Bruce Merle McMillen passed away comfortably at Lacombe Hospital and care center during a short palliative care stay, his family cared for him at home from April 9th till May 23rd. Bruce endured with love and a strong family bond at his side. He is survived by his loving wife Frances Fisher of Lacombe, his two brothers, Jake McMillen and Jerry (Betty) McMillen of Ponoka and his sister Joan (Dave) Manley of West Bank, BC, as well as several nieces and nephews. His son Steve (Bonnie) McMillen of Morningside, His step daughters Doris Fisher (Keith Jones), Margaret (Ron) Westergreen, Grandsons Jody (Zobedia) Fisher, Kevin (Amanda) Westergreen, Grand daughters Miranda Kanngiesser, Rhonda Pattison, Sarah Westergreen, and Josephine McMillen. 12 Great Grandchildren Alyssa & Brett Kanngiesser, Emma Westergreen, Brooklyn Moores & Katelyn Spatt, Autumn & Korbyn Westergreen, Kailey & Shelby Pattison, Linda, Bella & Victoria Fisher.
Bruce is predeceased by Parents Merle and Pauline McMillen, and his daughter, Sandra Sherrill McMillen.
Bruce was born in 1933, in Ponoka hospital from a very young age he was an active guy, he worked hard on the farm and loved to play baseball. All through his younger years he played on the same team as his brothers. His passion for baseball was a huge driving factor throughout his life. He coached for as long as he could and when he couldn't anymore he started bowling! He joined a bowling league and continued to play for many years into his older age.
He worked at the Alberta Hospital (which is now known as the Centennial) in Ponoka for many years as kitchen staff and eventually on the laundry floor as well. Bruce really enjoyed his time at the Alberta Hospital and actually got staff of the month in Nov, of 1979 for his work in the kitchen. He retired from there in 1992. His gift for retirement was a big framed window because Bruce always expressed it would be wonderful to look out doors from the laundry room.
In his down time, he loved to garden and spent most of his days outside in the backyard, perfecting his flower beds. He was a man of many hobbies and throughout the year he also loved playing cards, reading western novels and completing puzzles. And in the colder months he spent time in the basement at his work bench, building and then painting birdhouses to put in his yard for the summer months. For a long time when people came over to visit Bruce and Fran they’d often have to go downstairs to Grandpas workbench to see him! He was always working on those bird houses!
He also had the opportunity to travel as a passenger long hauling across Canada and the United States, alongside Brian Jones. Bruce loved the whole atmosphere of the truck driving, he even began talking like he was the driver! He treasured the few shorts years he spent traveling and it’s very evident from the amount of pictures he took while on the road! Some special places were Los Angeles, New York, Florida, Ontario and Vancouver. We’ve found envelopes full of beautiful scenery and memories from all across North America that Bruce had the pleasure to experience.
For many weekends and evenings you could find Bruce and Fran at the Empress hotel, playing pool and drinking beer.
His love for the kids was special and his face lit up when they came to visit. He loved watching them play sports and supported a wide variety including fastball, ringette, dance, and karate. The kids always kept him busy!
A special memory many of us have with him is country drives. Him and Fran would go for drives in the evenings and Bruce would always call the owls. When he would “hoot” out the window the owls you could actually see the big birds coming out from behind the trees and they “hooted” back!
Bruce had a kind, compassionate and patient heart. This heart of his carried him through the years and although he would often show us his tough and witty side, he always had a certain gentleness when it came to animals. In his younger years he would always take Steve and Sandra to the zoos and later in life he adored when people brought their dogs over to visit! His strong love for dogs was consistent even through his hardest times…. He was always worried about the puppets!
Our dear Bruce was known as many nicknames; sprout, pops, gramps, the best ball player to get on base & not home!!! Poppa, Grandpa, Great Grandpa and lastly, Dad. All those different names have a different meaning to us and really solidify the special and unique bond we all had with him. Gone but not forgotten, Bruce had a positive impact on all of us and we will continue to carry on his legacy.
Special thanks to Doris, Sarah and Miranda for providing home care for Bruce so that he could remain at home as long as possible. Charlie Bowie who was a consistent and joyful friend for Bruce, for many years of his life. Stephanie McCarty from home care and lastly, thank you to the unit A and B staff and Dr. Matt Unger from the Lacombe Hospital.
In Memory of Bruce Memorial Donations can be made to the Heart and Foundation of Canada: http://www.heartandstroke.ca/
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