A retired Middletown firefighter and U.S. Marine battled to the end, his mother said.
“He was a fighter,” said Ginger Bruggeman. “He was a Marine and he never gave up. He’d be at death’s door one day and one hour later, he’d be telling jokes.”
Her son, Scott D. Bruggeman, 45, of Middletown, died Monday after battling heart disease for almost two years. He had worked with the Middletown Division of Fire for 20 years, retiring in 2015. He also served his country in the Marine Corps. during The Gulf War.
Bruggeman’s life tragedy turned on March 18, 2014, when he was restraining an uncooperative patient in the Atrium Medical Center emergency room, his mother said. He had a heart attack during the incident, and later was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in the body, which started in his lungs and eventually damaged his heart.
“He went downhill from there,” she said.
Bruggeman, a 1988 Fenwick High School graduate, had several heart surgeries at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati and the Cleveland Clinic. He had an eight-hour surgery the day before Thanksgiving, then was placed in Hospice Care of Middletown.
Throughout his medical journey, fellow firefighters never left Bruggeman’s side, his mother said. Middletown firefighters were there when he died at home, and Cincinnati and Cleveland firefighters, complete strangers, visited him in the hospital.
“That’s the brotherhood,” his mother said.
Bruggeman’s uncle, Paul Lolli, who is also Middletown’s fire chief, called the support of firefighters “a blessing,” a rarity in most work places.
“You can always count on firefighters,” Lolli said.
Ever since Bruggeman’s retirement last year, there has been a void in the fire department, Lolli said. Bruggeman could light up a room with his personality.
“His smile was infectious,” Lolli said. “He’d walk in and people may be in a bad mood and he made them happy.”
Bruggeman is survived by his daughter, Megan Fugate; granddaughters, Juliana and Rylynne; brother, Jim (Becky Keith) Bruggeman; nephews, Tim and Nick Bruggeman; grandparents, Phyllis Lolli and Jack and Renie Bruggeman; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Holy Family Parish-Holy Trinity Church, 201 Clark St., with Father John Civille as celebrant and Chaplain Clark Helvey. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Wilson-Schramm-Spaulding Funeral Home, 3805 Roosevelt Blvd. Interment will be at Woodside Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Middletown Combined Honor Guard.
Memorial donations may be made to: the Frank and Patricia Lolli Scholarship Fund, c/o Bishop Fenwick High School, 4855 Ohio 122, Franklin, Ohio 45005; or Hospice Care of Middletown, 3909 Central Ave., Middletown, Ohio, 45044.
The Lolli scholarship is named after Bruggeman’s grandparents. It provides financial assistance to Fenwick students, and the scholarships aren’t based solely on academic performance.