Richard Kepler Brunner
Richard Kepler Brunner's passport to Life expired on December 1, 2018 --- after a residency of 92 years, 5 months and 10 days. Whether his reservation to that preferred Other Place will be granted is uncertain. A novelist, essayist, reporter, radio news/sports announcer, college administrator, teacher, newspaper columnist and editor, he was the only child of 19th –century parents, Franklin Umstead Brunner and Mary Elizabeth (Kepler) Brunner. He was born on the first day of summer, 1926, in Harrisburg, Pa. He and his wife, Betty Louise (Folk) Brunner (a Reading native), celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in November 2018. In his senior year at Muhlenberg High School, he enlisted in the Navy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. After his service with the 85th Naval Construction Battalion in the South Pacific (New Hebrides and Wake Island), he attended night classes at Columbia University, while working a day job in the mailroom of the American Broadcasting Co. His radio script-writing classes in the NBC studios prepared him for a short career in network and syndicated programs, then in the twilight of Radio's Golden Age. In 1948-49, “Your Radio Hymnal,” his weekly program was syndicated to stations across the nation. Other radio credits include “Grand Central Station,” then a Saturday staple of the CBS radio network. He was news director at WRAW, an NBC affiliate in Reading, from 1949 to 1955. His novel, “Portrait of the Damned,” written under the name Richard McKaye, was published in 1954. The Signet edition, issued by the New American Library of World Literature, sold 137,000 copies. From 1958 to
1964, he was an Assistant Director of the Commission of Press, Radio and Television for the Lutheran Church in America, in New York City. His selection of “Great Sermons of the 20th Century” was published in Pageant Magazine. In 1964 he began his first sojourn into the realm of academia, working in administrative/ teaching positions at Muhlenberg, Moravian, Cedar Crest and Wilson Colleges. His teaching assignments included Expository and Creative Writing, Freshman Composition, Basic Reporting, Feature Writing, and the New Journalism. In the interim between college employment, he was twice hired by the Call-Chronicle Newspapers; first, in 1970, as an editorial writer/editor for The Morning Call, Evening Chronicle and Sunday Call-Chronicle. He returned in 1981, and retired as editorial page editor of The Morning Call in 1989. In 1967 he oversaw substantial editorial emendations to “A History of Muhlenberg College,” published by Appleton-Century Crofts. A decade later he edited “Twentieth Century Moravian College: Challenge and Response,” a 202 page hardcover history. For more than a half century his newspaper and magazine articles on medicine, education, religion, book reviews and world events appeared in American and British publications. Distributed by Metropolitan Sunday Newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor News Service and Newspaper Enterprise Association, they ran in many national newspapers --- including the Los Angeles Times, New York Sunday News, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis GlobeDemocrat, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe and Philadelphia Magazine. During his decades' quest for copy, the place names under his byline included Samarkand, Belfast, Cairo, Arctic Circle, Hollywood, Vienna, Brooklyn Heights, Jerusalem, Tahiti, Moscow, Dublin, Venice, Sydney, Berlin (East and West), Toronto, Paris, and Martha's Vineyard.
Survivors: His wife Betty; daughters Susan Elizabeth Phillips, wife of Robert “Skip” Phillips, Upper Macungie; Jennifer (“Jenny”) Ann Kuhns, wife of Wayne Kuhns, Schnecksville; grandchildren Adrienne Ann Kuhns,
Leslie Ann Phillips, Andrew John Phillips, and greatgrandchildren Tyler and Alexis Ann.
Services: A Funeral Service will take place on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Bachman, Kulik & Reinsmith, 225 Elm St., Emmaus. The family will receive friends from 9:30 AM until the time of the service.
Interment: At the convenience of the family.
Laureldale Cemetery, Berks County. Here, in the shadow of the bell tower, he will be reunited in common ground with his parents and his many friends. As a schoolboy in wartime, from atop that tower, he scanned the sky for enemy aerialists seeking rail line and airport prey. It was a time of youthful zest, a commencement of the years when the matriculation in the School of
Life offered capacious adventures, tales that would fill the pages in every chapter in His Book of Life. Contributions: Emmaus Public Library, 11 E. Main
Street, Emmaus, PA 18049
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