Tribute to Michael H. Bruno, Upon His Passing, Paid by Frank Ro

Michael H. Bruno, February, 1911 – January, 2005

By Frank Romano

“Printing was my vocation for all my working life. Ninety years of my life were spent in the 20th century. I had the good fortune of being where the action was during the most active period since printing was invented. This was the last 64 years of the 20th century.”

Mike Bruno died peacefully in his sleep this week at the age of 93. He is survived by his wife Gilda, his son J. Michael and daughter Donna Eltoft. Mike will always be considered the father of the American printing industry.

In 1925 his mother died at the age of 45. She had wanted him to become a doctor and he would have gone into medicine if she lived. But Mike hated the sight of blood and switched to chemistry. In 1927 he graduated with honors as 5th in a class of 750 at Hillhouse High School in New Haven and won a four-year scholarship to Yale University. One of his classmates would be the future chairman of Heidelberg.

Intrigued by an article in “Inland Printer,” now “American Printer” on collotype printing, he went to work for a Connecticut printing company that printed with gravure. In 1936 he met Gilda Esposito and they were married in 1937. Before the start of World War II he joined the ready reserve and then went on active duty in 1941 as Research Officer in the Army Map Service, later the Defense Mapping Agency, and today DIMA. After the war he retired as an Army Major and went into the Reserves and ultimately as a Lt. Colonel in 1971.

He joined the fledgling Lithographic Technical Foundation, later the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, and moved to Chicago. Later, the organization would move to Pittsburgh, PA. After a distinguished career at LTF he took a senior position with International Paper and introduced a newsletter “What New(s) in Graphic Communications,” which he published for 25 years. For the last 20 years of the newsletter Sheila Ward, who typeset every issue of TypeWorld (now Electronic Publishing), deciphered Mike’s handwriting and composed his newsletters and reports.

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