John Brunke [1925-2013]; Home builder also constructed cinemas, eateries


John Brunke, a builder of homes and structures across the Toledo area, died Monday in Elizabeth Scott Community in Springfield Township. He was 88.

Mr. Brunke of Whitehouse had been a patient in the care center on and off for about six months. He died from complications of congestive heart failure, said his daughter, Sharon Brunke.

Mr. Brunke was born on April 5, 1925, and grew up in East Toledo. He attended Waite High School, but left to join the Army Air Corps during World War II and was attached to the 28th Photo Recon Squadron.

Ms. Brunke said her father returned to Toledo after the war and enrolled at the University of Toledo, where he studied mechanical engineering.

After college, Mr. Brunke and Bill Cadaret began building homes for a company called Meyer and Mohn. Ms. Brunke said they built homes throughout the Toledo area during the 1950s and 1960s.

She said her father eventually left the company to start his own construction company, John D. Brunke Builders Inc.

Mr. Brunke, who was president of the company, was involved in the construction of the Showcase Cinemas I and II, which opened in 1964 on Secor Road, and Lum’s, a franchised restaurant at 5099 Monroe St. He also built the Olive Garden restaurant at Monroe and Talmadge Road.

“He did a little bit of everything. I know he did a number of premier homes in the Toledo area,” his daughter said.

Mr. Brunke married the former Dorothy Gilley on Jan. 9, 1948. She died on Dec. 13, 1993.

Mr. Brunke was accomplished and skilled in archery and participated in competition. He also excelled at bridge.

Surviving are his daughters, Sharon Brunke, Karen Lonz, and Shelley Patchen; brother Robert P. Brunke; three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

There will be no services.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

— Mark Reiter