Donald Rockey Brouse passed away on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at his home in Tusseyville in the presence of his loving family. He was 87 years old.
Don was a true Central Pennsylvanian in every sense of the word. He was a lover of the land, the sky, his family and the state of his birth, Pennsylvania.
As a young man growing up in Tusseyville, he helped on the family farm. An affinity for the land was in his blood and he never lost his touch for working with the earth. His gardens were impressive and he and his wife, Irene, spent many hours canning and freezing the results of their labor.
During World War II, Don devoted his service to our country by enlisting in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 bomber pilot. He never lost his passion for flying and after his time in the military he spent many hours designing and constructing airplanes by hand. He loved to fly over the skies of Centre and Mifflin Counties, and often, when one of his grandchildren heard a plane up above, they would say, “Look, there’s Pappy!” And chances are, it was! On autumn mornings, Don could be seen at Jack Garbrick’s airport in Centre Hall for a fly-in. His perfect day would be to fly his P-51 into a clear blue sky, and later to enjoy a hearty pancake breakfast in the company of his fellow flyers. He was happiest and most at peace when working with or flying his planes and, for many summers, he and Irene enjoyed attending the annual air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
A man of few words, Don was the embodiment of the saying, “Still Waters Run Deep.” Solid and steady, he was the moral fiber that held the family together. He was a shrewd judge of character, yet rarely had a critical word for anyone. He loved his family and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He did what it took to aid them in any way he could. He accepted all with unconditional love.
In 1971, Don and his son, Tom, built the family home in Tusseyville. A solid, well-constructed house, it gave the impression of holding up in any storm, (much like Don himself) and yet, it also exuded warmth and peace. For 37 years Don worked for West Penn Power and retired in 1985. When Don was no longer able to fly, he spent many hours tinkering around the house and yard and in his last years he enjoyed constructing jigsaw puzzles as a favorite past-time.
Don was the oldest of five children including Jack Brouse, Dick Brouse, Emogene Brouse Fulton and Thomas S. Brouse. Don’s first wife, Irene Sager passed away on May 24, 1980. He is survived by their children, Donnis Alfieri, Linda Smith, Thomas S. Brouse, and Ann Wishard. On February 14, 1985, Don married Irene Louise Rusnak who passed away on April 2, 2012. In addition to his children, Don is survived by his grandchildren, Rockey Alfieri, Tony DeChristopher, Sara and Hannah Smith, Jacob Wishard and Andrea Deborah Brouse. Also surviving are Don’s step-children from his second marriage including Mark and David Rusnak and their wives and children, and Laura Wicks and her husband and children. Don also left behind several great grand-children including Rockey Alfieri Jr. and Briana and Stephen Smith. He was much loved and he will be greatly missed by all.
Graveside services and interment will be held on Friday, February 15 at 11:00 a.m. at Boalsburg Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to Home Nursing Agency Foundation-Hospice; 201 Chestnut Avenue; P.O. Box 352; Altoona, PA 16603.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com.