Saturday, January 13, 2018
11:00 AM EST
Faith United Methodist Church
2600 Seventh St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Faith United Methodist Church
2600 Seventh St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Bruce MacKellar was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was a hardworking man of his word who was well respected by all who were near. A devoted family man through and through, Bruce was blessed to share the best years of his life with his true love, (Maria) and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made him so very proud. Intelligent and business savvy, he gave everything he did his all. Although he will be deeply missed, Bruce leaves behind a priceless collection that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Radios, washing machines, and cars that were mass produced on assembly lines were all signs of this exciting time. It was also during this time that Floyd Stanley and Esther Marie (VanderHill) MacKellar were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Bruce Elwood on February 27, 1922, in Kalkaska, Michigan. He was the younger of two children and was raised, alongside his older sister Kathryn, in the family home on Jackson Street, NW, Grand Rapids, MI. Bruce’s father was a barber while his mother was a homemaker. A student at local schools, Bruce attended Sibley Elementary and Union High School where he played on the football and baseball teams. When he had time, he would also play basketball, hockey, and frequently went hunting and fishing with his dad, uncle, and cousins.
After graduating from high school in 1939, Bruce took a job in shipping and delivery with Wagemaker Boat Manufacturing in Grand Rapids. As a young man of 18 he was delivering boats on a semi-trailer. When our nation entered WWII in December of 1941 Bruce soon answered the call to serve his country. Leaving his high school sweetheart behind, he honorably served in the United States Navy from September 23, 1942, through September 5, 1945. While in the service he primarily repaired aircraft planes. Upon his discharge, Bruce returned home and took a job with the City of Grand Rapids while also entering vocational school to learn engineering and drafting. He spent five years working for the City of Grand Rapids in the engineering department.
Not to be forgotten during his years as a young man was Bruce’s blossoming romance with the woman of his dreams. Her name was Maria Schramm, and they met and dated while in high school. They continued dating for several years until she finally proposed. Their intimate wedding was in his parents’ home on October 26, 1942, followed by a honeymoon at a cottage on L-Lake in Baldwin, Michigan. Together Bruce and Maria welcomed four children including Cynthia, Susan, Max, and David into their hearts and home. As a family they faithfully attended Valley Avenue Methodist Church, which later merged with Second Methodist Church to become Faith United Methodist Church. Bruce was a pillar in the church, he served on the merger committee, building, memorials, United Methodist Men, Head usher, as well many other duties. The family was blessed to take several vacations over the years including a trip to Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the Central United States, Mackinac Island, and camping out in Grand Haven for two weeks each year. To support his family, Bruce worked hard. In 1952, he continued his career as an engineer at Michigan Colprovia Asphalt Paving Co. He eventually became vice president until retiring in 1986 after 34 years.
Throughout his life Bruce was always one to keep busy. Within his community he was a member of Greenridge Country Club, life member of the Disabled American Veterans, and American Legion. Bruce was also involved in many other organizations throughout his professional career including, president of Municipal Employees Association City of Grand Rapids, president of Grand Rapids Concrete Construction Company, president of Michigan Asphalt Paving Association, and longtime member of the Michigan Road Builders Association. His personal passions included a love for photography, fishing, deer hunting, sometimes bagging trophies over the years. Bruce also bird hunted with his dogs for partridge, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel and quail. Maria would always cook up the fare for supper. When he had time, and using his engineering mind he could fix or repair almost anything.
Later in life, Bruce continued making the most of the days he was given, not really slowing down much. He enjoyed spending quality family time in the backyard pool. The grandchildren would often come over to swim, and he loved spending time with them. In fact, Bruce was often the “taxi driver” who took them and their friends, ballet classes, cheerleading, music lessons, and sports practices.
Bruce personally loved sports including football, baseball, and basketball. He was a fan of the Lions, Tigers, New England Patriots, and a big Michigan fan if ever there was one. Bruce enjoyed the old crooner’s music like, Crosby, Martin, Como, Sinatra, as well as the big band sounds of the 40s and 50s, and he never missed a Lawrence Welk Show. Bruce was a meat and potatoes kind of guy who loved anything Maria made. The weekends often found him manning the grill by the pool. For years, Bruce and Maria enjoyed spending a month down in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, every winter. In 2012, he was deeply saddened with the death of his beloved wife. Although it was a difficult time for him, Bruce’s strong family ties and unwavering faith sustained him. Life went on, and although he began facing some health issues, he did continue to make the most of his remaining years. In his spare time, he started a new hobby by getting into putting together model cars, trucks, planes, and ships. All of them he felt a connection to in some way.
Kind, patient, and generous beyond measure, Bruce MacKellar touched so many throughout his life. He had unending patience, only saying, “Simmer down,” when he got a little ruffled, which rarely happened. Bruce was strong and resilient no matter what came his way. Deeply loved by so many, he will be forever missed.
Bruce MacKellar, aged 95, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Monday, January 8, 2018, at Spectrum Health – Buttherworth Hospital, with his loving family at his side. He was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Maria MacKellar and his daughter, Cynthia Kowroski. He is survived by his children, Sue (Rod) Rosema, Max (Nancy) MacKellar, David (Kerry Briske) MacKellar; (grandchildren, Amy (Bill) Cabral, Maria (Martin) Harvey, Katie (Joe) Dubiel, Travis (Missy) Porter, Leah (Joshua) Kurlenda, Tiffany (Bert) Elliott, Michael (Megan) Rosema; 14 great grandchildren; his sister, Kathryn Jeffers; his son-in-law, Robert (Lillian) Kowroski; many nieces, nephews and friends. Bruce was a kind, gentle and loving, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and a true friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. He honorably served his country in the US Navy during World War II, and was a member of Disabled American Veterans, and American Legion. He retired as vice president of Michigan Colprovia Co. Bruce was a longtime and active member of Faith United Methodist Church, 2600 7th St. NW, where the service to celebrate Bruce’s life will be held on Saturday Morning, January 13 at 11:00 AM. Relatives and friends may meet his family at Heritage Lifestory Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW on Friday from 2:00 – 4:00 and 7:00 – 9:00 PM, and again at the church on Saturday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Faith United Methodist Church or Spectrum Hospice. Burial in Rosedale Cemetery. To read more about Bruce’s life, to sign his guest book and to leave your memory of him, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com