HUBBARDSTON - Gerrilu H. Bruun, 81, a beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died Friday, Jan. 5 after a brief illness, surrounded by members of her loving family.
She was born Feb. 26, 1942 in Geneva, N.Y., and raised in Lyons, N.Y., the eldest daughter of Walter W. “Bill” and Laura (Button) Henry. After graduating from high school, she completed her educational training at the Genesee Hospital School of Nursing in Rochester, N.Y., where she met classmates who would become lifelong friends. It was also where she met her future husband, Dr. Svend W. Bruun, who was studying medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. They married on Aug. 21, 1965.
They eventually relocated to Massachusetts, settling in Lunenburg in 1972 while Dr. Bruun established his medical practice in Fitchburg. Gerrilu suspended her nursing career to raise their four children and create a home surrounded by gardens she tended by hand. She was also a skilled cook, forever on the lookout for a new culinary challenge. Her recipes remain in the collections of her family and many friends. They lived in Lunenburg for 44 years, cultivating friends who came to be considered family.
A lifelong lover of music, she sang for many years in the former Leonard Gaskins Chorale in Fitchburg, through which she became an early officer of the Fitchburg Cultural Alliance.
Gerrilu also remained active in the medical community through decades of engagement with the Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance at both the district and statewide levels, where she advocated for a variety of public health initiatives from seat belts to handwashing. She was also fortunate to cultivate meaningful personal relationships through her years of dedication to the Alliance, and was proud to be a past president of the organization.
She returned to the workforce for the last 10 years of her husband’s medical practice in Fitchburg, serving as his office nurse until his retirement.
The couple moved to Hubbardston in 2016, where Gerrilu was a loving, skilled and tireless caregiver to her husband, as well as a beloved “Mimi” to her grandchildren.
In addition to her husband, Gerrilu is survived by their four children: Andrea Hunnewell (and her husband, Roger) of Putney, Vt.; Stephen (and his wife, Lori) of Columbia, Md.; Matthew (and his wife, Amanda Baker) of Fitchburg; and Alison (and her husband, Jesse Mazer) of Providence, R.I.; her sister and brother-in-law, Gail and David Solomon of Advance, N.C.; six grandchildren, including Andrew Byron (and his partner, Quinn Poirier), Will Byron (and his partner, Amanda Doucet), Jeffrey Byron, Emily Bruun, Pauline Bruun and Henry Bruun; three great-grandchildren; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation.
A private memorial service will be scheduled later.
Arrangements under the care of Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Rd. Fitchburg, MA 01420.
Kevin J. Mack, Walter C. Taylor, Melissa A. McQuaid, Funeral Directors.