Longtime Solana Beach resident and co-owner of Baker Iron Works Robert F. Bruun lost an unexpected 19-day-long battle with inoperable cancer Nov. 19, 2010. Robert Bruun was a 1959 graduate of San Dieguito High School and a charter member of “The Juggs” Car Club in Del Mar.
With Susie, his devoted wife of 50 years, Robert Bruun has shown a love for community by an involvement with local charities, community events and children’s sports. The Bruuns have supported fundraising events for the city of Solana Beach, Pop Warner and Little League Baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as the annual Halloween Carnival held at Solana Vista Elementary School. They have donated funds to Torrey Pines High School’s foundation, and have given generously to the Solana Beach Foundation For Learning.
“I remember over the years that Robert painted all the football helmets for Pop Warner. Junior athletics could not afford to buy them new so Robert brought them here to the yard, took all the hardware off, painted them, then put it all back,” said Susie Bruun.
As the longest continued business operation in Solana Beach history, Baker Iron Works holds a special place in the hearts and minds of longtime residents. It had its inception as Solana Iron Works, owned by Sam Lank, and was located in the early 1920s on the east side of the South Cedros Ave. In 1927, Lank sold his business to his partner Charlie Baker. Shortly after the change in ownership, Baker moved the business to La Colonia de Eden Gardens, changed the name to Baker Iron Works and two years later hired Hans Bruun as an employee.
Baker Ironworks provides work and wages for local families, structural steel for local buildings, and important tax dollars for the city and exemplifies the important threads of family in community. In 1957 Hans Bruun bought the business but kept the company name. His son, Robert, began working there in 1961. This year would have marked the 50th anniversary of his work with the company.
Robert and Susie's son, John, joined the business 20 years ago, and grandson Daniel has worked there for two years. Grandson Brock, an Earl Warren Middle School student, says that he wants to work in the business too, said Susie Bruun who is in her 50th year serving as office manager.
Susie and Robert were also longtime members of the Encinitas Elks, Lodge # 2243 in Cardiff-By-The-Sea. A celebration of Robert Bruun's life was held there on Sunday, Nov. 28. As well as Susie, John, Daniel, and Brock, Robert Bruun leaves behind a daughter, Bonnie Susan Corbin, a granddaughter, Katherine Bruun, and sisters, Suie Williams of Park City and Nancy Knapp of San Diego. He will be deeply missed.