Wesley G. Bruer, California State Geologist and Chief of the California Division of Mines and Geology (California Geological Survey) from 1969 to 1973, passed away on January 4, 2013. Bruer was born in Oregon April 20, 1926, and graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1949. Before entering state service he was a geologist for a cement company in Oregon and for oil companies in Texas and California, as well as a consulting geologist in Bakersfield. He is a former president of the San Joaquin Geological Society, and was a member of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Society of Mining Engineers, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Sacramento Geological Society, and the Sacramento Petroleum Association. He also served as first vice president of the American Institute of Professional Geologists, California Section, which he helped organize. Bruer was one of the leaders in drafting and securing the passage of the California Geologist’s Act in 1968 and was honored by being awarded Registered Geologist Certificate No. 1 by the newly appointed State Board of Registration for Geologists. In 1973 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
In 1969 when Bruer was appointed the Division, it was undergoing many changes primarily becoming more involved with earthquakes and earthquake hazards. Bruer oversaw physical changes as well, as the Division’s headquarters were moved to the State capitol in Sacramento, and the Division was reorganized to establish three District Offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco. It was also at this time (1970) that the Division’s mission was officially designated as “Geologic Hazards and Mineral Resources Conservation” which included the elements of “Environmental and Economic Geology” and “Information and Educational Services.” Bruer oversaw a staff of 80 people, about half of whom were professional geologists who were registered under the new licensing law.
In January 1971 under Bruer’s watch, the monthly publication of CDMG, the Mineral Information Service which had been established 23 years before, was renamed to California Geology. Often referred to as “Cal Geology,” the monthly publication expanded its breadth of geologic topics and became a vehicle for public education on seismic safety.
The following month, on February 9, 1971 the devastating San Fernando earthquake hit, and Bruer was one of the first officially on the scene directing the Division’s response. Following the earthquake, Bruer was active in influencing the legislation of the Alquist-Priolo Special Study Zones Act, Strong Motion Instrumentation Program, the Hospital Seismic Safety Act, and setting forth guidelines for assisting cities and counties in preparing safety elements.
At the same time he was appointed Chief of the Division of Mines and Geology, the New Governor Ronald Reagan also appointed him to head the Division of Oil and Gas. Following his service as State Geologist, Bruer left to work for the Federal-State Fuel Coordination Center as the Energy Planning Coordinator.
The following link is to The Bakersfield Californian obituary, posted January 9, 2013: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bakersfield/obituary.aspx?n=wesley-g-bruer&pid=162240246