Jerry And Marlene Get Their Start
Jerry Bruland started skating in 1943, at age 9, when is father opened his first roller skating rink, The Victory Roller Rink in
Anacortes Washington. By 1945 Jerry had progressed to competing, and made his competitive debut at the Washington State
Meet that year. At 11 years old, Jerry and his family moved to Tampa, FL, where Jerry's father was the rink operator of The
Coliseum Roller Rink. In 1946 the Bruland family moved back to Washington where his father began operating the roller
skating rink in Ferndale. That same year Jerry completed in his first National Championships in New York City.
Marlene Kastner started skating in 1947, following several years of ballet and character dance training, and music studies. She
was introduced to skating at a friend's 13th the rink in Ferndale, WA.
Jerry and Marlene skated together as pairs and fours partners, skating competitively during the late 40's and early 50's. The duo
was coached by Jerry's father, Ted Bruland, who was coach to many champions. Jerry and Marlene have enjoyed a very
successful skating career, both as skaters themselves, and as coaches.
Jerry and Marlene's National Placements as skaters:
1947 Jerry 3rd Junior Boys Figures
1948 Jerry 3rd Junior Boys Figures
1949 Jerry 1st Junior Boys Freestyle, 2nd Junior Boys Figures, 2nd Junior Pairs w/ Karen (Kohlwes) Bowsher
1950 Jerry 1st Jerry and Marlene 3rd Intermediate Men Freestyle, 3rd Intermediate Men Figures, Jerry and Marlene 3rd Intermediate Fours with Courtney Lindell, and Karen (Kohlwes) Bowsher
1951 Jerry and Marlene 3rd Senior Fours with DuWayne Lindell and Karen (Kohlwes) Bowsher
1953 Jerry 3rd Senior Men Figures
1954 Jerry 3rd Senior Men Figures Jerry and Marlene 3rd Senior Pairs
From Skating Partners To Life Partners
Shortly after meeting at Jerry's father's rink in 1948 Jerry and Marlene were self-described "best friends" sharing many mutual
interests. Marlene's father was a theatre manager and so was Jerry's uncle. The two families hit it off right away. Jerry went to
Ferndale High School while Marlene attended Bellingham High, but the two had mutual friends in both schools and did school
activities together. As teenagers, while skating as pairs partners, their friendship blossomed into romance. While many of the
teams they competed against fought all the time, Jerry and Marlene always got along. At the 1954 Nationals, where they placed
3rd in Senior Pairs, during the medal presentation, Joe Nazzaro, who was announcing the meet at the time, surprised the couple
by announcing their retirement from competitive skating and our engagement. It was a moment they've always cherished. They
were married later that same year with every member of the wedding party being skaters, including Marlene's younger sister,
Coral, acting as a "junior bridesmaid" as she was too young to be the maid of honor. The happy couple will celebrate 60 years of
marriage this September.
Growing With The Sport
Upon their retirement in 1954, the Brulands entered into one of the longest and most successful coaching partnerships known to
the sport, in addition to serving roller skating in officiating and judging capacities, including as judges at the California regionals in
the late 50s and 60s, and Jerry judging the World Championships in 1960. With so many successes and contributions, it seems
hard to pinpoint a top moment in the Brulands' coaching and officiating careers. With their typical charming modesty, the two tell
of "one highlight" revolving around coaching skaters who have achieved qualification for, and success at, international
competitions, including the World Championships. Their skater, Patti Jefferson, placed 3rd
1987, and 1988, and was the Pan Am Champion in 1987. Recently, they have achieved great success with precision team
skating, having sent teams to represent the USA at the World Championships three times.
The Brulands' Contributions as Officials and Coach's Recognition:
2005 USARS Hall of Fame, RSA life Membership
2005 Marlene named RSA Teacher of the Year
1998 Regional Coaches of the Year
1993- Present Jerry serves as president of the Washington State USARS
1993-Present Marlene serves as secretary/treasurer of Washington State USARS
2004-Present Marlene serves as secretary of the Northwest Teachers Association
2009 Marlene and Jerry granted Elite Coach Status
Mar, the affectionate nickname given to Marlene by her husband, which has been adopted by all of her skaters, described their
motivation and philosophy as coaches: "Number one… to keep growing with the sport! We want to have skaters who truly love
the sport, that want to succeed. Coaching is a coach and skater working together as a team; one can't succeed without the other.
We enjoy the sport; we want others to experience the same feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small, or large. There has
to be a place for all skaters, all abilities. One of our greatest rewards is having skaters coming back to skating after having
families, finding time to skate again; that is a largest success a coach can have. Success is not necessarily the winning…..there
are many other wins within the sport".
A Family Of Skaters
No tribute rings as true as the feelings of a skater about the relationship with their coach, and the Bruland's skaters have plenty to
say about their teachers. When asked about their impact on skating in the Northwest, John Lehni, skater, official, and friend said
"I have known the Brulands for many years. They have given of themselves over and over to the sport of artistic roller skating.
They were successful skaters themselves before turning their focus to the coaching of skaters. Their interest in helping their
skaters become the best that they could be on and off the floor has always been evident. Their positive effects have been felt by
all that have been fortunate enough to spend time with them. They are indeed treasures of the Pacific Northwest!"
Long time student and friend Brenda Schmidt appreciates not only the levels of competitive success they've helped her to
achieve, but the often overlooked value of show skating: "I started skating with Marlene in Bellingham in her ice shows in the 70's.
My first show number was Jesus Christ Super Star. I was the youngest and smallest in the show and remember wearing a group
of shiny gold stars on my head! I was about 7 years old. Marlene's shows are some of my fondest memories. My son, Hayden,
also skated in a number of shows in Marysville when he was around the same age. Marlene's shows have been the only time my
mom, Hayden, and I, as a family, have had the opportunity to all skate together. Just the other day I asked Marlene if she would
put together another show and told her how much I missed them. Jerry and Marlene are two of the nicest people I know, so
dedicated to the sport. They truly have a love for the sport of skating! I am so thankful for the joy that they have brought to my
family through skating."
The feeling of family permeates the sentiment given by a number of their students. Lona Dennis describes her experience thus;
"Having Marlene and Jerry as my coaches for 45 years (and counting) has truly been a special gift in my life. They've always
encouraged me, have always been by my side, have always believed in me and inspired me to believe in myself, and to always
have fun. Their selfless support and commitment to skating have guided my spirit and life in countless ways. But more than
skating, they've exemplified and taught me life skills that have carried me through disappointments and successes. Marlene and
Jerry are my family, my inspiration, my mentors, and my role models. I love them with all my heart, and I am forever grateful for
their continued gift to me, as well as so many others." Sue Logghe agrees, "Marlene and Jerry have been with me longer than my
own parents. They taught me how to skate with pride and confidence in myself; they have taught me that in all circumstances you
can find a reason to laugh; they have taught me how to live and skate with integrity and joy. They created a skating family, and it is
an honor to be a part of that family." And Cheryl Baldwin encapsulated the experience of taking from the Brulands as follows: "I
started skating with Jerry's dad, Ted Bruland. When he retired he brought me to Mar and I was scared, as she coached "the big
kids". When I was in middle school, Jerry (who was teaching school then and only gave a few lessons) told my mother I was ready
for lessons from him. What a wonderful and scary feeling that was! I love and cherish both of them. They mean the world to me.
They taught me more than skating, they taught me life lessons: cheering on your competitors even if you don't want to, teamwork,
putting on a brave face even when are scared out of your mind, and most of all to have FUN! They always said if it isn't fun
anymore you might as well just go home. I went home a few times, but I always came back, and I am still their student after more
than 50 years."
The NWRSF is proud of Jerry and Marlene and grateful for their years of service… and looks forward to many more years
enjoying the sport with this wonderful couple!