Tonya Bruegeman Obituary

Tonya Dawn Bruegeman
Tonya Dawn Bruegeman

May 10, 1978 - May 21, 2020
Born in Portland, Oregon
Resided in Bend, Oregon


Tonya Dawn (Johnson) Bruegeman grew up in Paulina, Oregon with the Ochoco and Maury Mountains as her back yard. Her middle name Dawn reflected the time of day she was born, May 10th, 1978. It was a beautiful morning and her Mother Violet M. Johnson and Father Steve A. Johnson of Paulina, Oregon wanted to honor how special the day was to them. She loved the outdoors spending many days enjoying nature. She was active in 4-H and proudly showed off her animals. Tonya was deeply connected to her favorite horse, Simba; and some of her cremated remains will forever rest with her equine friend. She graduated from Crook County High School Class of 1996. She then received her Associates Degree from Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, OR.

Tonya spent many years working for Ochoco National Forest Youth Conservation Corp., Wildland Firefighting for the Umatilla National Forest Frazier Rappel Crew, and the Deschutes National Forest. While her efforts were focused on the local region, she traveled to other states helping the cause in the many years of work. Her last assignment was at the Redmond Air Center.

Tonya and her husband, Benjamin Bruegeman of Bend, enjoyed bass fishing and the friendly competition it brought, she always enjoyed out fishing her husband. Often it was noted that Tonya had the knack for selecting the superior lure relative to her husband. Consequently, she let him unhook her fish to rub it in. They enjoyed supporting the Rip-N-Lips Benefit that supports the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. In addition to the Pacific Northwest adventures they enjoyed traveling and engaging with the world beyond. They were married for just over 12 years upon her passing.

The evening prior to Tonya passing there was a parade of vehicles in front of their home. Local forest service agencies, fire engines, law enforcement, and friends passed by honking and supporting Tonya in the last hours of her fight against cancer. The procession was nonstop cars for over six minutes with many neighbors joining in showing her support. Tonya passed on May 21st, 2020, peacefully surrounded by family after a courageous six-year battle with cancer. She was preceded in death by her mother, Violet Mae. In lieu of flowers she asked donations to be made to Brightside Animal Shelter, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, or the American Cancer Society.




Funeral Home
Baird Funeral Home - Bend
2425 NE Tweet Pl
Bend, OR US 97703