The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
“Preserving the History of Law Enforcement in the Greater Cincinnati Area”
Father Bruno M. Kremp O.F.M.
Bruno was born February 24, 1937 in Stuttgart, Germany, the only child born to Oskar Alfred and Allegonda Maria (Kramps) Kremp. He was two years old when Hitler invaded Poland and five when Stuttgart sustained its first large-scale bombing of World War II. At six he was evacuated to foster care and separated from his family for two years. His grandmother and an uncle died in bombing raids. His father, a quartermaster with his German regiment, was a prisoner of war. He was eight during the 53rd and last bombings of Stuttgart. Four years later, during 1949, when visas were available, Bruno’s Godfather borrowed money for the Kremps to emigrate to America.
The family settled in Mt. Auburn. On his second day in the United States, Bruno was sitting in Holy Name School in Mt. Auburn. His father ran a drugstore on Court Street and his mother was a seamstress. He too found employment as a pinsetter at the Friars’ Club bowling alley.
Bruno attended high school at the St. Francis Seminary. After graduating, he entered the Franciscan novitiate in 1956. Bruno professed first vows as a friar in 1957, studied philosophy at Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Michigan, professed solemn vows in 1960, earned his theology degree at St. Leonard College in Centerville, and was ordained on June 9, 1965. He was initially assigned to Corpus Christi Church.
Fr. Bruno began ministering part-time to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department as its first Chaplain in 1967, comforting and counseling those touched by violence and tragedy.
From 1972 to 1975 Fr. Bruno was the pastor at St. George church in Clifton. He was also the director and promoter of retreats at Friarhurst retreat center. On July 1, 1976 he transferred to Over the Rhine as co-pastor of St. Francis Seraph Church and assigned to a Clinical Pastoral Education program. He also worked with the Cincinnati Council on Alcoholism and helping families deal with alcoholic members.
By 1979, Fr. Bruno was assigned as the pastor of St. Bonaventure Church in Fairmount. He had the sad duty of closing its historical Catholic school in 1980.
During July 1981 Fr. Bruno expanded his personal law enforcement ministry to a countywide, sixteen-member, multidenominational police-clergy team under the auspices of the Hamilton County Police Association. The team received training in disasters, crisis intervention, domestic services, public relations, and various other police training courses. During 1985, the group merged with the Cincinnati Police Clergy Team. By 1987, the HCPA team numbered twenty members and had a dual ministry; helping victims of serious accidents or crime and ministering to police officers.
About 1987, he was transferred to the St. Francis Center in Springfield Township. By then, he was additionally assigned to the Marriage Tribunal of the Cincinnati Archdiocese from 1981 to 1994 and as Vocation Director for the Franciscans.
Twenty-three years into his police ministry, Fr. Bruno was given a citizen award at the 1990 annual Police Appreciation Dinner during Police Memorial Week. Also during 1990 and the Gulf War, Fr. Bruno expanded the ministry and teamed up with the American Red Cross to assist with families receiving word their loved ones being wounded or killed in action.
On January 22, 1998, Fr. Bruno received the Hamilton County Police Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. By then, he was the Superior at the St. Francis Center. For years, he was also the spiritual director for the Kolping Society.
Having “been there” for everyone else for forty years, Fr. Bruno – Car Number 6-George-17 – retired from his law enforcement ministry on March 1, 2007 to spend more time taking care of his new parish, St. Clement Church in St. Bernard. By 2013, he was “retiring” as a priest, but continued to work as Chaplain of the Kolping Society and Deaconess and Mercy Western Hills hospitals until 2016.
During 2018, Fr. Bruno began showing signs of dementia. During 2019, he was self-admitted to a nursing home. On January 18, 2020, he fell and broke his hip. Surgery was performed at Bethesda Hospital and a rod inserted, but complications occurred. Hospice was called in on January 24th. Fr. Bruno died at 2:35 a.m. on January 25, 2020. He was 82.
Fr. Bruno was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by relatives in Germany.
Visitation will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at St. Clement Church at 4536 Vine Street in St. Bernard. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. He will be interred at St. Mary Cemetery in St. Bernard.
Memorials in his honor may be sent to the Franciscans at FriarWorks, 1615 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.
© 2020 – All rights reserved to LT Stephen R. Kramer RET and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum