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1930 Bernard 2018

Bernard Joseph Brommel, PhD

August 13, 1930 — September 22, 2018

Dr. Bernard J. Brommel, Professor Emeritus of Communication at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), died September 22 at his home in Kalamazoo, Michigan after a long battle with heart and kidney disease. He was 88 years old. Dr. Brommel was born August13, 1930 in Des Moines, one of nine children who grew up on the family farm near St. Marys, Iowa.  After attending Iowa State, the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Iowa, he earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in Communication, and later earned a Master of Science from Northeastern Illinois University in Counseling and Family Therapy, and a post-doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University.    Brommel began his teaching career in Rowley and Keokuk High Schools in Iowa. He taught American Public Address and other courses for eight years at Indiana State University. He served as Chairman of the Speech and Theatre Department at the University of North Dakota for four years. He joined the faculty of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago in 1971 and taught Family Communication and Persuasion Studies there for 26 years. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1997 and subsequently became one of the institution’s most generous donors. In 2010 the University renamed the building where he taught in his honor. After retiring from teaching he continued in private practice as a psychotherapist until he was struck with cancer in 2007.   His important early research focused on American labor movements, and he published a biography of Eugene Debs that won the Best Biography Award from the Society of Midland Authors. He is also a foundational scholar in the discipline of family communication and co-authored the textbook Family Communication: Cohesion and Change, which is used in classrooms all around the country.  He established the Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or Distinguished Service through the National Communication Association. Dr. Brommel endowed in perpetuity over 25 scholarships and awards at NEIU, as well as at the University of Northern Iowa. Besides his writing and his philanthropy, he will be remembered for his ebullient personality. He encouraged thousands of students to believe in themselves and live up to their full potential.    He is survived by his partner of more than 20 years, Carl Ratner, a professor of music at Western Michigan University, his children Michaela, Brian (Sheila), Debra Foyo, Brent (Fany), Brad (Marianne) and Blair (Maureen) and 16 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. Survived by sister Pat Eskra, and brother Denny Brommel. Preceded in death by former wife Wilma Brommel, parents Bill and Nellie Brommel, brothers Dan and Phil, sisters Marilyn and Virginia Brommel, Florence Cairo, and Mary (Beck) Cunningham. There will be a wake in the Church Hall in St. Marys, IA, on Friday September 28 from 5-8 pm. The funeral will take place at Immaculate Conception Church in St. Marys Saturday September 29 at 10:30 am. Memorials at Northeastern Illinois University and in Kalamazoo, Michigan, will be announced at a future date. Donations can be made to the Bernard J. Brommel Endowed Professorship at Northeastern Illinois University or the Ratner-Little Opera Society Endowment at Western Michigan University.Arrangements made by Redmond Funeral Home 4100 S. Westnedge Ave. Kalamazoo, MI  49008. www. redmondfuneralhome.net
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