Bernard J. Brustman Sr., 'Ben,' 89, of Wilmington, passed peacefully Saturday, April 12, 2014, at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, N.Y. He was the son of John Brustman Sr. and Eva (Gussman) Brustman; he was the last surviving sibling of their six children.
Ben was born in and spent most of his life in Wilmington. A World War II Air Force veteran stationed in England, he served as an airplane mechanic and returned from the war on the famed Queen Mary and met the love of his life, Evelyn, and started a family in Wilmington. He found work as a stationary fireman at the DuPont Experimental Station in Henry Clay, where he worked the majority of his adult life, retiring in 1983. After relocating to Albany, N.Y., he began volunteering with the American Red Cross blood donation site (something he had vowed to do after observing the efforts of that organization during the war).
When his youngest grandchild was born in 1987, Ben became a primary caregiver. All of his life, Ben retained an abiding love of the ocean, an architect's eye for balance and symmetry, and an insatiable curiosity about how things worked. He was a reader, a hard worker, a good man and a problem-solver. His highest accolade was "'A number one!" His most used injunction: "Use your common sense!"
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Evelyn M. (Webb) Brustman; his five children: Grace Gross of Harrisburg, Pa.; Barbara, his dedicated caretaker, of Troy N.Y.; Sandra Ware of Lewes; Bari of Georgetown; and John of Edgewood, Md.; five grandchildren,whom he was extremely devoted to; and nine great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers or donations, the family enjoins well-wishers to have a banana split in Ben's honor, as this was a special treat to him that he could never turn down. Wherever he is, may he finally find out '"How they built the Pyramids!"