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Philly lacrosse community mourns loss of Thomas A. Bruder, 85, significant contributor for men’s lacrosse

Friday, 28th January 2022

Categories Boy's/Men's  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/28/22

The Philadelphia lacrosse community is mourning the loss of Thomas A. Bruder, Jr., 85, of Newtown Square, a leader in supporting and developing men’s post-collegiate lacrosse teams. Tom passed away peacefully Monday surrounded by his loving family.

Tom sponsored the MAB Paints/Philadelphia LC club team and sponsored Philly-based teams in the prestigious Vail Lacrosse Tournament, helping bring home multiple championships and trips to the finals.

Thomas A. Bruder Jr.

He was honored with the Founder’s Award for his contributions to the sport in 2008. He brought the first United States Club Lacrosse Association (USCLA) championship to Philadelphia in 2006, also serving as the Honorary Chair of the event.

Tom was born on July 18, 1936 in Philadelphia to Thomas A. Bruder, Sr. and Mary A. (nee Stitt) and was the oldest of six children.  Tom came from a close-knit family where his parents modeled the importance of faith, family and hard work; values that he lived by and taught his own six children.   

Tom attended St. Francis of Assisi School, Waldron Academy (1950), Malvern Prep (1954), and University of Notre Dame (1958). Tom was an excellent student; however, keenly astute in business. After college, he went on to serve in the Army National Guard.

Tom loved all sports!  As a high school student, he ran track and played football.  One of his many joys was golf.  He relished his time at both Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square where he was a 60-year member and Indian Creek Country Club, in Miami, FL where he was a 54-year member.  Both of these clubs held a special place in his heart.  The members and staff of both were truly an extension of his family. 

In 1982, Tom created and sponsored the MAB Paints Lacrosse Club as a regular participant in the Vail Lacrosse Shoot Out Tournament, which at that time brought many of the top players in the world. MAB won championships in 1993, 1995, 1998, and 2002 and three runner-up finishes.  MAB posted an overall record of 52-14 against the top post-collegiate club players in the country.

In 1990, MAB Paints joined the USCLA, the top post-collegiate league in the country and where many of the top players competed before the National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse formed. Two years later, MAB paints merged with Eagles Lacrosse Club to form a powerhouse team in the USCLA.

MAB Paints placed second in the USCLA three times beginning in 2002, and finally broke through with the club championship in 2006 by edging North Hempstead, in dramatic style, scoring with 11 seconds left to win, 14-13.

“He significantly helped put Philadelphia lacrosse on the map,” said Chris McNichol, general manager of MAB Paints and the nephew of Bruder. “Before it was always Long Island and Baltimore that won at the national tournaments; Philadelphia was an afterthought.

“But as sponsor, he helped to bring the best players out and recruit the best players, like Chris Flynn, Gary Gait, Tony Resch, Billy Miller and others. They helped to make Philadelphia a team to reckon with.”

McNichol noted that the success of MAB Paints at the club level filtered down to all levels. What’s more, Bruder helped sponsor youth club teams in the Philadelphia area.

“Philadelphia is one of the newer hotbeds of lacrosse,” McNichol said. “And it shows in what Tom did and how he helped grow the sport, whether it was the youth clubs or all the way to the national club tournaments.

“So many great memories have flooded my head over past few days!  Each one with a smile!  He’s a legend!”

“Tom Bruder deserves so much credit for the growth and success of Philadelphia lacrosse,” said Scott Gabrielsen, former MAB team captain. “Tom always wanted the best of the best and he got them. Our Vail Tournament, MAB Paints Philadelphia Lacrosse Club teams were like a PLL team today.

“Our roster was always loaded. And winning championships proved that. He was also a great mentor and shared his appreciation of the good things in life with us. I loved that guy. God bless you Mr. Bruder.”

Tom enjoyed watching all sports.  His favorite teams included Notre Dame Football, Villanova Basketball, and the Philadelphia Phillies.  Up until the very end, Tom watched Villanova beat Georgetown and enjoyed four amazing football playoff games.

M.A. Bruder & Sons, Inc. (M.A.B. Paints) was founded in Philadelphia in 1899. Tom became president of the family business in 1967 at the age of 31, upon the death of his father, Thomas A. Bruder, Sr. Tom and his brothers, Mike and Jim, owned and managed the business for 40 years growing the company from 18 stores and one manufacturing plant in the Philadelphia region to 132 stores in 14 states and three manufacturing facilities located in Philadelphia, Pa, Terre Haute, Indiana and Orlando, Fl., ultimately selling the company in 2007. At the office, Tom had an open-door policy where employees, customers (and even his children!) came in with a problem and left with a solution.  He was a good listener and a strong leader.  MAB was a company where employees were treated like family.   It was a place where you started “a job” but wound up developing your career.

Tom Bruder loyally served his community by giving generously of his time, talent and treasure. He was most proud of his work with Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital, Riddle Hospital, Main Line Health, Malvern Prep, Neumann University, The Maxwell Football Club, the University of Notre Dame and the Development Counsel at Villanova University. 

Tom was a devoted and beloved husband, father, grandfather great-grandfather, uncle and friend.

Tom is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Kathleen (nee Ryan) and their children: Thomas A. III (Lynn), John A., Mary Kate Trusk (Todd), Timothy A., (Sarah), Christopher J. (Lisa), James A. (Marisa), his grandchildren Devynne Bruder Slagis (Ben), Thomas A., IV. (Ashley), Stephen J. & Erin R. Bruder; Christopher T., Michaela K., Timothy J., Kathleen R., Meghan K. & Charles M. Trusk; Timothy A. Jr., Henry K. & Katharine L.C. Bruder; Grace E., Christopher J. Jr., Brian S. & Mary K. Bruder; James A. Jr., Caroline M., John A. & Abigail R. Bruder; and great-granchild Kellyn Q. Slagis.

Tom is also survived by his sisters: Mary Ann Flanigan, Patricia Irvine (Jay) and Janet Tegler, sister-in-law’s; Meredith Bruder, Maripeg Bruder; 50 loving nieces and nephews and countless friends.  He was pre-deceased by his parents and brothers Michael A. Bruder and James J. Bruder and brother-in-law Al Tegler.

Relatives and friends are invited on Friday Jan. 28th to a Visitation from 9:30 to 11:00 AM with Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM at St. Katharine of Siena Church, Lancaster & Aberdeen Aves., Wayne, PA.  Interment is private. For those unable to attend, the Mass will be livestreamed on the parish website. Go to  www.stkatharineofsiena.org  and click on SKS YouTube to watch.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:  Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306.

Arrangements are by McConaghy Funeral Home, Ltd., of Ardmore.

Vail champions: L-R – Tom Bruder Scott Gabrielsen Chris Flynn George Corrigan John Bruder Roger Reynolds

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