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Alan Cibuzar - 'A Brainerd original'

Friends and associates of Alan Cibuzar, 65, who died of a heart attack Sunday, remembered him as an inquisitive and creative person with a wide variety of interests.

The owner and chief executive officer of AW Research and Image Engineering, Cibuzar was an environmental enthusiast who worked to sustain the quality of Minnesota lakes. His obituary stated the techniques and applications he used in his business were featured in such publications as National Geographic and the Wall Street Journal.

Cibuzar had been a pilot since he was 15 and it was a mutual interest in aviation that first brought Cibuzar and Brian Thuringer, president of Madden’s, together.

“Alan’s just an original,” Thuringer said. “He was a pioneer thinker.”

Thuringer said Cibuzar was never afraid to be unconventional, march to his own drummer or propose solutions others didn’t even know were available. He described his friend as uncensored, a trait that not everyone appreciated.

“I would have been Al’s friend no matter what,” Thuringer said. “He’s a Brainerd original.”

Peter Nelson, was a friend and a business partner with Cibuzar in Hidden Fuels, a firm that taps the energy from septic systems.

“He was very smart, inquisitive, inventive,” Nelson said.

Nelson said Cibuzar’s death was a huge loss to the community and to the business.

“We’ll have to re-establish where we go from here,” he said.

Cibuzar was an active member of the Brainerd Rotary Club and served on the Brainerd YMCA Foundation for several years.

Randy Klinger, executive director of the Brainerd Family YMCA, said Cibuzar was a faithful laps swimmer who would stop by Klinger’s office to say hi two or three times a week.

Cibuzar, according to Klinger, was kind, articulate, creative and “an individual that thought outside of the box and always had the best interests of the “Y” and our members in mind.”

“Al was a real unique thinker,” Klinger said. “He really looked at life from a very different angle. ... We’re going to miss his presence immensely.”

Visitation services for Cibuzar are from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Nelson-Doran Funeral Home. A celebration of his life is set for noon Saturday at the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or Follow on Twitter at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860