OBITUARY

Jeffrey Lauren Brudney

May 2, 1950April 4, 2021

Dr. Jeffrey L Brudney passed away surrounded by family on April 4, 2021, after a brief and sudden illness.

Jeff was born May 2, 1950, in Oakland, CA, to Lillian and Alfred Miller. After Alfred’s passing, Jeff was raised by Ernest Alexander, his uncle who lived next door, and later by step-father David Brudney. Jeff’s undergraduate degree was from the University of California Berkeley and he earned his PhD from the University of Michigan. In 1979 Jeff married Nancy, the love of his life, and was fond of declaring that while he “did the professing,” she did “everything else.” The couple moved to Norman, OK, where Jeff started his career at the University of Oklahoma as a professor of Public Administration. In 1984, Jeff accepted a position at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, where he studied volunteerism and non-profits. Over their 24 years in Athens, the couple raised 3 children. As a father, and ultimately as a grandfather as well, Jeff was enthusiastically involved with his children’s activities and eagerly supported all endeavors.

After leaving UGA, Jeff spent 5 years as a distinguished professor at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, OH. In 2012, he became the Cameron Family Distinguished Professor of Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector at UNCW, where he continued to work with his trademark intensity until his untimely death.

Jeff will be dearly missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and students around the world as the consummate mentor and a prolific researcher and publisher.

Jeff is survived by his beloved wife Nancy Brudney, daughter Megan Brudney (Zach Berg), of Detroit, MI, son Philip Brudney (Rachel), of Atlanta, GA, and son Evan Brudney, of Raleigh, NC; grandchildren Adelynn Brudney, Nathan Brudney, and Dov Berg, and aunt Frances Alexander (the late Ernest Alexander). He was preceded in death by parents Lillian Brudney, Alfred Miller, step-father David Brudney, and brother Avery Miller.

The family welcomes charitable donations made in Jeff’s memory to Temple of Israel, Nourish North Carolina, or the organization of your choice.

Services

  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Memories

Jeffrey Lauren Brudney

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Cole Staley

April 11, 2021

Dr. Brudney will always mean so much to UNCW, PIA, and the numerous students that he inspired to go beyond what they thought was possible.
At the end of my undergraduate career, I was determined to go to graduate school. Dr. Brudney knew this, but with my subpar undergraduate record, he knew there was a chance that it wouldn't be right for me. But he vouched for me anyways. I remember how he called, right before the admissions board was about to meet. He said he was placing alot of faith in me. That he was taking a risk with me, but that he knew I could succeed. At that moment, I didn't know if I could. But honestly, I pretended that I knew I could, mainly to prove myself wrong and Dr. Brudney right.

In a month or so, I'll be graduating, with not one but two graduate degrees. And that is all thanks to Dr. Brudney. At times, he believed in me more than I believed in myself. And I will be forever grateful. I personally know numerous students that have had similar experiences with Dr. Brudney. That without Dr. Brudney in their life, things could have been completely different. He was truly a gift and we all deeply appreciate and cherish that he was a part of our lives as well. Thankful, forever and always.

Rachel Lane

April 8, 2021

Remembering my all time favorite professor and academic mentor, Dr. Jeffrey Brudney, Cameron Family Distinguished Professor of Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector at UNCW. I was first his student as an undergraduate and then had the incredible opportunity to serve as his Graduate Teachers Assistant during my graduate school journey. I worked with him and Rachel Bodkin-Fox for his Building a Better Wilmington Campaign. He is the reason I pursued my Master of Public Administration.

Dr. Brudney is the most brilliant and intelligent human I have ever known. He was a committed scholar and I always have admired that about him. Most of all, he guided me through my academic career, provided me with countless academic and community opportunities and revealed potential in me that I never would have uncovered myself. He had this incredible ability to make you feel like the only person in the room and asked thoughtful questions about what you shared. He had this sort of key that only he could use to unlock the door to making you feel special and listened to. I always loved that he always kept a snack near by :) some sort of bread, cake or cookie. During my time with him he had many trips around the world scheduled and he was always so kind to remember to bring me something back. I still have the small figurine he gave me from a trip to Budapest. He lived a life of service and taught me how to best use my gifts to serve my community and my family. I would not be who I am without him.

Most of all Dr. Brudney was kind. When my Dad was sick and transitioning to the other side he offered such kind words and patience as I navigated through finishing school and work for him. He will be greatly missed but I know his kindness and light will continue on through the hearts of those he knew, those he taught and those he helped. I am forever changed and grateful to have known him.

Sally Baker

April 8, 2021

Dear Nancy and Family,
Dave and I are heartbroken; you are all in our thoughts and prayers. We are so very fortunate to have had Jeff as a wonderful neighbor and a fine friend. We cherish the many meals, evenings, movies and discussions we shared together. Dave loved listening to his professing stories, and Jeff to Dave's crazy outdoorsy stories.
We hope the loving memories you have of him as a husband, father and grandfather will help ease your sorrow.
Nancy, always keep in touch. You always have a place to come visit when you are ready.
Sincerely,
Sally and Dave Baker

David Thorne

April 8, 2021

Dr. Brudney's research has inspired me over the past few years. As I have researched volunteer management he has always been very kind and gracious. He was on my dissertation committee a few weeks ago and asked if he could help me publish my research. I feel honored to have had him on my committee and am thankful for his gracious and generous contribution to the field.
David Thorne
drairwolf@me.com

Yuan (Daniel) Cheng

April 8, 2021

Dear Nancy, Megan, Phil and Evan,

I am so sorry for the passing of Dr. Bruney. Dr. Brudney is one of the kindest people I know. He is such a caring and supportive mentor, collaborator, and friend. His research motivated and paved the way for my own research journey. Over the years we have shared so many wonderful moments together, including an unforgettable trip to China to host the first research workshop on co-production. Dr. Brudney's influence on students and junior scholars like me is profound. I am so lucky to have worked with Dr. Brudney.

Tom Barth

April 8, 2021

Dear Nancy and Family:

Please accept sincere condolences from Sue and I on Jeff's passing. Although I have been gone from UNCW for several years, I have never forgotten Jeff's collegiality and mentorship, and of course what a terrific role model he was with his scholarly productivity, care for his students, and commitment to the nonprofit community. He will be deeply missed but fondly remembered always.

Peace and blessings,

Tom and Sue Barth

Brenda Bushouse

April 8, 2021

Jeff was always smiling at the ARNOVA conference. When I was a junior scholar, I was very shy, too shy to approach senior scholars. Jeff's smiling presence and easy manner made it easy to approach him and engage in a discussion. When I won a book award, his eyes were sparkling when he congratulated me. Now that I myself am a senior scholar, we recently engaged to discuss the Responsible Volunteer Stewardship framework he developed with Lucas Meijs. I am using the RVS in a paper and this week I planned to email Jeff to invite him to participate in a symposium. Jeff was a pillar of the scholarly community and such a wonderful human being. He will be missed by me and many others whose lives he touched.

Howard Tamashiro

April 7, 2021

Professor Brudney was at the University of Oklahoma in the early 1980s when we met. A gifted scholar, generous teacher, and respected colleague, everyone recognized he was destined for great things.

Please accept my sincerest condolences.
Howard Tamashiro

Yilin Hou

April 7, 2021

Dear Nancy, Megan, Phil and Evan,
We are deeply saddened to hear of Jeff’s passing away. Sophie, David and I extend our deepest condolences. Jeff was a fine and productive scholar, with a lasting legacy in his field of research. He will be dearly missed by the many whom he helped, taught, and mentored.
We keep in our fond memory the family dinners during holiday season in Athens, GA. Over one dinner, Jeff chatted with me about using the Cobb-Douglass function in one research he was working on – this sounds like just yesterday.
Yilin

John McNutt

April 7, 2021

Jeff was a wonderful scholar and an outstanding person. I cherish every minute that I spent with him. Thank you for sharing him with us

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