Ken Bruestle

‘Family man’ Ken Bruestle dies at 77


By Sara Bruestle


A loving man, Ken Bruestle became more devoted to his family as it grew.

Kenneth Eugene Bruestle died on Oct. 17, 2016, from pneumonia. He was 77.

Ken was born on Oct. 27, 1938, at the family home in St. Paul, Minn., to Lawrence and Inez Bruestle. He was the third of five children.

He graduated from Mechanic Arts High School in 1956, tied for valedictorian of his graduating class. He then attended the University of Minnesota on a four-year scholarship. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1961.

In St. Paul, Ken met his future wife, Dorothy, while they were in eighth grade at Jackson Grade School. He was Dottie’s first kiss when she was 13 years old.

Ken and Dottie were each other’s high school sweethearts. At 16, they were in love and knew they would be together forever.

They were married four years later on March 21, 1959, and together they raised four children.

Ken worked 30 years at Burlington Northern Railroad, designing bridges. While working for the railroad, Ken earned his master’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Kansas-Edwards when he was 50 years old.

His career moved the family from St. Paul to Lincoln, Neb., Billings, Mont., Seattle and then to Kansas City, Kan. Ken liked Seattle best of all the cities, so he and Dottie moved back to Washington state in his retirement.

After he retired, Ken worked as an engineering consultant for HNTB Corp. in Bellevue.

Ken will be remembered as intelligent, strong, handsome, generous, witty, loyal, caring and thoughtful.

Ken was a family man. He loved to spend time with his wife, children and grandchildren. He also was a proud owner of two border collies.

He enjoyed reading books, writing letters to the editor, playing classical guitar, walking the dogs and tending to his vegetable garden.

Ken is preceded in death by two brothers, Larry and Dick Bruestle.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Dottie Bruestle; sister, Bernice (Wayne) Bestland; brother Don Bruestle; sons Joel (Pam) Bruestle, Kurt (Doris) Bruestle, Gary (Marjan) Bruestle; and daughter Amy Bruestle; as well as eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Barton Family Funeral Service, 11630 Slater Ave. NE Ste. 1A, Kirkland.


10 Responses to “Ken Bruestle”

  • Ken Kirschling says:

    I owe so much to this man. He taught me about railroad bridges, the technical things. But much more so, he taught me professionalism. He respected everyone he worked with, even if opinions varied so much I never dreamed cooperation was possible. And because of his respect for others, he was respected – greatly. Ken did not gossip nor assume. And if you didn’t know him you might find him dry – which he was – but, oh how I miss his dry sense of humor! Patient, kind, and when the occasion required – brutally honest. The consummate engineer, the devoted family man, the finest gentleman.

  • Jeff Hislop says:

    Ken was my Dad’s oldest and best friend. When myou Dad passed 2 years ago, Ken selflessly traveled all the way to Chicago on short notice to see him off. Kwn was a great comfort to my family during that hard time. We are for ever grateful. I imagine Ken and my Dad are throwing the ball, right now.

  • Derek Firth says:

    It was my pleasure to know Ken for many years; he was a gentleman ,working in an industry and world that was sometimes not very gentlemanly.
    Although I moved to Mexico on my own retirement,we kept in touch and the fond memories of Ken and his family,who I never met, will remain with me.
    I send my best wishes to those who remain behind.

  • Bob Carter says:

    I considered Ken Bruestle a true friend. A consummate professional who and gentlemen. He was a devoted Father to his family and devoted to his wife Dottie.
    I considered my Mentor. He taught me we’ll. Ken could have easily been BN top Br Engineer not inclined to not tell it like it is. A quite man who was always a professional, but left no doubt how he stood.
    Ken you left a wonderful Legacy your Family can be proud. You truly were one of BN finest. RIP my good friend and save me a place. Collegue ,friend and Associate. Bob Carter

  • Kurt Bruestle says:

    My father always was the smartest man I ever knew. Always kind and loving especially with his family. This year he had finally started asking me for help around the house and yard, more for the company I suspect. This last spring we built a deer fence together around his tomato garden and I think we were both just as tired when we finished. He was a very driven and hard working man and this pneumonia took him from us way too soon. He still loved to taste new foods and beverages and had a strong zest for life.
    Dad, you are always loved and never forgotten.

  • David and Judy Schlief says:

    Dear Family, We were sorry to learn of Ken’s passing. We were neighbors to Ken and Dottie on Northview St in Roseville,MN right next door. We will let other neighbors know of his death. We continue to correspond with Dottie at Christmas and birthdays/anniversaries. We send our condolences to Dottie, Amy, Gary, Kurt and Joel and the extended family.

  • Stuart McPeak says:

    My deepest sympathies to the Bruestle family!! Obviously a very respected and loving person…

  • Laura Snell says:

    Ken was a devoted husband, father and all around stellar human being. I am so fortunate to have had him for my uncle. Some of my best memories of him include the Bruestle family reunion in 2009 when we had a barbecue in the backyard at his house. He was cooking burgers to order for everyone and was quite the host! It was a wonderful day and a good time was had by all.

    Next was when I came to visit summer of 2015. There was a lot of quality time spent with Ken and Dot, deep conversation and a beautiful hike at Snoqualmie Falls with Ken and Amy. I am so thankful to have had that special time with him.

    Last but not least, there was the time when my family went to visit Ken and his family in St. Paul. We got snowed in and he made green eggs and ham for the kids and kept us entertained with his infamous shenanigans. Ken was quite the prankster and always made us laugh. We are going to miss you Uncle Ken. You were truly one of a kind. You had a way of making people feel loved and cared for. I love you. Rest in peace.

  • Mark Johnson says:

    Ken was a class act. He was my boss, my colleague, my mentor but most importantly my friend. He taught me much, encouraged me always and supported me throughout my career. His thoughtful insights and wry sense of humor where also welcome. I am saddened by his passing but buoyed by his memory. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

  • Ken Jennison says:

    Ken was definitely a professional engineer in the truest sense. Always willing to listen and always encouraging with his input. And his knowledge of engineering was spectacular. Working at the BNSF and its predecessor railroads, there were always the supervisors out there that you heard horror stories about, and I always thought that there’s a person I don’t want to be like, to manage like. I guess the highest compliment I can make of Ken, is that he was one of the managers/supervisors that I did want to emulate. I am a better person, a better engineer because of knowing Mr. Ken Bruestle.

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