March 16, 1948 – March 24, 2019
On Sunday, March 24th, beloved Bruce Mack passed away surrounded by family and friends. A true pillar of the Williams Lake community, Bruce was born in Kingston, Ontario on March 16th, 1948. His travels took him across the world, with extended stops in Germany, Montreal, Northern BC, and Ghana.
Bruce met Lil in Kitimat, BC, when he sat in front of her in his Grade 8 class. He found out that Lil was a cheerleader travelling with the boys’ basketball and volleyball teams and he promptly joined. Bruce was a hockey player who was staunchly against fighting and yet he nearly had his first fight in, of all venues, a basketball game. Much to his chagrin, he found that body checking was not a legitimate method of displacing players from ball on the basketball court, and apparently, the opposition took exception to this. Lil loved his competitiveness, and Bruce and Lil’s connection had begun and developed into a loving partnership. Bruce was a passionate husband.
A life-long Montreal Canadiens fan, Bruce ironically grew up playing for the Bruins “Mosquito” hockey team in Zwiebrucken, Germany. Bruce carried his passion for the game of hockey throughout his life, playing when and wherever he could and passing his love of the game on to his grandchildren. Bruce spent many years running the Williams Lake Rec Hockey League, while continuing to play alongside both of his sons in law. He would join games with his grandchildren whenever the opportunity presented itself. Bruce loved to play.
A political science graduate of the University of British Columbia, Bruce spent six years alongside Lil in Ghana teaching English. Despite not even knowing where Ghana was Bruce and Lil relished the opportunity for new experiences and adventure. It was his time spent in Ghana that inspired Bruce to return to school for a degree in Zoology and a Masters in Community Development. Bruce was a lifelong learner.
It is difficult to explain exactly what Bruce did, nobody really knows for certain, but anyone who has met and worked with him will attest to the impact he had. His travels allowed him to see the big picture from a global perspective and allowed him to truly build community. Recognizing that the human struggle and the human condition was the common thread throughout the world, he appreciated the equality of man and he used this wisdom honourably to improve the world we share.
After settling in Williams Lake, Bruce worked closely with many Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples some of which include Esk’etemc, Tsilhqot’in, Tsawwassen, Dakelh, Nuxalk, Secwepemc, Carrier, Haisla and Youth Substance Abuse Centers across Canada. A true builder in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region, even after retirement, Bruce remained prominently involved in the community.
He spent time as a Trustee with School District No. 27 and was a Director with the Cariboo-Chilcotin Partners for Literacy, a society spearheaded by his wife Lil. His experiences teaching adults to read in Ghana helped inspire him with this endeavor. Seeing the passion shown by his students to learn how to read the newspaper showed him the true value and importance of education and literacy. Bruce was a teacher.
Bruce lived life to the fullest, enjoying sports including Hockey, Soccer, Golf and Tennis – note that basketball is not in this list. Bruce thrived in nature and proved himself to be a wonderful photographer and bird watcher. These passions were passed on to his family who Bruce loved above all else. Both of his daughters started their families within walking distance of Bruce and Lil’s home, and his open door and willingness to spend unending time had an influential role in all four of his grandchildren’s lives. Bruce was a family man.
Bruce is predeceased by his father, Dr. Gordon Mack, mother Norma Edith Mack, and brother Douglas. Bruce is survived by his wife Lillian, daughters Rana Grace[Mike] and Nara Riplinger [Randy], grandchildren Darien, Laine, Madigan and Daelin and siblings Bob [Brenda], Dave [Anne], Barbara McVeigh, Heather, and Alan.
His loving family invites you to join in honouring him at 1 pm on April 6th at TRU. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to his eldest grandson’s university tuition or the Cariboo-Chilcotin Partners for Literacy, Scout Island Nature Center or BC Cancer Agency for Research.