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Bruce Allbin


1941 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Bruce Allbin Obituary
Bruce Allbin

June 26, 1941 - April 25, 2018

Bruce Allbin: Friend, Dad, Ignatian, Golden Bear
Bruce was born in San Francisco on June 26, 1941 to Charlotte Packel and Wayne Dewey Allbin. He was an only child. After attending St Cecilia's and skipping one grade, he joined one of if not THE most important institution of his life: Saint Ignatius High School. He recalled this time as one of his happiest, especially his experiences on the City Championship football team of 1957. At 6-3, 220 lbs, he was one of the biggest on the team (guard, linebacker, nose guard and punter) and as a 16 year old graduating senior, he was also one of the youngest in the class of '58. He planned to attend Cal but a car accident curtailed plans to pursue football and his degree. During this time, he rehabbed at the Olympic Club, worked as a butcher and enrolled at City College of San Francisco. 50 cent beers with his girlfriend Susan, their invented language of "triple Dutch", days at China Beach and Stinson were memories he recalled fondly.
Upon enrollment at Cal, he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity. "DU" carves the names of members into the memorial wall within the house, a great tradition to honor their members. Stories from this time included playing a recording of a car peeling out to watch the Berkeley PD come searching for the perpetrators, brothers who rode their motorcycles from the wine country, speaking to a pretty "coed" who then took the stage to play her guitar in the Bear's Lair (Joan Baez) and refreshments enjoyed at the always entertaining, always dominant rugby matches. He was also very proud of his son Jon's eventual affiliation with Cal Crew and the team's success. Upon his graduation, he decided to join the U.S. Army.
During this era, Bruce attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. One of his favorite stories to share revolved around how meaning is expressed in certain Asian languages. In his words, "you would never describe something as a 'green chair' but instead, you would say 'a chair in the state of being green". At some point, he also served as a bodyguard for Ferdinand Marcos and underwent surveillance training. Any "hide and go seek" game with Dad was always tough when he got to hide! By this time, Bruce started his legal studies at Hastings which led to a job opportunity at the Hall of Justice in the Office of the Public Defender. During this era, he fondly recalled meeting Robert Mueller at a party with Nancy, his wife at the time. He eventually left the position and pursued his career in private practice.
Bruce always enjoyed story telling. Earlier on, he worked as a tour guide for visiting Scandinavian tourists which bookended a stint driving motorized cable cars. Another favorite place was AA meetings where he shared his toughest, lowest moments and how sobriety had changed him for the better. Alongside his passion for entertaining, he voraciously consumed detective novels until his last days, sometimes reading two a day. The other greatest interest for him was to watch (and tell) his friends about how his boys competed in basketball, football and rowing. His son Eric was a high school all conference athlete in multiple sports before playing football in the Ivy League.
As his health started to fail him, he wisely sought help and applied for residency at the Veteran's Home in Yountville where he spent his remaining years. This remarkable place provided him the care and support he needed while yielding another group who called him "friend." It was not uncommon to hear from the Nurses' Station that Bruce had signed out against medical advice to travel to an unknown destination. Pebble Beach, Fleet Week and the Sausalito Art Fair were all favorites of his but he most enjoyed sitting at a picnic bench where he could watch his grandkids play while enjoying a big cup of coffee, a sandwich and the updates from his sons and beautiful, strong daughters in law. Bruce Allbin peacefully passed away at the age of 76 and is survived by: Jon, Eric, Laura, Alicia, Rowan, Avery and Brooke.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on May 9, 2018
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