Kathryn Brunelle

Kathryn D. Brunelle, a flight attendant who was also chief financial officer of her husband's company, died Monday of a stroke at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The Ellicott City resident was 44.


The daughter of a career Air Force officer and a homemaker, Kathryn Diane Murphy was born in Wichita, Kan., and raised in Turkey and Texas. She graduated in 1986 from a high school on the Lajes Air Base in the Azores.

Mrs. Brunelle earned an associate's degree from Howard Community College.

For the past seven years, Mrs. Brunelle flew for Mesa Airlines Inc., where she was a flight attendant and was based at Dulles International Airport.

"She was the happiest when she was in the air. She was passionate about flying. She just loved traveling," said her husband of 23 years, Allen Brunelle, who is the president of Perpetual Innovations LLC in Savage.

Mrs. Brunelle was a member of the Association of Flight Attendants.

"Kathy was an outgoing, positive person. Her zest for life, ever-present smile that would light up her eyes and caring personality were the essence of who she was," said a news release from the Association of Flight Attendants announcing her death.

"She was loved by passengers and adored by crew, and she didn't ever have a bad word to say about anyone. Kathy was always available to help anyone that needed it, opening her home to countless pilots and flight attendants needing a place to stay for a night or two," said the release. "She had a heart of gold."

Mrs. Brunelle also was chief financial officer for her husband's company, a software and information technology engineering firm that provides services to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mrs. Brunelle was a communicant of St. Louis Roman Catholic Church, 12500 Clarksville Pike, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Brunelle is survived by two sons, Tyler Brunelle and Travis Brunelle, both of Ellicott City; her parents, Daniel C. and Carolyn D. Murphy of Trinity, Texas; a brother, Daniel C. Murphy II of San Antonio; and a sister, Melissa F. Strnad of Great Falls, Mont.