onto the property. Bill built piped in running water from the spring and made sure it was safe for his Dad and Mom when they stayed there during the summer. To protect the trailer from the harsh winters, he built a large snow shelter over it. One day he looked at it and thought, “I could convert this into a house”. With friends, family, and his phone company skills, he had a well dug, built a pump house, and had septic installed. He began construction on a two bedroom house, finishing one room at a time, over the past 10 years. In the process he made a dear friend, Dan Wilkins, and was made an honorary member of the Wilkins family. We recently found out they were distantly related through the Clough (pronounced Clew) family line, over which he and Dan were very pleased. His last project was the construction of a two car garage, which he finished in September 2017. He built it with the help of his wife, Vermont friends, and cousin John. He had many good times around the campfire with his family, aunt and uncle, cousins, and friends. The house and garage were his proudest achievement. Although he appeared gruff and could be abrasive, he had one of the kindest hearts. After his grandfather died, he would often kiss his grandmother goodbye twice, one kiss from him and one kiss from grandpa. His Aunt Bobbie Gorry summed it up best when she said, “There will never be another Billy”. He life may have been relatively short but was well lived, and he will be sorely missed. My thanks to Bill’s family and friends who helped us over the past few months, especially to Bill’s cousin Diane, my brother Mark, and Bill’s brother Steve and his family, and for all of their moral support. His nephew Wyatt was the apple of his eye and he was always cheered by his smiling little face. My thanks to my friend Julie Biewer (prounced bee-wer), whose medical knowledge and wonderful outlook was always graciously offered whenever needed. Please let me express the most heartfelt gratitude on behalf of myself and Brunton family to his friend Steve Bennett, who stayed with us for the last week of Bill’s life and gave us both the most tender care anyone could wish for. Bill could not have asked for a more devoted friend.

For Bill

Bill Brunton became my friend in the 10th grade because of a party one night at Gary Fletcher’s house near Mt. Miguel High School. He became my friend when he walked me home after I had gotten sick at the party. He walked me home even though it was a mile and a half walk in a direction more than 90° away from his direction home. He didn’t even know me, but he wanted to make sure that I got home OK. Ever since that night 47 years ago, we have been friends. Over the years we had our differences. We had our arguments, but we never got into a physical fight, for which I am very thankful because I would have come out on the losing end. But one time we did come close to fisticuffs, although I can no longer recall the reason why. It might have been something I did – like knocking over the table where we were playing poker for keeps. I thought it was funny, but nobody else did. Or it might have been something he said. He had a knack for saying things that offended at least some of the people in the room. Whatever the cause may have been, we never came to blows and soon forgot about the whole affair. We had too many other things to do. Back then in high school, Bill was the only guy wearing a hat. Wherever he went and whatever he did, he always wore an old Australian bushwhacker hat. He wore it at school and concerts, which made it easy to find him in a crowd. He wore it on his paper route. He wore it when he drove us up to the top of Mt. Helix to drink Southern Comfort, and he kept his hat on while driving down the mountain at a speed that put prayers in our mouths and would have given his father a heart attack if he had known about it. He wore it until it was so beaten and battered that you could see streaks of sky between its brim and crown. He would probably still be wearing it now if it hadn’t vanished from the earth. Its fate was a matter of conjecture. Some of us thought it had simply disintegrated. Others believed his mother had a hand in its demise. Years later, when Bill used to take me fishing, I always wondered why he never bought another hat to shade his head from the hot sun. I guess he was just a one-man-one-hat kind of guy. I have so many fond memories of fishing with Bill in his boat, where we drank a lot of beer and caught a couple of fish. I have a particularly vivid memory of the time we were anchored a few hundred yards off of Point Loma. Behind me, a gray whale came up for air not five feet away from the boat. The explosive burst of air from her blowhole made me almost jump out of the boat in fright. Bill was laughing so hard I thought he was going to die then and there. We didn’t catch any fish that day, but Bill saw a whale up close, and I nearly peed my pants at the sound of one. Memories like this one have been coming to me ever since I learned that Bill was dying of cancer. The whole time I have been thinking of him and the good times we had together. But more importantly, I have thought of the good things he did for me and the people I loved. He did these things without any fanfare or ballyhoo. I thought of that long walk home so many years ago. I thought about the funerals of my mother and father, which I was not able to attend. But Bill went to both and said words that rang true and touched the hearts of the people gathered there. And in my absence, he delivered the eulogy at the funeral of my brother Dave. But nothing says more about Bill than how he treated my brother while he was still alive. In his last years, my brother was bedridden in a nursing home in Chula Vista. He was unable to communicate due to an incurable degenerative disease. Although my brother could not communicate as we do, he still responded to books probably because before the disease had got hold of him, he had earned a Ph.D. in English literature. So from time to time Bill visited him and read to him aloud. That might sound like an easy thing to do. But it wasn’t. For you see, in order to read to Dave, you first had to sign in at the reception desk and then get buzzed through the entry door. And then you had to walk down endless corridors that reeked so strongly of urine, feces and cleaning fluid that you always had to fight the urge to gag. Once you got to my brother’s room, the smell would subside a bit because it was a corner room with open windows on both exterior walls, but the smell was still present. And there Bill would open up a book and read to Dave. Bill did that. Nobody else outside of my immediate family did that: none of my other friends; none of Dave’s friends. I guess they didn’t have the time. Chula Vista is a bit out of the way. Or they just couldn’t get past the smells. Bill made the time, and the smells weren’t strong enough to keep him from coming and doing what he did. When I think of Bill and what he might be doing now, I believe that after a very long walk through the night, he has finally made it home. And I like to think that after all these years, he finally found his hat waiting for him there.


  • Visitation Monday, July 30, 2018
  • Memorial Service Tuesday, July 31, 2018
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, July 31, 2018

William Whitman Brunton

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Steve Ball

August 1, 2018

Bill, (and Regina)
I'm sorry I missed your memorial service...and we never got together except for the occasional school reunion...but mostly because I missed out on your friendship! I only ever had one friend that showed up as Aloysius Muletree in the Mt Miguel yearbook, and that was you, my friend.

Judy Anderson

July 30, 2018

Bill has always held a very special place in my heart. He was smart, funny, rough around the edges, and had the most outrageous dirty word vocabulary that he was so proud of. It seemed to give him pure pleasure to annoy and get a reaction from some people. Underneath the rough edges was a poet and a sensitive soul with a big heart. I will never forget how he loved the Cowan family, especially my brother Bob, our mom, my brother Dave and my daughter Cindy who is developmentally disabled and deaf/blind. He was compassionate and interested in Dave as his mental and physical health declined and whenever he saw me, he always wanted to know how Cindy was doing. He had great love for Regina and many people in his life. Bill was definitely a caring, interesting, complex man and he will be missed.

Janet Nethery

July 29, 2018

I was so sorry to her about the passing of my work buddy Bill. Although it has been many many years since I had last seen him I have very good memories of our time together in the mail room of Pac Bell. He could be gruff and sarcastic but that's what I liked about him he made me laugh and made a very boring job tolerable. We both moved on to other departments in the phone company and I occasionally ran into to him and I was always glad to see he was the same old Bill. Reading his obituary it sounds like he lived the good life and it was obvious he was loved by so many and will be truly missed by them all. Like a shooting star his life was too short . Please accept my heartfelt condolences on your loss Regina, family and friends

Deborah Smith

July 29, 2018

RIP Billy! We will miss your fun loving ways, your stories, around the campfires, your generosity, and your love for your wife, friends and family. You will truly be missed by us. Cousin Debbie and husband Jack See you in the other side.

Barbara Tarlau

July 28, 2018

The first time I met Bill was shortly after he and Regina began dating. He was always trying to shock me. Instead, he made me laugh. And, despite the gruff exterior, he had a very sensitive side. When Regina's mother became very ill, it was Bill who called to say that Regina needed me. I'll miss his wry sense of humor and love of the outdoors.