After a brief encounter with an aggressive malignancy, the Cloverdale Cowboy hung up his saddle and spurs for the last time. He faced life’s last chapter with his usual wit, dignity, and acceptance. When he informed me of his gloomy diagnosis he commented with his customary smile, “Someone has to get these bad diseases.” In the end he epitomized Martin Luther’s dictum: “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”
Bruce’s life adventure began in rural Melfort, Saskatchewan, and he never forgot his roots. At age 10 he moved west with his parents and older brother Doug, settling briefly in White Rock and finally Cloverdale. As a precocious 14-year-old he profiteered by picking up beer bottles with his father’s truck and collecting the deposit.
After graduating from Lord Tweedsmuir High School, the University of BC beckoned. He graduated with a medical degree in 1959. At this point Bruce’s life became pleasantly complicated as one of his UBC classmates, June Schoenle, became his first soul mate. They married the same year and completed a 1-year internship in Newfoundland—the most lucrative program in the country!
After internship they returned to New Westminster to continue their careers and raise their family. Bruce was very successful as a caring, compassionate, and crusty GP with his colleague Ken Green—the proverbial Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. During this time June focused on raising their three children. Despite this challenge she was able to complete her residency in child psychiatry. After 5 years of bliss, the train derailed when June was diagnosed with breast cancer that did not respond to therapy.
In 1975 Bruce married Gale Smith and adopted her son, David. Gale was his partner and best friend for the next 36 years. During that time he was father and mentor to David, supporting his education and development into a respected family physician in our community.
Bruce overcame his fear of flying by earning his private pilot’s licence. Shortly afterward he acquired a hot, single-engine, six-seat Cessna 207- CF-QRT. Bruce often described this machine as “too hot of an airplane for a low-time pilot.” QRT was the family’s transportation to their Green Lake cabin. One hot summer’s day at the lake’s airstrip he experienced the harsh reality of high-density altitude and a high flying fence. Shortly afterward he announced, “I’m going to sell the plane.” He had the foresight to realize that aviation can be a risky endeavor.
Bruce enjoyed the challenges of general practice until 1991 when he passed the torch to a keen, young, energetic physician, John Yap. He also had the trust and wisdom to choose John as his own GP. His patients and the medical community were never disappointed in his choice—nor was Bruce himself.
Few knew that Bruce was also a closet mechanical engineer. There was nothing he couldn’t fix. On one occasion he resuscitated a whirlpooling toilet with a shoestring, a twist tie, and a piece of his belt—shades of Apollo 13; absolute genius!
Bruce was renowned for his rapier wit and incisive sense of humor. At departmental and staff meetings his perfectly timed one-liners had the deadly impact of a silent fart in the middle of a church sermon. He could revive any terminal meeting.
Music was another of Bruce’s passions—especially town and country. Johnny Cash was his idol. On occasion he would entertain the family on the Green Lake sojourn with his a cappella rendition of “A Boy Named Sue.”
Bruce lived for his soul mates, children, and grandchildren.
He was an easy book to read—black or white, no ambiguous shades of grey. As quoted by his 5-year-old grandson, Ashwin, “No means N-O, NOT, NEVER, NONE.”
In many ways Bruce has left the world a better place. His spirit and presence are remembered by his family, friends, and colleagues.
Tuum est. Never a dull moment and not one wasted in 77 years!
—John Albrecht, MD
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org