James Bruening

Obituary of James Ray Bruening

James Ray Bruening, 89, of Mesa, Arizona, died April 5, 2023.  He was born August 19, 1933, in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, to Henry and Ethel Bruening.  He graduated from DuBois High School, DuBois, Pennsylvania.  He received a football scholarship from the University of New Mexico and graduated from UNM in 1955.  He served as Assistant Dean of Men at the university.  Jim married Laura L. Lovett in 1954 in Belen, New Mexico. 

Jim received a call to pastoral ministry while in high school and continued his ministerial training after college.  He graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, in 1960 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree and was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel in the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which united with the Methodist Church to become the United Methodist Church.

Jim served three churches in twelve years in the E.U.B. denomination.  He was pastor of churches in Johnstown, Colorado, Española, New Mexico, and Aurora, Colorado.  He became a Presbyterian pastor in 1972 and served churches in Roswell, New Mexico, and Mesa, Arizona.  He received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1984. 

Following eleven years as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Mesa, he retired from active service in 1998, but continued serving churches when needed.  Jim was involved in community service in each city that he served.  In retirement, he loved doing genealogy and scrapbooking in order to leave his family a sense of their history.

He is survived by his wife, Laura, and three children: Linda (Dan) Reeves of Mesa, Brian (Callie) Bruening of Lubbock, Texas, and Lisa (Kurt) Dorr of Little Elm, Texas, and six grandchildren: Kevin (Jess) and Jason (Amanda) Reeves, Laura (Javier) Peña, Carter (Brittney) Bruening, Austin (Peyton) and Garrett Dorr, and seven great grandchildren:  Brielle, Everleigh, Declynn and Owen Reeves, Sophia, Isabella and David Peña.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Mesa.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to First Presbyterian Church, 161 N. Mesa Drive, Mesa, AZ 85201. 

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Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Saturday, April 29, 2023
First Presbyterian Church
161 N Mesa Dr
Mesa, Arizona, United States


In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to First Presbyterian Church, 161 N. Mesa Drive, Mesa, AZ 85201.
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