BRUCE W. McMULLAN 1934 - 2017 The McMullan family is saddened to have to announce the loss of a loving husband, father, grandfather, "Uncle Bugs" and a wonderful mentor and teacher besides. Bruce W. McMullan passed away on February 8, 2017, surrounded by his wife and children, at the age of 82 from a heart attack the week before. This followed a four-year battle against Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia. McMullan was born to James and Hazel McMullan (nee Shennan) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 27, 1934, as the youngest of four children. From his youth, his passion was for the theater: summer shows at Theater in the Park and taking part in performances at the Stagecrafters Theater in Philadelphia, which his parents had helped to found. After graduating from William Penn Charter School in 1952, this passion next took him to Amherst College and the Yale School of Drama where, with a gently suggested intermission from 1957 - 59 to serve with the 4th Armored Division in Germany, he graduated with distinction: BA '56 and MFA '61, respectively. McMullan then embarked on a very successful teaching career, first at the University of New Mexico and at Dartmouth College, where he finished his time as a tenured professor and chair of the drama department in 1981. His older two children, Dana and Robin, have vivid and fond memories of the connection he maintained throughout this time with the Southwest, directing productions for the Santa Fe Opera each summer even after moving to Vermont. The long car trips this yearly migration required allowed the family to make the event into a working holiday! Wanting to return to the world of professional theatre, McMullan followed Lotfi Mansouri's invitation to Toronto in 1981 to become the technical director for the Canadian Opera Company. Facing the prospect of helping to direct Wagner's Ring Cycle when the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts eventually opened, he decided to hang up his hat in 1999. He consulted on the opera house as a technical advisor until its grand opening in 2006. In 2002, McMullan was presented with the CITT/ICTS Ron Epp Memorial Award for Professional Achievement. Along with Ed and David Mirvish he was also honored with an Honorary Lifetime gold card from IATSE Local 58. In the final act, McMullan's illness necessitated that he move to Ottawa in 2015 to be closer to his immediate family. Meanwhile, his wife, Christine, a retired nurse, took on her old role to provide him the best possible care and quality of life. Along the way, McMullan never failed to inspire and mentor people as he shared his love and genius for stagecraft. He leaves a profound legacy among all those he touched and he will be dearly missed. Bruce is survived by his wife Christine, ex-wife Veronica, his children Dana (Pam), Robin and Christopher (Christiane) and his grandchildren April, Caley, Robin, Maeve and Eloise. Special thanks are due to the staff of 4A Wing at the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa for their excellent care and support for McMullan in his final days. At his request, cremation has taken place and there will be no funeral. Arrangements by Kelly Funeral Home, Orleans, ON K1C 1G1. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bruce's name to the Canadian Opera Company would be appreciated: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-847-4949.
Published in Toronto Star on Feb. 18, 2017.