Bruno Ociepka, Jr.

bruno ociepka,

November 24, 1942 ~ April 13, 2024

Born in: Chicago, IL
Resided in: Arden, NC

Arden- Bruno Ociepka, Jr., 81, of Arden, died on Saturday, April 13, 2024 at Mission Hospital.

A native of Chicago, IL, he was a son of the late Bruno and Wanda Ociepka.

Bruno graduated from Loyola University with a Bachelor of Science in 1964 and his Master’s in Education in 1969. He taught English at Gordon Tech High School in Chicago for almost 10 years. He was instrumental in getting his cousin Bob Ociepka who was like a brother to Bruno, hired as an assistant coach with the Gorden Tech basketball team. Dick Versace hired Bob a few years later as his assistant coach in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers. That changed Bob’s life and career forever.

When Bruno was very young, his dad would take his family on car trips throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. Bruno developed a love for travel that he wanted to share with his students, so he arranged group trips for his students to Spain, France, Italy Greece and nearly every country in Europe including cruises to the Caribbean. He also traveled to countries in South America, Central America and to Mexico.

In 1976, Bruno and Donna met as travel agents in Chicago and traveled together extensively for nearly 50 years. They moved to other parts of the United States such as Portland, OR, Naples, FL and then to a mountaintop condo in Swannanoa, NC. They later moved to Black Mountain, NC and opened an exclusive cat boarding facility, Cat’s Cradle. They sold the business to a cat loving family last year who have expanded and made it even more beautiful than ever.

Bruno is survived by his life partner of 48 years, Donna Chainas as well as many cousins on both sides of his family.

In lieu of flowers, Bruno’s family asks that you do what he would do- help someone in need by making a donation of your time or money, or by simply being a good friend and neighbor. Even a small act of kindness can make a positive impact on someone’s life.

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting his family.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Donna,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. If we can be of any help please reach out to us.
    Bill and Abby Hartman (And little Nugget)

  2. I write this with a heavy heart. My wife Jessica and I have known Bruno and Donna for almost ten years as they operated Cats Cradle. Bruno’s love of cats, as he loved all animals, showed with the special care for ours. We connected on so many topics, especially his passion for travel and science. I will always remember the special visits with Bruno in Paris as well as dinners with him and Donna at their home or in Asheville.

  3. Donna: Chris and I share your sorrow in the loss of our dear “Brunskis” and will forever miss him as a part of our family. We fondly remember him as a kind and soft-spoken gentleman, whose quiet demeanor belied a sharp intellect and wry sense of humor. He will always occupy a special spot in our hearts.

  4. Donna: we feel so fortunate that we have you as neighbors! When you both moved to our community it was like a light was lit of positiveness. Bruno was like a rock star!! Quiet and yet commanded a great presence just being himself. We are touched to share our lives together however long or short they may be.

  5. Dearest Donna, Robert and I were saddened to hear the passing of your partner Bruno. We were fortunate enough to have met Bruno when we boarded Sylvia over the years. We send our deepest condolences and send you healing prayers. Fondly, Robert and Patricia Marks (Hendersonville NC)

  6. I just saw this sad news when I was speaking about Mr. Ociepka to a friend of mine. He was my travel teacher years ago and he gave me so much guidance and words of wisdom that I am forever grateful for. He taught me so much and gave me the confidence to follow my dream and 37 years later thanks to his guidance and lessons in life I am still in travel. His smile is still the same and I am so blessed that I was able to be one of his students. I still tell everyone about our class trip to Jamaica. Thank you for all that you taught me. Rip Mr. Ociepka ❤️

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