An uncommonly kind man is gone and is, no doubt, mourning from beyond the fact that the UCONN Husky ladies did not capture this year’s NCAA basketball crown. Bruce Arlen Stauffer, 85, husband of Georgia (Mull) Stauffer, died at his Colchester home Saturday April 10, 2021 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. His family is relieved his suffering is over, but he’ll be sorely missed and oft remembered with a smile and a chuckle.
Stauffer was born in Lancaster, PA to Harold and Thelma May (Hunchberger). He was a 1953 graduate of Shillington High School where he was on the baseball team and played trumpet in the band. He played both many years beyond high school. Bruce went on to Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute, where he studied mechanical engineering. Years later, he would delight in driving his kids past a McDonalds on the former WPI site and tell them, “That’s where I went to school!”
Stauffer met a young nursing student named Georgia at a monthly dance hosted by Reading Hospital. Due to the lack of male nursing students, the hospital extended invitations to WPI students. Bruce and Georgia danced, were engaged a year later, and married in 1957. Bruce graduated from Lehigh in 1960 with a BS in mechanical engineering, but he missed graduation to start a job at Pratt & Whitney, where he would work for more than 40 years. His career there would define his life and deeply impact the lives of his family. He loved Pratt and was a Pratt man through and through. While there, he earned a masters from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, played on the company baseball and bowling teams, and made many lifelong friends. He worked on the 747 and F-111 engines and loved to report to his family over dinner the results of bird strike tests – the shooting of bird carcasses into a running engine to see how the engine would hold up.
In the early 70s, Bruce was chosen to be the liaison between Pratt & Whitney and the Swedish company Stal Laval, overseeing the two companies’ collaboration on an industrial turbine. He traveled to Sweden for extended periods and over many years, including a year with his family. They met many dear and lifelong friends while there. While Bruce never quite mastered the language, he had a few Swedish words and phrases he loved to toss out, deliberately and humorously mangling the pronunciation as he would do forever more with other languages as he travelled the world.
When he retired from Pratt, he went on to consult for Belcan, a job that took him to Germany, Poland, South Korea, Japan, and England. He made friends everywhere.
Bruce and Georgia were long-time residents of Manchester, where they raised their three children. After the kids left home, they moved to Scotland, CT, where they bought an historic house built in 1752, which they named the Nathan Fuller House after the original owner, who continued to “live” with them throughout their 27 years there. They ran a bed and breakfast for 24 years, were active in the local historical society, and helped to run the annual Highland Festival. When the house proved too much for them, they moved to Northwoods in Colchester, where, once again, Bruce made many friends and, ever handsome, caught the eye of some of the female residents. For many years, Bruce and Georgia participated in the annual Boar’s Head Festival at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, where Bruce gamely donned a costume with tights. He looked great.
Bruce was known for being somewhat grumpy and abrupt in speech, but he also had a great sense of humor and was goofy, gentle, kind, and generous. He never missed his daughters’ swim meets, adored his grandchildren, and doted on his many cats. They stayed by his side to the end. When a shin injury ended his baseball “career,” he took up golf, joined the Minnechaug Golf Course, and continued to play into his early 80s. He remained a baseball lover his entire life, rooting for the Red Sox, never the Yankees. He and Georgia were avid fans of the UCONN women’s basketball team and attended the Final Four play-offs five times.
Bruce was a devoted customer of Sharpe Hill Vineyard, Harry’s Place in Colchester, and Starbucks anywhere he could find one. He loved root beer floats, sticky buns, ham, and blueberry pie, bridges, clocks, watches, and BMWs. For years, he and Georgia drove their BMW to the annual BMW Oktoberfest at various locations around the country. And when his youngest grandson turned one, Bruce gave him a ride-on Z3 roadster.
Bruce hated growing old. During a stint in rehab following a stroke last year, he mutedly said he couldn’t wait to leave because he “was surrounded by old people.” An avid walker, he never could accept the loss of his mobility. But he delighted in shocking others with a toothless grin when his dentures broke.
Bruce is survived by his wife Georgia, son Keith Stauffer and his wife Lori, daughter LeeAnn Dance and her husband Glenn, daughter Saundra Jezowski and her husband John; his six grandchildren Lindsay Ferrer and her husband Tony, Melissa Stauffer and her husband Kevin Whittaker, Taylor Dance and his wife Britta, Michelle Byrne and her husband Michael, Casey Malone, and William Dance; and his two great grandchildren Austin and Abigail Byrne. He would have delighted in the anticipated arrival of a third great grandchild due to Lindsay and Tony in July. Bruce was pre-deceased by his brother Lance.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the Scotland Highland Festival Scholarship Fund at Scotland Festival & Games, P.O. Box 212, Scotland, CT 06424 or the Asylum Hill Congregational Church Boar’s Head Festival at 814 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105. Calling hours will be held at the Aurora-McCarthy Funeral Home in Colchester on Monday, April 19th from 4-7 p.m. All Covid-19 guidelines will be followed. A celebration of life will be held on July 2nd, 2021 with more details to be announced at a later date.
The UCONN Lady Huskies should know they will always have a heavenly fan rooting for them.
To send flowers to Bruce's family, please visit our floral store.
Scotland Highland Festival Scholarship Fund
Scotland Festival & Games, P.O. Box 212, Scotland CT 06424
Boar’s Head Festival
814 Asylum Avenue, Hartford CT 06105