Brunner, Theodore F. 1934-2007 (Theodore Friederich Brunner)

views updated

Brunner, Theodore F. 1934-2007 (Theodore Friederich Brunner)


See index for CA sketch: Born July 3, 1934, in Nuremberg, Germany; died of lung cancer, March 7, 2007, in Laguna Beach, CA. Educator, police officer, and author. A retired professor of classics, Brunner was best known for his leadership role in creating the world's largest electronic database of the Greek language. Along with his family, he left Germany just after World War II, making his way to the United States in 1953 via the Netherlands. That same year, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines, serving in Japan until 1956. Returning to America, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee in 1960. For his graduate work, he attended Stanford University, completing a master's in 1963 and a doctorate in 1965. His first faculty position was with Ohio State University, before the University of California hired him in 1966 to set up the classics department at the new Irvine campus. In 1972, a generous grant to the university allowed Brunner to begin the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae project. As director, Brunner organized scholars to collect the most authoritative manuscripts by such writers and philosophers as Sophocles, Homer, and Thucydides. Using a computer system called IBYCUS developed by David W. Packard, Brunner and his team had digitized the works of over three thousand authors by 1985. Today, it includes over twelve thousand works from the eighth century B.C.E. through 1453 C.E., the year the Byzantine Empire fell. The collection, available on CD-ROM and on the Internet, has been a windfall to researchers across the globe, who no longer have to travel to university libraries to access this information. Brunner remained at Irvine for the rest of his academic career, serving as department chair from 1968 to 1972 and as associate dean of humanities from 1969 to 1972; he retired in 1998. Interestingly, Brunner took up an entirely new career after this. He attended the Orange County Sheriff's Academy, graduating in 2001 as the oldest officer in his class. He served with the Laguna Beach police as a reserve officer until illness forced him to retire in 2005. Brunner was coauthor of The Elements of Scientific and Specialized Terminology (1967) and two indexes, and also cotranslated and coedited a critical edition of Sophocles's Oedipus Tyrannus (1970).



Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2007, p. B17.

Washington Post, March 14, 2007, p. B7.

About this article

Brunner, Theodore F. 1934-2007 (Theodore Friederich Brunner)

Updated About content Print Article