Bruce A. McDonald, 65, of Union Center Road, Ulster Park died unexpectedly Saturday, February 12th, 2022 at home.
He was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 15th, 1956, a son of the late William and Violet (Coy) McDonald.
After attending RETS Technical School, Bruce was recruited directly out of School by IBM. He was employed as an Electrical Engineer at IBM, Poughkeepsie for over 30 years.
Bruce was well known as a Jack of all Trades and had the heart of a giant. Growing up, his father shared his passion for carpentry. When Bruce and Noreen bought their home in 1983, Bruce turned the garage into his tool shop. When not in the office at IBM, he spent his free time perfecting his skill. Prior to his father’s passing, he and his father put siding on the home and replaced the roof. He also remodeled the interior. Bruce spent years working on the house, building decks, a playhouse for his daughters, custom picture frames, and recently a tree house for his granddaughter, Isabella. Bruce’s skill set didn’t stop there. He developed a love of cars, reading and researching how to repair vehicles. Luckily for his children, this became extremely helpful when it came to routine maintenance exercises to some of the infamous fender benders. Bruce had a great sense of humor and was always making people laugh. He was also a great listener. Bruce became a trusted source for daily handy needs to his beloved neighbors. He would help without question, in the sun, snow and rain. Bruce would be beaming at the opportunity to help someone else. He would help without question, in the sun, snow and rain. Bruce would be beaming at the opportunity to help someone else. One of his neighbors, “The Bergers”, became part of his family. Over the last few years, he developed a friendship with another one of his neighbors, Leo Lipman, who would help Bruce on some of his projects around the home and property. He loved to talk and joke with Leo.
Bruce was a loving husband to Noreen. Married in 1982, they created a lifetime of memories. Noreen came as package with her daughter Christy. Bruce adopted Christy immediately and became her sole father figure and never wavered in his love for her. Shortly after in 1984, they welcome a pale, freckled, ginger who they would name Cherie. Bruce encouraged and supported Noreen when she was finishing her Masters at SUNY New Paltz. He was an avid gardener and he and Noreen would spend many weekends tending to their vast property. Bruce was always planting something, tomatoes, bushes, flowers, trees. He loved to golf and enjoyed the old days at the IBM Country Club. Bruce loved to host, and he and Noreen enjoyed many gatherings with friends and family. Bruce often ended up on the dance floor, reluctantly, because Noreen loved it so much.
Bruce was a loving and supportive father to Christy and Cherie. Bruce made sure that he shared his love of boating and camping with the girls. There were annual camping trips and countless boating adventures. One of his favorite camping trips in his life was in Teeswater, Bruce County, Ontario. It was a family reunion trip that created cherished memories. During this trip, he spent the week with his brothers and sisters, and many of his father’s side of the family. It was a wonderful experience that led to a lifelong bond with the Canadian McDonald’s.
Bruce was strong and steady in Christy’s life. During some of Christy’s rebellious teen years, he never gave up on her and was always there with open arms. He spent countless hours on hold with Napa Auto Parts, replacing the clutch she burned out five times or repairing her car when she crashed into a tree in the driveway or slid into a stop sign. He helped to guide her through parenthood and was a trusted advisor on financial matters and anything she needed help with. Even when Christy was an adult, he would still start a sentence referring to her as, “Child”. She would not be who she is today, without him.
Fondly known as Brucinda, the child who could do no wrong in Bruce’s eyes, Cherie’s blue eyes and curly strawberry blonde locks melted his heart. It was almost like he was looking in a mirror. Bruce was there with a tripod to record all her ballet recitals, cheered her on at her field hockey games, and attended chorus performances. He was the strategic planner for all of Cherie’s moves, including across country to Arizona. He taught her his handy ways, and with a Bruce-made tool kit and hand drill in hand, Cherie was well prepared to take on the world. There was something special about their father-daughter relationship and Bruce showed Cherie the true meaning of love. He created a very tough act to follow.
Bruce taught both daughters to be independent, instilled a love of outdoors and an appreciation for Classic Rock (which could often be heard when he was “putzing” around in the garage; he would of course be shirtless).
Bruce’s greatest role was being Grandpa. Bruce’s first grandchild, Christian, was the apple of his eye. He referred to Christian as “Buddy”, and from the time he was born they were inseparable. He loved playing baseball and basketball with Christian. When Christian would visit, Bruce loved making waffles in the morning when he woke up (pretty much anything Christian wanted or desired was on the menu). Most recently, he moved Christian into his first apartment for his senior year of college at FSU. Bruce insisted on making sure Christian had everything he needed and assembled everything for him. He was very proud of Christian and to be there to help. He never ended a call without, “Love you Buddy”. Bruce’s role of Grandpa shifted with Isabella. He had to channel all his fatherly skills as a girl dad to make sure Isabella was content. This included an array of Crayola artistry, tea parties, baking, nature walks, capturing bugs, and building a tree house.
Over the past few months, Bruce had planned to soon set sea and travel the world on his new boat (well, inlets and the coast). Although this new chapter could not come to fruition, his family hopes that he is resting peacefully somewhere on the water with his beloved family dogs, Angel and Prince Charles J. (Charlie). He will be deeply missed and remembered forever. A piece of him will live on in all of the lives he touched.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Noreen S. McDonald, two daughters, Christy McDonald, and her partner Wilson Moncion, of Bradenton, FL, and Cherie McDonald of Pheonix, AZ, two sisters, Joan McDonald of Fort Lauderdale, FL and Pam Little, and her husband Bill Little of Detroit, Michigan, two grandchildren, Christian Diaz and Isabella Moncion, both of Bradenton, FL, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives also survive.
In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by two brothers, Thomas and Douglas McDonald.
The family will receive friends at the Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home, 339 Broadway, Ulster Park, on Saturday, February 19, 2022, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, followed by a Service of Remembrance at 3:00 pm. Cremation at Wiltwyck Crematory will follow privately.
In lieu of fresh flowers, the family suggests indoor plants for loved ones to take home and nurture in memory of Bruce, or a contribution in Bruce's memory to: ASPCA or any of your local animal shelters.