Deceased April 13, 2015
I never thought I’d be writing an In Memory article for our classmate Tom Bruno. He’s been such a constant, steady presence over the past 30-plus years, it just doesn’t seem possible that he’s gone. Tom passed away on April 13, 2015.
A son of Thomas A. Bruno Sr. and Ernestine “Tina” (Klee) Bruno, Tom came to Amherst from East Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts and spent freshman year on the fourth floor of South before joining Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and participating with the Masquers. Those who knew Tom best, when asked to recall those college days, all end up saying variations of the same theme –“Tom was a sweet guy, with a sharp mind for economics”; “Tom never said a mean or angry word as long as I knew him”; “You could always count on Tom.”
One of my best Tom Bruno memories is of an intramural basketball game, maybe junior year. The DKE team, known as the “Dwarfs,” were kind of an anti-team; no practices, no set plays, all wearing black socks—they’d come out on the gym floor and the other team wouldn’t know what to make of it. Here was a team that looked like it didn’t want to play, let alone win. And yet, within that framework, magic would often happen. The game I remember, someone passed the ball to Tom at half court, and he just took a shot, right from the half court line. This wasn’t a desperate “beat the buzzer” shot; there was still plenty of time left on the clock. Why did he take that shot? We all looked up, saw it arc through the air and go in with a swish, Tom’s only basket of the game.
After graduation, Tom worked at Morgan Stanley in New York, before embarking on a four-year stint with the U.S. Navy. After his honorable discharge, Tom remained in the financial industry, working at ING and First Investors and also picking up an associate’s degree in business administration and then an M.B.A. from UConn.
Tom was a longtime communicant of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Springfield and enjoyed photography, biking and gaming. He was also an avid historian and connoisseur and collector of fine wines.
As an Amherst alum, Tom served as an associate class agent and would usually stop in at reunions if he was in the area. That’s the last time I saw Tom, at reunion. We had a good talk, and when I brought up that crazy, long-ago, half-court basketball shot, he just blushed and turned his head aside. “That was fun,” he said.
Condolences to Tom’s parents, sister, brother and extended family. Like you, we’re going to miss him.
Cam Hutchins ’81