Henry “Hank” Bruns, age 61 of Ft. Walton Beach, reached his life’s goal and met Jesus face to face on February 7, 2019.
Hank was born on August 16, 1957 to parents Henry and Marie Bruns.
He was born and reared in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the baby boy of 3 older sisters who adored their “Hankie.”
Hank was an outstanding athlete and was a state champion swimmer. He was nationally ranked and participated in the Junior Olympics. Not only was he a gifted athlete, he was gifted musically as well. Hank did musical theater in high school, at LSU and later in life he even participated with the local Stage Crafters.
A proud graduate of LSU, Hank earned a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and saw many years of success in the design/build industry. His work ethic thrived even when the economy didn’t, so he had to be resourceful as well. He truly was a jack of all trades and a master of many.
As proud of being an LSU Tiger as he was, he was even more proud to be the father of four sons. With his first wife Caren, they had Sims and Field. Hank was always quick to credit their mother for the amazing young men they have become. That sentiment didn’t change when he married and had Gavin and Mason with Shari.
Hank and Shari would have celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary this year and their 27th year living in Ft. Walton Beach. Here they created a firm foundation upon which they would bring up their sons surrounded by their church family and friends.
Hank loved his family. Hank loved the Lord. Hank loved America and all she stands for. Hank loved everything LSU. Hank loved serving others. He was a God serving Patriot, the son of America’s greatest generation.
Hank loved being a part of the Liza Jackson Preparatory School family. Between the energy of the students, contagious smiles and fun fist bumps, being there was pure joy for him. Hank also loved his job at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office these past 6 years. He loved his co-workers and truly felt like God placed him where he needed to be, among some of the most incredible people he’d ever had the privilege to meet. He often talked about his job at the Sheriff’s Office being something that allowed him to serve those who serve our community. Angel and Eddie can vouch for Hank’s willingness to do whatever it takes, whenever it takes. From homemade gumbo cooked over an open fire, to a Sunday morning, 6am knock on our door to take care of an indoor flood from a broken water heater. Hank never hesitated or complained. He simply did what was needed and he did so with a smile on his face.
Two other things he was passionate about include Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers and Choctaw Football. Although he always worked with Shari on Crime Stopper events, he didn’t join the organization until this past year, making his job as “Crawfish Man” official. The annual crawfish boil will never be the same without Hank.
The Choctaw Football program was something he took great pride in because both Gavin and Mason were Indian football players. For many years he paid special attention to the needs of the program because he wanted his boys to reap the benefits of his work. Even after his youngest was finished with the program, Hank wanted to continue to support them and was tapped to be the official “Spear Maker” for future seniors. Choctaw Football will miss Hank’s enthusiastic support
Whether he was coaching swimming, driving a bus or mopping floors, Hank knew he was called by God to serve. That selfless spirit continued through his life’s most challenging times and served him well when he began working at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. He was so proud to be working among everyday heroes. As a matter of fact, he began and ended each day asking this question to those of us around him: “Is there anything I can do for you today.” Hank also had a Morning Prayer ritual. The list of people on his prayer list grew weekly and he was honored to serve as a prayer warrior for many. Hank grew into a man of immense character and integrity who was bold in his faith and grateful to God for second chances.
Hank is predeceased by his parents Henry and Marie Bruns and his sister Marilyn Lacy.
He is survived by his wife Shari Flowers Bruns, sons Sims Bruns (Brooke), Field Bruns (Wende Reed), Gavin and Mason Bruns. Grandchildren: Payton, Benjamin, Finley, Lilac and Miles. Sisters Susan Quinn and Pam Kirby (John). Nieces: Jennifer Ostendorf (Trey) and Katy Pyle (Damian). Nephews: Rodney Quinn (Sandra), Jason Quinn (Abby), Aaron Quinn (Bridgett), Ben Kirby (Kaitlyn) and Brad Kirby. Great nieces and nephews whom he adored. Hank also leaves behind dear friends and co-workers who were like family to him. One of his greatest desires was to point others to Jesus, and the way he went about it was by serving. For those who knew and loved him, we can honor his memory by replicating his life of serving others.