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Bruce Hanke


1958 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Bruce Hanke Obituary
Bruce W. Hanke

1958 - 2015 Surrounded by family and close friends, Bruce Hanke left this world on Monday, October 12, after a courageous battle with cancer. Bruce was born at Plunkett Memorial Hospital in Adams, MA on November 3, 1958 to William and Mildred (Kryston) Hanke of East Road in Adams. Growing up on East Road next to his grandmother's (Emma Wenzel) farm, Bruce spent summers and most weekends building dams and fishing in Southwick Brook, picking up hay bales in the fields, exploring the woods, and playing sandlot baseball and football with the neighborhood kids and his older brother, Mike. He attended local schools and then graduated from Hoosac Valley High School in 1977, where he was a stand out on the track team as a long jumper, javelin thrower, and sprinter. Bruce attended Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA for one year, where he majored in fine arts, before transferring to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and majoring in Communication Design. Bruce explored printmaking and other media while at Pratt, and then in 1982, following his graduation, joined DMCD, an exhibition design firm located in NYC, where he worked for 12 years as a graphic designer. His work won numerous national design awards, including a Presidential Design Award for Blue Heron, a project that he and Mike completed in the late 1980s while at DMCD. In 1994, Bruce became the chief graphic designer at Design Division, Inc., a company Mike had recently formed. While at Design Division, Bruce conceived and designed all of the graphics for the award winning Mashantucket Pequot Museum, the largest Native American Museum in the United States, opening in 1998 in Ledyard, CT. In the early 2000s Bruce took a senior graphic design position with the Option Institute, located in Sheffield, MA. Bruce began painting seriously in 1990, specializing in figurative, portraiture, and still life subject matter. He won considerable acclaim for his work, which was exhibited widely in galleries in both NYC and internationally. In 2010, his painting titled "Like Father" featuring his son, Charlie, as a model, was selected for inclusion in the prestigious BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. In the late 1980s he met and married the love of his life, Rebecca Ward, a native of Surrey, England. They lived briefly in Brooklyn, then moved to Kent, CT, where their two sons Henry and Charlie were born. After a short few years in Kent, the family moved to an expansive Victorian era fixer-upper in Norfolk, CT, where Bruce spent long hours renovating and restoring the home to its original luster. In his spare time he liked to tinker with his prized 1958 Willy's Jeep. Bruce's greatest sense of pride and accomplishment was manifest is his two sons, Henry and Charlie. Bruce was a dedicated father and enjoyed supporting his sons in school and in their various activities. Bruce and his wife Rebecca had many close friends in the Norfolk area, and frequently entertained by hosting wonderful dinner parties and gatherings. Bruce is survived by his wife of 24 years, Rebecca Ward, his sons, Henry (18) and Charlie (16), his mother, Mildred Hanke of Adams, MA, his brother, Mike and his wife, Ann Marshall, and their children Sean and Marshall Hanke of Amherst, MA, his best friend, Finn Winterson, of Groton, CT, and numerous other family members and close friends. Bruce was a much loved by all who got to know him and will be greatly missed. SERVICES: A gathering to honor Bruce's life will be held in his home at 287 Litchfield Road in Norfolk, CT on October 17, 2015 at 6p.m. The PACIOREK FUNERAL HOME, 13 Hoosac St. Adams, MA is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave a message of condolence, please go online to : www.paciorekfuneral.com Portrait By Bruce Hanke
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 15, 2015
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