Alfred G. Brundage, 96, a nationally recognized square dance caller of Miami and formerly of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Connecticut, died Aug. 30, 2016 in Miami of natural causes.
Brundage, the partner of Norma Peak of Miami since 1997, was predeceased by Beatrice Miles Brundage, his wife of 31 years, and his grandson, Frederick Griswold Schalich.
He is survived by two children, Barry Wolcott Brundage of London, and Mary Lou Brundage Schalich of Monroe, Conn.; three stepchildren, William F. Miles of Annapolis, Md., Barbara Brooks of Rockport, Maine, and Patricia Silvia of Milford, Conn.; a brother, Robert M. Brundage of Albuquerque, N.M.; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Born Nov. 4, 1919 in Hartford, Conn., Brundage was the son of the late Harold A. and Mable Gene Griswold Brundage. He grew up in Danbury, Conn., and graduated from Danbury High School and the University of Maine, where he studied agriculture. However, it was Brundage’s boyhood fascination with square dancing, discovered peeking into the windows at Danbury’s now-defunct Hawthorne’s Tavern, which would direct his career path.
Brundage, his mother, brother and several neighbors formed the 4H Club’s first-ever music club, the King Street Pioneers, that helped introduce square dance music to the region. Brundage initially played trumpet for the band before filling in for the group’s outgoing square dance caller and discovering his life’s passion.
As square dancing grew in popularity, Brundage and the King Street Pioneers went from passing the hat after dances in a former chicken coop to becoming a sought-after attraction for local community groups and churches.
In the 1930s, Brundage began teaching square dancing at state 4H conferences in Stores College, Conn., now the University of Connecticut. He opened his first dance barn in 1948 in Stepney, Conn., where he taught his first caller school, also one of the first in the Northeastern United States.
Brundage received broad recognition for his contributions to square dancing. He was a sought-after attraction among community groups and churches, and a regular featured performer at the Danbury State Fair. He was admitted to the National Square Dance Hall of Fame in 1975 and in 1993, to the New England Square Dancing Hall of Fame. In addition, the Square Dance Foundation of New England presented him its highest award for distinguished service, the Yankee Clipper Award, in 2003.
In addition to calling square dances and teaching callers in Connecticut, and after 1978, in Florida, Brundage established a strong dance tourism program. Over the course of 50 years, he and his late wife led thousands of dancers to sightseeing and dance exchanges in 35 countries.
Among Brundage’s career highlights were the opportunities to call square dances on the Great Wall of China, at the Taj Mahal in India, and on the grounds of the Parthenon in Greece, the Pyramids in Egypt and at Nairobi National Park in Kenya.
As he shared his love of square dancing and travel, Brundage developed deep, lasting friendships around the world. He lived his life based on a creed he called the “3 Cs,” striving never to complain, criticize or condemn.
Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Al’s memory be made to the Square Dance Foundation of New England, c/o Sheila Moody, 72 Beachwood Terrace, Wells, ME, 04090-4003