Donald Archibald Bruce passed away at Pinecrest Home for the Aged on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, at the grand age of 98. Dad was a people person with a kind heart and a twinkle in his eye. His sunny outlook and optimistic nature allowed him to cultivate abundance and gratitude for the most important things in life.
Don was born on May 22, 1924 and grew up in former Fort William (Thunder Bay) and spent childhood summers with extended family at Silver Islet on Lake Superior. So began a life-long appreciation for family, the outdoors and lake life. From an early age he understood the importance of service to family, community, and country. Don joined the Royal Canadian Navy at age 17. Worried that WWII would be over before he got there, he exaggerated his age and went so far as to have a cousin take his vision test as Don’s colorblindness would have precluded him from joining the Navy. He was a veteran of the Battle of the North Atlantic, serving onboard the frigate HMCS Hallowell.
At the war’s end, Don returned to Canada and attended the University of Toronto to become a Doctor of Optometry, a profession he loved. He soon married his sweetheart, Verna, and practiced optometry in Geraldton, and Atikokan before moving to Kenora in 1963. He worked his profession here through to the mid-1990’s. Don embraced his new community by giving his time and energy to many of the local boards and service organizations – Rotary, Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Centre, hospital boards, Housing Association, Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and Palliative Care to name a few. Shortly after moving to Kenora, Don and Verna purchased a camp on Storm Bay Road where they and their four children enjoyed the lake-life from early spring until late fall. Don was a keen boater who loved to travel all over Lake of the Woods, boating, picnicking, fishing and duck hunting. He also loved to sail and built his own Fireball sailboat. For Verna he built a sauna and became a sauna enthusiast himself. Light the fire by 3:00, sauna by 5:00 and dinner at 6:00. One last life-long ritual that Don reluctantly gave up in his early 90’s, was his annual hunting trip to Mine Centre where he and his close-knit friends would gather together for their week of hunting, story-telling and building up their whisky voices.
Donald was predeceased by his beloved wife Verna, and cherished daughter Lynda. Surviving him are children Ian Bruce (Darlene), Kathy Stevenson (Jim) and Elizabeth Wiebe (Gregg) as well as grandchildren Heather, Eric, Allison, Rob, Christopher, Kyle, Kristen, Joseph, Andrew and great-grandchildren Nicco and Victoria.
Donald’s family would like to extend a sincere expression of gratitude for the phenomenal care and love that he received from the staff at Pinecrest as he hot-wheeled his way around the hallways. It was a surprising day when you would find Dad in his own room.
A Memorial Service will be held for Don on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, at 11:00 am with pastor Marion Jackson officiating at the First Presbyterian Church of Kenora, 200 5th Avenue South, Kenora, ON with a reception to immediately follow in the church basement.
If friends so desire, donations may be made in Don's memory to The Kenora Hospital Foundation email@example.com, Ducks Unlimited Canada https://www.ducks.ca, or a charity of your choice.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.brownfuneralhomekenora.com for the Bruce family.