Father Dale Brune, 75, died Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, at his home in Santarem, Brazil. He will be buried in Brazil, where he served as a missionary for 50 years.
A memorial Mass will be held Saturday, Nov. 23, at 10 a.m., at St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church.
He was born Aug. 12, 1938, in Washington as Kenneth Lee Brune, the son of Leo and Rose Brune, nee Feltmann.
Raised in Washington, he attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Westmont, Ill., and completed his degree in theology in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he was ordained a priest in 1966.
He taught at a local Brazilian seminary for several years and served as pastor in three different parishes during the 1970s and 1980s. He was the spiritual director of the Cursillo movement for six years. In 1992, he joined the diocese of Obidos, Brazil.
Father Brune regarded his most important work in Brazil the development of Base Christian Communities along the Amazon River. He taught local teams how to conduct study programs in their individual communities, not only for adults, but also for children’s sacramental preparation.
In addition to serving the people’s spiritual needs, he designed projects to help people survive economically. He founded a hammock factory in 1966 that provided employment to 100 people.
He was the co-inventor of a rig to dig shallow wells, resulting in over 30,000 additional wells in the Amazon area. Father Brune encouraged a local resident who invented a hydroelectric turbine to supply clean, dependable electricity to isolated communities deep in the Amazon rainforest.
He also designed economic self-help programs for lay leaders so they could support themselves while volunteering for the church. Those included fish hatcheries and raising stingless bees.
He was semi-retired from active church functions, but continued to “encourage the reign of God in whatever way possible in the Santarem area.”
“Father Dale never lost his enthusiasm in being a missionary priest. He was a tireless worker for the poor people he served and a highly successful educator,” Editor Bill Miller Sr., of The Missourian, said. The Missourian published many stories about Father Dale’s work, including features by the late Publisher James L. Miller, who visited Father Dale in Brazil.
Father Brune was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by a sister, Ruth Ann Gleeson and husband Earl, and a brother, Harlan Brune and his wife Carol, nieces and nephews, Darren Gleeson and wife Lisa, Christe Brandt and husband Jack, Terry Gleeson and wife Stephanie, Sheila Taylor and husband John, Damon Brune and Gina Meyer, Sean Brune and wife Mary Kate, Kyle Brune, numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.