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Richard W. Bruce

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SHAFTSBURY -- Richard W. Bruce passed away Oct. 31, 2005, after a long battle with cancer. He was born April 4, 1925.

He was the son of the late Charles and Elizabeth Bruce of Sharon.

This is the story of Richard W. Bruce’s life, in his own words:

Being a state foster child for all of my formative years, I was fortunate to be placed with just two different families - the Clifford Blairs and Clyde Bryants. I lived with the Blairs for 12 years and the Bryants for nine. I was treated like one of their own which made it good for me growing up. I fell in love with the farming part of it.

I graduated from the Burr and Burton Seminary in 1943 and worked on the farm until 1946. At this time I decided to leave the farm and go it alone.

I started working at Walker’s Farm Supply in Manchester Depot. As I was familiar with this kind of work, it made things easier for me. The Walker, Morrison and King families were a big support to me.

In 1950 I met this wonderful lady who would later become my wife of 54 years - Barbara Peckham. Married in 1951, we moved to Canajoharie, N.Y., to run a hay and grain farm, Saddle Back Farm No. 2. The main dairy farm was in Dorset.

After four years we decided to move back to the North Bennington area to be closer to family. I started working at Cushman Furniture, which then became General Interiors, and then, Green Mountain Furniture until the plant closed in 1980. In total, I worked 25 years there.

When the plant closed, I started driving school bus for Sullivan Bus Lines and Garth Bus Lines. I enjoyed this job very much and met many young people that I found interesting to talk to. Show them respect and they will treat you the same.

In the mid-1960s we bought a lot in Shaftsbury and had a house built there. It remained our home for the rest of my life.

We enjoyed camping with our travel trailer at campgrounds in the New England states and western New York. With a small motor home we took an extended trip around the United States. We visited 22 of them. During our retirement we took tours to Hawaii and Alaska, as well. What a beautiful country we have.

We retired in the mid-80s and decided to spend our winters in Florida which we did until illness made it impossible. Our life-long friends from Readsboro, Clayton and Mabel Phelps, also retired to Florida. We had many good times together. Do what you want when you can because, as with us, there might come a time when you cannot.

I enjoyed hunting, fishing and working the land. I had a very ingenious mind and because of that I was resourceful. Family was very important to me. I feel so fortunate to have had a partner to care for me in these tough times. She is a partner and an angel.

Survivors are my wife of 54 years, Barbara; a stepdaughter and stepson-in-law, Donna and James Durand of Elk Ridge, Utah; a step-granddaughter, Nancy, and her husband Howard Preston and their children Samantha and Morgan of Manchester, N.H.; a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ann and Robert Mackey of North Bennington; a sister-in-law, Eilene Peckham of North Bennington; a sister-in-law, Rovena Peckham of Norway, Maine; and several nieces and nephews.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at the Southern Vermont Cancer Center - the nurses and Dr. Maurer; to Dr. Parnes at Albany Medical Center and to Dr. DeConti of Moffett Cancer Center of Tampa, Fla.

I will now vacate this spot I’ve held for some 80-plus years. I hope whoever takes it over will get as much good living from it as I have.

At the request of Mr. Bruce there will be no calling hours or funeral service. A memorial service will be held in the spring at the convenience of the family.

Contributions in memory of Mr. Richard W. Bruce may be made to either the Southern Vermont Cancer Center in Bennington; the Albany Medical Center Cancer Department in Albany, N.Y., or the Moffett Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201

Goodbye for now.
Published in Bennington Banner on Nov. 2, 2005
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