Celebrating the Legacy of Gary L. Bruno
August 11, 1946 – November 9, 2023
It is with great sadness, we announce the loss of our beloved father, grandfather, philanthropist, business man and friend, Gary Lee Bruno who left this world on November 9, 2023. Gary was born on August 11, 1946 in Morgantown, West Virginia. At the age of 8, Gary and his family moved to Fresno, California where he grew up in a large Italian family as the middle child of 5 boys. Gary graduated from Central High School, then Fresno State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While in college, Gary joined the Marine Corps, receiving his commission as an officer in July 1966.
Gary served proudly on active duty as a U.S. Marine for nearly 4 years, including a tour in Vietnam as an artillery officer, which earned him a Navy Commendation Medal (V for Valor), Combat Action Ribbon, Selected USMC Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Medal, Vietnam War Arvn Dan Vy Boi Tinh Civilian Service and Republic of Vietnam Civic Action Medal. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Lt. Colonel in 1986 and remained extremely proud of his service to our nation for the remainder of his life. Gary’s final resting place will be Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.
In 1972, Gary left active duty and returned to Fresno with his wife and baby daughter, Cynthia, to be closer to his family. Four years later, Gary’s second daughter, Aimee, was born. As a father, Gary enjoyed activities like coaching his daughters’ cross-country teams, participating with them in Indian Princesses, watching Star Trek and John Wayne movies, playing backgammon, sharing stories about his family, and hunting down (and cutting down as a family) the perfect Christmas tree each year.
After working in his father’s electrical contractor business (Bruno Electric) for several years, Gary established G.L. Bruno Associates, Inc. (GLBA) in 1978. Through GLBA, Gary operated as a real estate developer and general contractor, eventually creating a specialty niche in the development and construction of medical facilities. It was also through GLBA that Gary contributed to expanding access to critical and life-saving medical care for residents in the Central Valley and greater California.
Gary was a firm believer that real success, the kind that exists on multiple levels, was impossible without building meaningful and long lasting relationships with clients, investors, design partners, and construction partners. Gary was authentic, consistent, and operated with principled values which is why he gained so many people’s trust. To Gary, you weren’t just an investor or a contract, you were part of the G.L. Bruno Associates, Inc. Family.
Throughout his life, Gary maintained a core belief in giving back. In 1996, he founded the G.L. Bruno Family Foundation, a 501(c)(3), to offer support for socially and economically disadvantaged people in the Central Valley and beyond, especially in matters concerning women and children in honor of his daughters and grandchildren. Through 2023, the G.L. Bruno Family Foundation has gifted in excess of $2 million dollars in support of charities aligned with its mission.
Gary lived life with passion and zest. He loved spending time with family and friends; flying his airplane; traveling; playing golf; and enjoying a good martini (shaken, not stirred), just like OO7. He will always be remembered by his family as being dapper and dignified, and having a fresh handkerchief or a witty joke to offer. His sense of humor remained strong, even through a long and courageous fight with Parkinson’s Disease.
Gary died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease. He is survived by his daughters, Cynthia Rafferty and Aimee Bogna; his sons-in-law, Patrick Rafferty and Mike Bogna; his grandchildren (Emma and Ellie Bogna, and Katie and Jacob Wynkoop); and his beloved dog, Bailey. He is also survived by his ex-wives, Janice Bruno and Tina Bruno, both of whom he remained close to until his death. Gary also leaves behind his brothers, Edward and David Bruno; many loving nieces and nephews; and loyal staff members and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Emma Bruno; and brothers, George and Charles.
A memorial service will be held for Gary on Tuesday, November 21 at 11:00 am at Clovis Hills Church (10590 N Willow Ave). In lieu of flowers, Gary’s family requests donations to the G.L. Bruno Family Foundation (https://glbrunofamily.org/ ) in his honor.