Bruce Gordon McKenzie, dearly loved father of Alan (Donna), Robert (Erica), Sue (Neil) Laurie (Damon) and Kathy (Ken), died peacefully in Edmonton on April 28 at the age of 92. Bruce was the eldest son of Daniel and Doris (Wheeler) McKenzie and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba with his brother Eric (Nell) who predeceased him. Bruce met and fell in love with Joan Valiant, a RN at Memorial Hospital in Winnipeg. Shortly after receiving his B. Eng. in Civil Engineering from the University of Manitoba, Joan and Bruce married on June 29, 1944. Joan and Bruce were married for 68 years and shared a life of adventure, fun, and success, based on mutual respect and support for the endeavors of each other through wartime, early careers, moving across Canada to a variety of locations in Alberta and also having a family.
Besides being a loving husband, wonderful father and respected engineer in the oil patch working with Imperial Oil, Bruce always had a project on the go. Whether his project was building and constructing, creating rock gardens, planting trees and landscaping, or fixing and repairing everything, he always took great satisfaction from these accomplishments. Bruce taught all of his children the importance of “measuring twice and cutting once” as well as the axiom that the job was never completed until everything was put away and neatly cleaned up. Bruce had a precise, logical mind as well as a kind, generous nature that had him as the person to go to when solving any problem.
Bruce had many interests that brought him great joy. He participated in many sports with Joan and his family including curling, square dancing, downhill skiing and hiking, but his passion was fishing. He was an avid fisherman and many times won the award for hooking the largest steelhead out of the Bulkley River in Northern B.C., which was one of his favorite fishing holes and the scene of many a “fish story”! For many years he made an annual fishing trip to that part of the world–semicolon– preparing by tying his own flies, readying the trailer and practicing his casting. He was strictly a ‘catch and release’ man. In later years Bruce developed an avid interest in genealogy, tracing the history and heritage of the McKenzie family line from Scotland to Nova Scotia and then to the prairies. Bruce shared these passions with his grandchildren, of whom he had 11: Rob and Erica’s two children, Tavis and Jacki (Dave)–semicolon– Sue and Neil’s four boys, Colin (VanLee), Spencer (Chelsea), Ian (Alaina) and Jim–semicolon– Laurie and Damon’s two girls Alison (Jake), Colleen (Joe) and Kathy and Ken’s children, Tess, Macx and Nicola. Bruce also had 8 great grandchildren whom he loved to watch at their play. He was always willing to hold one on his lap or help them build their castles and train tracks.
Bruce lived a full and beautiful life, always the gentleman, making a great contribution to our country and to the lives of his family and friends. He will be greatly, sadly, lovingly, and forever missed by his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and all who worked, played and knew him.
In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution to an environmental organization of your choice, or record a family story to pass on to a loved one.
A celebration of Bruce’s life will be held at a later date when all of his family can gather.