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Charlotte Bruey


February 1, 1926 ~ December 9, 2011


Charlotte Jean Smith was born to Reba Schulmeyer Smith and Joseph Lansford Coakley Smith February 1, 1926 in Terre Haute, Indiana, the middle sister between brothers Richard and Norman. She had a happy childhood on the family farm, with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins nearby. Her legendary sewing skills were developed early, and she earned the nickname, “Zip,” as a high school student. The zipper was new and she loved this invention that freed her from buttons and buttonholes! Charlotte attended Glenn Grade and High Schools and studied piano with her Aunt Adeline. In high school she began to play the double bass in the school orchestra. At fifteen, she won the State and the National High School Contest in Michigan and the Indiana State Contest in 1941 and 1944. She attended the St. Louis Institute of Music from 1944-48 and studied three summers at Tanglewood, a music retreat in western Massachusetts. While a student in St. Louis, she was chosen as one of six ‘Young Artist Finalists’ for the St. Louis Symphony.


She came to Kansas accepting an orchestral job with the Wichita Symphony and taught grade school vocal music in Derby for one year. After that she took an orchestral and vocal music job in the Caldwell schools and continued to play in the Wichita Symphony. In 1951, she met Bob Bruey and, “It was love at 1st or 2nd date!” They were married December 22, 1951 and began life together on the Bruey family farm west of Caldwell, near Bluff City. After a year of driving to rehearsals in Wichita, she sold her string bass to Wichita State and continued her life in music by playing the organ and piano at the Bluff City United Methodist church, teaching her daughters, nieces, nephews, and neighborhood children the piano and enjoying music the rest of her life.


She once stated that no matter what, she knew she wanted to spend her life in the country. Charlotte was a devoted wife and mother. An autobiographical piece she wrote about ten years ago, ended with, “I wouldn’t trade my life for something else and I love Bob.” She supported her three daughters in loving ways, teaching Vacation Bible School, leading their Girl Scout troops, driving them to swim lessons and various musical activities. She adored her five grandchildren and loved sewing for them and entertaining them during their visits.


Charlotte passed away December 9, 2011 at the Pioneer Ridge Nursing Home in Lawrence. She was 85 years old.


Charlotte was pre-deceased by her parents and older brother, Richard. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Bob; her brother and his wife, Norman and Charlotte Smith of Rantoul, IL; sister-in-law Betty Smith of Brazil, IN; her daughters and their husbands, Randy and Lou Ann Gebhards of Lawrence, KS; Mickey and Patty Tidwell of Lakeland, FL; Jim and Shirley Sweetman of Castro Valley, CA; plus five grandchildren: Symphony Tidwell of Lakeland, FL; Tina Tidwell of Tampa, FL; Amy Sweetman of Santa Cruz, CA; Robbie and Mitchell Sweetman, Castro Valley, CA; as well as many loving nieces and nephews and their spouses, plus great-nephews and great-nieces.


Memorials may be given in memory of Charlotte to the Alzheimers Association, Central and Western Kansas Office, 347 S. Laura, Wichita, KS 67211.


Visitation with family present 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 13, 2011.


Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at the Schaeffer Mortuary Chapel, Caldwell, Kansas.


Interment will be in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Bluff City, Kansas.


Leave Condolences

Condolences

Merle and Dorothy Gile

Family and Friends - 12/10/2011

Please, let the family of Charlotte know that we are so sorry to hear of her death. We go way back to the 1950's. She and I (Dorothy) drove to Indiana together in our 1940 Ford. Both of us , scared of our own shadow!. She wanted to go visit her family in Terre Haute and I was going to visit Merle, who was stationed at Camp Atterberry, near Indianapolis. I had never driven farther than Wichita and don't remember her experience, but we were sure that every big semi-truck was out to GET US! I loved getting to know her on this trip and hope she felt the same. Great Memories. Love, Dorothy & Merle


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Debbie Kolarik Barnes

Family and Friends - 12/11/2011

There is not a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars for having had Charlotte as a piano teacher. She was the best! I think my fondest memory is when we played as duet teams in the WSU Field House...I believe that it was Two Thousand Hands. My mother practiced and practiced for that and with Charlotte's help, mastered the piano music after a lapse of 35 years of playing the piano.

Bob, to you and the girls, my prayers and thoughts are with you. What a wonderful, marvelous woman! I am honored to say that she was my teacher!


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Jane Coyle

Family and Friends - 12/12/2011

I didn't know Mrs. Bruey, but I am a friend of her daughter, Patty Tidwell, and had the pleasure of teaching ballet to her granddaughter Tina. I loved hearing the stories about Patty's life on the farm and enjoyed all the pictures from the family vacations in Kansas. I am so sorry for your loss, but it looks like a life well lived! My sympathy to the whole family.

Sincerely, Jane Coyle, Lakeland, FL


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Abbas & Carolyn

Family and Friends - 12/12/2011

Louann, I don't think anything I say can ever ease your pain of losing your mother. After reading her short bio I could tell that she was a wonderful person and a loving mother. Fell lucky that you were at her side when she passed because I dont't think I will ever have that chance; being so far away from home.


May God comfort her soul and hold her in His loving and gentle arms. Please pass our sincere condolences to your family.


Abbas & Carolyn


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Jean and Sam Dunning

Family and Friends - 12/12/2011

We send our heartfelt condolences to Charlotte's family, I had the opportunity to meet her when she was visiting her daughter's family when they lived in Connecticut, she was such a sweet lady, she and I corresponded through Christmas cards for many years after our meeting. I enjoyed reading her cards, which included a little story about life on the farm, and missed hearing from her these past few years. I am sure all of her beloved family have many wonderful memories to share with each other as they gather together to celebrate her life. May those memories of a life well-lived bring you comfort.

Thinking of you and holding you up in our prayers,

Jean and Sam


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Susan Allpress

Family and Friends - 12/12/2011

Patty,

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. It is not a good time of year to lose someone. I will keep you in my prayers, Patty.


Sincerely,

Susan Allpress


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Shirley Underwood

Family and Friends - 12/12/2011

Bob,


My thoughts and prayer are with you during this difficult time. I remember when Charlotte Jean first told us about meeting you. It was a very exciting time. I learned so much about her honors and accomplishments from her obituary. I am so grateful that you have your wonderful daughters and their families


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Shirley Underwood

Family and Friends - 12/12/2011

Lou Ann, Patty, and Shirley,


I am so very sorry. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.


I have such wonderful memories of your mother. I met her in the summer of 1945. She and Priscilla were such good friends and spent a lot of time together. We moved in with Priscilla and her father in 1947, and then I got to see her when she was home from college. I remember when she told us about meeting your father, and it was a very exciting time. She did sew beautifully. She made Priscilla a beautiful pale blue dress when Priscilla graduated from college. I am so glad that I got to see her at the last Smith reunion.


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Chuck & Cathy (Smart) Minyard

Family and Friends - 12/13/2011

I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I had known your Mom. Her obituary reflects a full and wonderful life. She sounded like an amazingly talented and loving person. I know you will miss her.


Our prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.


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Wilma L. Jelinek, RW and Donna McKee, Anthony,Ks

Family and Friends - 12/13/2011

We are so sorry to hear of Charlotte passing away. A sweet lady with all the charm. May your cherished memories carry you through this difficult time and that others share your loss.


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Cindy Jacobson

Family and Friends - 12/13/2011

Dear Lou Ann, Patty, Shirley and Robert,


I searched Google to locate this obituary and stumbled upon what I believe is Charlotte's most loving tribute on the web site for her granddaughter Symphony's band. There Symphony acknowledges in her bio that her love for the double bass instrument flowed from her grandmother Charlotte's influence in her life. Undoubtedly, Charlotte loved her family and lavished her love upon each of her grandchildren. Charlotte's life will touch the future in her legacy to her grandchildren.


I know that Charlotte touched my life with her warm hospitality and friendliness whenever I had the good fortune to visit the Bruey farmstead or to see Charlotte during her visits at Smurthwaite on the campus of Kansas State University. She was such a caring, kind person that everyone she met was soon drawn to her warmth. The world needs more people like her!


May the memories of her love for her family and for her friends comfort you and may the Lord give you peace that she is now with Him.


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Darlene Strunk

Family and Friends - 12/13/2011

LouAnn & family: My deepest sympathy on the passing of your mother. My prayers are with you and your family during this time of loss. May her memories be in your hearts forever.


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Gregory Sarensen

Family and Friends - 12/14/2011

I have fond memories of Charlotte, meeting her via her daughters Lou Ann and Patty when I attended Kansas State University at the same time as them. She had such a sweet and unassuming spirit. You all received one of God's greatest gifts when He gave her to you. I know that wealth will continue in you in spite of her physical absence. Sincere condolences to and prayers for all of you as you grieve her loss.


Gregory Sarensen

Basehor, KS

KSU '76


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Sue (Livingston) Nilson Kibbey

Family and Friends - 12/16/2011

Shirley, Patty and LouAnn-- so sad to learn of the passing of your mother.


Her life will be a wonderful gift that will always keep on giving to each of you.


Her legacy will be one you will have the privilege of passing on to the next generation.


Prayers and blessings to you all in this season of transition,


Sue

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