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Published: Monday, 9/28/2009

Brundage honored in fund for scholarship

Brundage Brundage

The late Robert Brundage was a man of many passions, not the least of which was trying to help western Lake Erie achieve greatness as an outdoor paradise.

For that reason, the nonprofit Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association has created a $500 annual scholarship in Mr. Brundage's name.

It will be awarded each fall to a graduate student researching Great Lakes issues from the University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center near Maumee Bay State Park.

"It's specifically for a graduate student working on a problem with the lake," said Cliff Smith, a retired UT biology professor who served with Mr. Brundage on the association's board of directors.

Mr. Smith also was once a colleague of Mr. Brundage's father, Donald Brundage, a former University of Toledo chemistry professor.

The two met when Mr. Smith began teaching at the university in 1965.

"So I feel sort of a kinship there," Mr. Smith said.

Much has been said about Mr. Brundage's accomplishments as an educator and as a musician. But those who knew him said he took as keen an interest in environmental issues as he did in social justice.

Sandy Bihn, founder of the local waterkeeper association chapter, said Mr. Brundage was "an inspiration to all of us as an environmentalist," whether he was protecting wetlands or urging scrutiny of development that could involve heavy-industrial pollution.

"He was always an advocate for clean water, healthy air, and for people being outdoors. He understood the value of the Great Lakes and Lake Erie," Ms. Bihn said.

To raise money for the scholarship, the local

waterkeeper association chapter has booked a multimedia show by Montana performer Walkin' Jim Stoltz for 7 p.m. Wednesday at First Unitarian Church, 3205 Glendale Ave. Mr. Stoltz (www.walkinjim.com) is a singer, songwriter, activist, poet, painter, photographer, and adventurer who gets his name from more than 27,000 miles of wilderness hiking.

He has toured as a performer for 23 years.

Variety magazine has lauded Mr. Stoltz for his storytelling skills, also saying he has "a rich voice that sounds as deep as some of the canyons he's walked."

Admittance to the concert is on a donation basis. The association suggests $15 a person.

Mr. Brundage died in July at age 66, two weeks after being pushed off his bicycle by a juvenile who wanted to rob him.

Dai'Lahntae Jemison, 16, recently admitted in Lucas County Juvenile Court that he was responsible for the robbery and assault that led to Mr. Brundage's death.

He was found delinquent of the charges by Judge Connie Zemmelman and the case was continued for sentencing at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Mr. Brundage grew up in Toledo and was a graduate of Scott High School as well as the University of Toledo.

He received a doctorate in biophysics from Brandeis University.

He was employed as a research scientist and engineer and owned a sound-recording company in Massachusetts before returning to Toledo in 1997.

He was involved in more than 20 community groups.

The local waterkeeper association chapter is affiliated with the national Waterkeeper Alliance founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, author, and activist from New York, was inspired to create the national group after campaigning for a multimillion-dollar restoration of the Hudson River.

Contact Tom Henry at:


or 419-724-6079.

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