Chief Darryl Lee Bruestle

April 16, 1934 - July 15, 2022
Chief Darryl Lee Bruestle

Chief Darryl Lee Bruestle, age 88 of Wilmington, NC was called home to be with the Lord, Friday, July 15 , 2022, at the Davis Community. He was born on April 16, 1934, to Emil and Dora Bruestle in Pontiac, Michigan.

To know him was to love him. Amongst all his renowned accomplishments, his greatest pride and joy was and always will be, his family and beloved pets. Chief Bruestle was a loving husband to Kaye, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend, and brother to many. He lived humbly and happily with his loving wife Kaye. He kept his life simple with the things he loved…from morning breakfasts with his buddies (most fondly at Whitey’s), to poker nights, to Rotary meetings, to feeding the geese wherever he could find them. He ensured that no stray cat be left hungry and was given a home at the Bruestle residence if they didn’t have one! His genuine and kind spirit will be remembered by everyone he impacted – in our community, the Wilmington Police Department, Winter Park Presbyterian church and beyond.

Chief Bruestle’s career spans over 48 years of Law Enforcement service. He graduated from Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice in 1955. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Reserves, he served his country as a Captain in the Military Police Corps. His ambition was always to protect and serve the public. After his military duty, he returned to Michigan and started his career as a police officer for the Waterford Township Police Department and became Police Chief of the Birmingham Police Department. Additionally, he was a graduate of the FBI Academy in December of 1969. He then became the Assistant Director of the Police Management Division of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In 1975 he was appointed to serve as Chief of the Wilmington Police Department and served with distinction until his retirement in 1991. He is recognized as longest serving Chief of the Wilmington Police Department with 16 years of service as Chief.

After retirement Chief Bruestle administered the development of continuing education programs for the law enforcement and public safety officers at Cape Fear Community College. Under his leadership, the programs increased to be a major provider of in-service and specialized training for Southeastern North Carolina. He received many awards for his achievements and service to his community. He was instrumental in the founding of the Crime Stoppers of New Hanover County. He was an advocate for equality and fairness which echoed in his teachings and leadership roles.

Chief Bruestle was a longtime member of Winter Park Presbyterian Church serving as a Deacon and Elder. He also served as a member and past President of the Wilmington Rotary Club.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Kaye Marie Bruestle; one son, Bradley Jon Bruestle and wife, Tammy; two daughters, LeeAnn Bruestle Carroll and husband Rick, and Maryn Bruestle O’Neill and husband Hugh, and honorary daughter, Karin Schermerhorn; one sister, Cheryl Capistrant and husband Norb; his grandchildren, Chelsea Long, Kaylee Carroll Bransky, Michael O’Neill, Emily O’Neill Lewis, Christopher O’Neill, and Madelyn O’Neill; his great-grandchildren, Everley Long, Vale Long, Adair Long, Haylee O’Neill, Harvey Lewis, and Quincee Bransky.

A Celebration of Life Memorial service will be at 10 am Friday, July 22, 2022, at Winter Park Presbyterian Church-4501 Wrightsville Ave., led by Pastor Emile Harley. His resting place will be in Oleander Memorial Gardens.

There will be a visitation for family and friends from 4 to 6 pm Thursday, July 21, 2022, at the Wilmington Funeral Chapel 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers honor the memory of Chief Bruestle by considering a memorial to the Winter Park Presbyterian Church or the Lower Cape Fear Hospice LifeCare.

Share memories and condolences with the family by visiting the Tribute Wall below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403  910-791-9099



Tribute Wall

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  • July 22, 2022
    Eric & Lynn Reeves says:
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

  • July 22, 2022
    Craig Newlin says:
    You may have known him as husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather or friend but I knew him as Uncle Darryl. As a young boy I remember Uncle Darryl being the biggest man I had ever met. He was just a giant of a man with huge hands and a baritone voice. This should have scared the whits out of me but it didn't. Why? Uncle Darryl had such a warm and disarming smile and he had such a gentle way of speaking that just put you at ease. I remember at family gatherings how he would always find time to come over and sit and talk with me. This made me feel very special. In reading all of the tributes and comments, he had the same effect on everyone. As I got a little older Uncle Darryl and my Birmingham family moved to North Carolina and I didn't see him very often. However, his personality left an indelible mark on me that I take comfort in knowing I take him with me always. Rest in peace Uncle Darryl. My deepest sympathies go out to my Aunt Kaye, my cousins and everyone that knew this special man. Craig Newlin

  • July 21, 2022
    Joy Knox says:
    LeeAnn, My thoughts are with you and all of your family during this time. May you cherish all the memories. Joy

  • July 21, 2022
    Farley G Saxton says:
    I served under Chief Bruestle in the 70's . Chief Bruestle was committed to serve and protect the citizens of Wilmington. I can't think of anyone else better to have served under. May God bless and keep the family and all the Lives he touched.

  • July 20, 2022
    Crystal Nichols says:
    Maryn, May the Holy Spirit comfort you & your family as only He can do. Praying for you. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:18‬ ‭