January 23, 2018 at 2:57 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Personnel executive, volunteer Patrick Bruyere dies at 62
Patrick Richard Bruyere, gay news, Washington Blade

Patrick Richard Bruyere

Patrick Richard Bruyere, a longtime D.C.-area resident who worked as a high-level human resources official for several prominent organizations and companies and devoted years of volunteer work for LGBT and AIDS related causes, died Dec. 28 of esophageal cancer at a hospice in Arlington, Va. He was 62.

Friends who knew him, including Kate Mattos, who became friends with him during their years at Arlington’s Washington Lee High School, describe him in a write-up about his life as an intellectually engaged individual who embraced life and his friendships to the fullest.

Mattos said the write-up was based on information Bruyere left for his close friends shortly before his death. Among other things, it says he loved and collected art, enjoyed dance and the theater, was an avid runner who completed three marathons and a triathlon, and closely followed the news and current events.

“He delighted in engaging in debates about the wisdom and follies of political leaders,” the write-up says.

Mattos said Bruyere was born and raised in Arlington as an only child. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1977 with a degree in Human Resources and Labor Relations, according to the write-up.

Among the companies and organizations for which he worked after completing college as a personnel and human resources executive included the Columbia, Md.-based W.R. Grace & Company, which manufactured chemical and household products; Westin Hotels; the World Wildlife Fund, and the American Red Cross.

“He was proud that his last position was at the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., where he worked for 15 years before retiring in 2016,” the write-up says.

It says he was proudest of his volunteer work, including his tenure as a board member of the then Northern Virginia facility of the Whitman-Walker Clinic. Among other endeavors, he helped in fundraising efforts for AIDS prevention and assistance programs with Doreen Gentzler of NBC4 and with the CEO of the National Retail Federation through it’s “Shopping for Life” program.

He also became involved in fundraising efforts to acquire art books for children in D.C. as part of a program organized by the D.C. LGBT film festival Reel Affirmations, the write-up says. In addition, it says he helped build homes in D.C. as part of a 2014 project organized by the volunteer home building charity Habitat for Humanity called the Rainbow Build. The D.C. group Capital Pride was among the local LGBT organizations involved in the project, according to a Habitat for Humanity statement.

“Through the years, Patrick battled illnesses, including a rare blood cancer, aggressive squamous cell carcinoma, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” the write-up says. “He fought against the odds and survived each one. Even through his final struggle with esophageal cancer, he persisted in doing all he could to maintain his health and ability to love life,” it says. “His will was remarkable.”

His friend Steve Wunder said Bruyere was a longtime HIV survivor.

“I feel he should take pride in his HIV battle, which he won the fight in,” said Wunder.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, March 3 from 1-3 p.m. at Friends Meeting of Washington, D.C., 2111 Florida Ave., N.W.

“His friends urge that donations in Patrick’s name be given to the charity of your choice,” the write-up concludes.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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