Vernon Dwain Bruner

Vernon Dwain Bruner, 90, entered the Lord’s presence on the early morning of Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Due to COVID-19, an online memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at fbcstephenville.org or @firstbaptiststephenville Facebook Live with Dr. Ken May officiating.

A come-and-go viewing will be held at Lacy Funeral Home from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6 and Thursday, Jan. 7. A basket will be available to place cards or expressions of condolence for the family.

Dwain was born in Kerens, Texas, to Vernon Decatur Bruner and Agnes Williamson Bruner. He was the oldest of three boys. He grew up and thrived in the small town of Kerens, where his Dad, Vernon, was the local automobile and Chevrolet dealer. His Granddad, Charlie, started the automobile business as a full-service gas station in the early 1920’s. Dwain graduated as valedictorian of Kerens High School, Class of 1947.

Dwain attended Baylor University and was a member of the Baylor University Golden Wave Band. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor of business administration degree in 1951. He became a lifelong Baylor University fan.

Dwain enlisted in the United States Navy during the Korean War. He served from 1951-55, attending Officer Training in 1952. Upon discharge from active duty in the U.S. Navy, he entered the U.S. Navy Reserves, retiring in 1990. 

Dwain met Carolyn Elise Wyatt in 1955. They were a match made in heaven. They married on Dec. 27, 1956, in Marshall, Texas. After honeymooning in the Bahamas, they settled in Kerens, where Dwain worked with his father at Bruner Chevrolet. During this time, he attended Chevrolet Dealer Son School.

In these early years, two children were born to Dwain and Carolyn, Gwyn Elise, June 22, 1958, and Gregory Dwain, Oct. 5, 1961.

Dwain and Carolyn moved to Wolfe City, Texas, in 1962 where Dwain bought the Chevrolet dealership. Dwain and Carolyn were very involved in the Wolfe City community and First Baptist Church, making many lifelong friends. During their time in Wolfe City, Dwain was the church organist and Carolyn was the church pianist.   

Dwain was approached by General Motors to acquire the Chevrolet dealership in Stephenville, Texas, in 1969. Dwain and Carolyn visited Stephenville and knew immediately that this town would be a great place to raise their family and grow the business. The Bruners jumped into community and church involvement at First Baptist, Stephenville.

Over the years, the dealership expanded with new facilities, the addition of new car brands, and dealerships in neighboring communities. Also, during this time, Dwain owned Bruner Insurance Agency, Bruner RV, and The Car Wash at Bruner’s. He mentored several employees to operate and own their own car dealerships. At the time of Dwain’s death, he had celebrated 58 years as a Chevrolet Dealer; 37 years as a Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep Dealer; 30 years as a Buick, GMC, and Cadillac dealer; and 13 years as a Toyota dealer. 

Throughout the years, Dwain received many accolades and awards for his work, but service was always his focus. He devoted a life of leadership to the people in the communities where he lived. Throughout his life he served 65 years with Chambers of Commerce, 65 years of membership with Kiwanis, 33 years on the Board of Directors of Town and Country Bank, 11 years as a local school board trustee, nine years on the Board of Trustees for Howard Payne University, 70 years as an avid Baylor University Alumni and contributor, 60 years of Masonic and Scottish Rite membership, and 70 years of active service to the local First Baptist Churches. During the 70 years of church service, he served as a deacon, Bible teacher, committee member, and organist.

Dwain enjoyed a full and active life of 90 years including music, travel, photography, videography, gardening, and reading. Time spent with family and friends was always his greatest satisfaction. He never lost sight for one minute of the most important thing: his relationship with the Lord. He knew Christ as his Lord and Savior since childhood and it is this relationship that was his motivation and purpose in life.

Dwain was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn Elise, on June 3, 2020.

He is survived by his daughter, Gwyn Elise (Bruner) Schneck, and husband, Jeff, of Dublin, Texas, and his son, Gregory Dwain Bruner, and wife, Lynda, of Stephenville, Texas; his grandchildren, Megan (Schneck) Beiswenger, and husband, Jared, of Fredericksburg, Va., Courtney (Bruner) Eads, and husband, Jeremy, of Prosper, Texas, Amanda Schneck, of Dallas, Texas, and Kyle Bruner, and wife Sarah, of Richardson, Texas; great-grandchildren, Gianna and Felicity Beiswenger, Jett and Karis Eads; sister-in-law, Lynda Bruner of Hillsboro, Texas; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, employees, and many friends.

His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" Matthew 25:23

Pallbearers are David Adcock, Harold Cheatheam, Dwayne (Butch) Fraser, Joe Lane, Joe Pope, and Kyle Bruner, Dwain’s grandson.

Honorary pallbearers are Employees of Bruner Auto Family and the Directors and Officers of the former Town and Country Bank.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: 

• First Baptist Church Piano and Organ Fund, 334 W. Green, Stephenville, TX 76401

• Tarleton State University—Tarleton Foundation, Inc. Dwain and Carolyn Bruner Endowed Scholarship Fund, Box T-0950, Stephenville, TX 76401

• Howard Payne University Office of Advancement—Dwain and Carolyn Bruner Endowed Scholarship, PO Box 2369, Brownwood, TX 76804

• Baylor University—Dwain and Carolyn Bruner Golden Wave Band Endowed Scholarship Fund, One Bear Place #97026, Waco, TX 76798-7026

Posted online on January 05, 2021