Lieutenant Colonel Tonu Bruns, age 80, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family & caregivers at his home on June 2, 2021. Tonu was a husband, a father, and a United States Air Force veteran who spent more than 20 years as an active duty and reserve officer.
Tonu was born on March 13, 1941, in Jõhvi, Estonia, to his parents Paul & Maimu Bruns. They fled their homeland for the safety of occupied Germany as the Germans and Russians fought for control of Estonia, where Tonu lost his sister to whooping cough along the way. Eventually making it to the United States through Ellis Island, he and his parents settled in Vineland, New Jersey to pursue the American dream.
When he was a teenager, Tonu, an Eagle Scout, decided he wanted to join the Air Force. As a result, he attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as part of the Corps of Cadets, where he achieved his degree in Aerospace Engineering and graduated as a Captain in the Air Force. While at Virginia Tech, he met his future wife, Nancy Eileen Clayton, and the two started dating, eventually marrying after graduation.
Tonu served in various locations around the country until settling in California, where he completed his military career and worked in the aerospace industry for Martin Marietta, Lockheed Martin, and finally Boeing until his retirement in 2008.
When he wasn’t working, Tonu had a passion for photography, backpacking, and traveling both the United States and the world. He also enjoyed spending months every year in Loreto, Baja California, Mexico with Nancy.
Tonu was predeceased by Nancy, who passed away in 2015. He is survived by his two sons, Christopher and Michael, and four grandchildren, Itita, John, Gael, and Allison.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of Tonu to the Dementia Society of America by mail to PO Box 600, Doylestown, PA 18901, or online www.DementiaSociety.org/donate.
There will be a funeral service held at 11:00 am, Saturday, June 19, 2021, at Heritage Dilday Memorial Services Chapel located at 17911 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, CA 92647.