C. Ann Brugger, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend left this world on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at the age of 91. She is survived by her children and spouses, Jeff and Trina Brugger, Steve and Rebecca Brugger, Sally and David Wise, and Julie and Paul Finke.
Ann considered herself a true “Akronite” and enjoyed sharing stories of Akron’s history. She was the daughter of Ruth and Harry Oberholtzer, who owned Oberholtzer’s store. She loved school and developed a passion for learning at an early age. She was the salutatorian of her high school class and longed to study at college. Difficult family circumstances led her instead into nursing. She was a proud graduate of Jefferson Hospital’s nursing program in Philadelphia. Ann loved nursing and felt it was the perfect preparation for motherhood-and having grown up an only child, she was determined to have a big family.
In 1952, Ann married Nevin Brugger, whom she met at Ephrata High school. Nevin enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. The newlyweds drove the Alcan Highway’s 1500 miles of gravel road to their first home, which she described as “rustic”. This was Ann’s first big travel adventure and she loved it! Some of her fondest memories are of Alaska.
Motherhood was Ann’s joy. She was a busy mom. She loved reading, cooking, embroidery, knitting, sewing, gardening, piano, golf, classical music, opera, fishing, birding, star gazing, and camping with the girl scout troop she led! In her role as mother, she modeled a love of learning, an appreciation of nature’s mysteries, and love and acceptance for all peoples, regardless of religion or race. She adored her family and was so proud of her six grandchildren and one great grandchild. She was often heard quoting to friends, “I have six exceptional grandchildren!” She sponsored several children in developing countries through graduation from high school. Their regular letters of gratitude brought her deep joy.
Ann was an active member of Bethany United Church of Christ in Ephrata, raised her four children there, and served as a consistory member, Sunday school teacher, youth mentor, and bell choir member. She visited recent new guests to encourage a continuing connection. Ann helped create a committee to become ‘greener’ in the church’s energy use. She was a progressive thinker and ahead of her time in many ways beyond environmental concerns.
She described herself as a “book nut.” Her fondest memory of childhood Christmases was the pile of new books her dad gave her each year. It is no surprise then that every week she took her children to story hour at the old Ephrata Public Library on Oak Street. Her volunteering there grew into her becoming president. Being a visionary, Ann led efforts to build the current, larger library. Her vision reached beyond the Ephrata community. Ann served as the President of the Lancaster County Library System and became an advocate for public support for libraries across the state. For her efforts, the state Public Library Association recognized her as Trustee of the Year in 1991.
Ann had a passion for art and travel. She was a self-educated art history enthusiast. On her numerous trips to Europe, the highlight was always an art museum. On these visits, she bought art prints and art books to bring home to support her vision of creating an art gallery at Bethany UCC. Four exhibits a year explored an ever-changing integrating theme. Ann’s short explanations of each piece helped make the art and ideas enjoyable and educational for her community. She dedicated herself to this art gallery for 36 years.
Ann loved Quimby Country, a family resort in northeastern Vermont. The family vacationed there several weeks each summer for decades and built life-long ties with other families. At Quimby’s, Ann shared her love of nature with many guests. Ann and Nevin were instrumental in keeping Quimby’s open through tough economic times.
Eight years ago, Ann moved to Landis Homes and kept up her vision for serving others - volunteering at the Landis Library and knitting hats for refugees in Moldova and beyond.
Ann’s family celebrates her life well-lived and imagines her welcomed into rest by God with the words “well done, good and faithful servant.”
A visitation will be held, Saturday, October 15, 2022, from 10 to 11 AM, at Bethany UCC, 140 E. Main St., Ephrata, followed by a memorial service with Rev. Katie Jackson officiating. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Ann's memory, may be made to the Ephrata Public Library, 550 S. Reading Rd., Ephrata, PA 17522.
Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes, Inc., Akron/Ephrata.