Bruce Duncan MacLay died on December 20, 2022, with his loving family by his side. There will be a Celebration of Life at Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo, Washington on January 29, 2023, from 1-4 PM.
Bruce was born in Manchester, WA in 1949 the youngest of 3 brothers. The legend is that his full Scottish blood was so strong in him that he was born with a fully-formed red beard. His family moved around a lot when he was a kid, eventually settling down in Southern California where he became captivated by the sea. It is impossible to think of Bruce and not think of water. It was central to his life – from paying his way through college at Idaho State University swimming and playing water polo to being a lifeguard for many years in Newport Beach, CA. to later, making his living donning a wetsuit and swimming under the cold waters of Puget Sound nearly every day for decades, water was a constant in his life.
He moved to Bainbridge Island in the late seventies where he quickly became an indelible part of the fabric and character of the island. At the tender age of 30, he fell in love with Julie Hawkins (they would marry several years later) and became a loving father to 4 young kids who quickly put him to the test and would continue to do so for the rest of his life – which he loved. Decades later, Bruce joyfully became a grandfather (AKA Poppy) to 4 adoring grandchildren to whom he continued to share his “free advice”, jokes, and enthusiasm for all things chocolate.
If you were lucky enough to be in his orbit, you know the magnitude of his being. His handshake was firm and his heart was gentle. Full of one-liner “Bruce-isms” that let you know you’re alright by him. He had soul-level wisdom that smiled through his eyes.
He was an avid reader who loved history and current events. He was deeply curious and had a passion for conversing and exchanging ideas. In turn, his breadth of knowledge was vast and there was seemingly no topic off limits.
He had a larger-than-life personality that made everyone feel welcome, heard, and part of something bigger. He won people’s hearts with his warmth, great sense of humor, generosity, and intellect. To him, relationships and community were all that mattered and he poured his energy and time into them with a fervor that is truly inspirational. His impact on people’s lives and his community is immeasurable.
A truly selfless and highly principled man, he was generous with his wisdom, his heart, and his soul. He’d always say he was the ‘lucky one’ but we can unequivocally say that we are the lucky ones to have been in his orbit.
Rest easy Big Hammer – you are a giant among giants and have left a true legacy.