Bruce Virgil Johnson
1935 - 2020
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Bruce Virgil Johnson, a longtime Manchester resident, passed away at home on June 14, 2020 due to congestive heart failure. He was 84 years old. Bruce was born on November 24, 1935 in Springfield, MN to Leslie and Dora (Engeseth) Johnson. He graduated from Northfield High School in Northfield, MN in 1953. Bruce attended St. Olaf College and then the University of Minnesota where he graduated with Mechanical Engineering degrees. It was there he met Peggy Gaalaas, his future wife of 60 years. They moved East, where he joined United Aircraft Research Laboratory (now United Technologies Research Center) in East Hartford, CT. Bruce developed world-wide expertise in turbomachinery heat transfer, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut while working full-time. He was later elected as a Fellow to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He worked for 33 years at UTRC, then 'retired' and immediately accepted a job offer to lead a research group for Asea Brown Boveri (ABB). He and Peggy moved to Baden, Switzerland, where they lived and worked for 4 years. They enjoyed their time in Switzerland, traveling extensively and discovering the Swiss-German way of life. He served as an advisor to graduate students in the U.S., Switzerland, and Germany. Upon their return to the States, he continued his technical contributions through consulting, and involvement in the A.S.M.E. Bruce was generous with his time, volunteering for numerous organizations. He was a longtime member of Emanuel Lutheran Church, serving on various committees over many years. He volunteered for the Manchester Area Conference of Churches, the Manchester Community Services Council, the Boy Scouts of America (an Eagle Scout himself), and most recently the AARP Foundation as an advisor in tax preparation. He greatly enjoyed reading and gardening, and boating as a member of the Glastonbury yacht club. Bruce was predeceased by his parents, Leslie and Dora Johnson. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Gaalaas Johnson, their children and spouses Karen and David Ruth, Paul Johnson and Jeanne Yu, and Eric and Wendy Johnson, and their grandchildren Daniel and Jacob Ruth, Sonja Johnson-Yu, and Colby and Nicholas Johnson. He will be fondly remembered as big brother to his three brothers and their wives: Keith and Shirley Johnson, Mark and Laura Johnson, Craig Johnson and his late wife Karen Wasti Johnson. A memorial service at Emanuel Lutheran Church will be planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, Manchester Area Conference of Churches, or a charity of choice. To leave a memory or message of condolence, please visit

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Published in Hartford Courant on Jun. 19, 2020.
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June 26, 2020
Dear Peggy and family, I was so sorry to hear about Bruce's death. He was such a good friend to Joe I know what you must be going through. My sincere sympathy to you and your family. Margaret Verdon
Margaret Verdon
June 20, 2020
Bruce was a latecomer to the AARP TaxAide service at the Senior Center, but he persevered and became a dedicated volunteer tax preparer. He once said that he learned so much from the people he served, especially those most vulnerable in our community. His good humor and sheer will to serve were so appreciated. Love you, Bruce. Rest in peace.
Diane DeJoannis
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