Last Saturday, hundreds celebrated Bruce Mack’s life and mourned his passing. The event was an outpouring of love and respect for a life well-lived.
He was a model husband, father, grandfather and friend. Above all, he was a model citizen.
His sense of public duty was founded in his upbringing and in the era in which he entered the world of work.
The people who came out to honour his life were from all walks of life. People he touched in his work life and his play life. Always the good sport, he knew that recreational sports could build personal strength and community strength.
The world in which he was a citizen was showing signs of struggle in the three decades after the Second World War. Being a student in the 1960s meant dealing with the impacts of an unjust war.
It meant grappling with a strong tendency in the third world for advanced literacy for citizens whose democracy was only emerging after years of colonialism had denied rights to much of the population.
Some of his first work was supporting communities in advancing their place. His path of work never varied from that noble ideal. In retirement he helped promote justice and fairness in elections, basic literacy and environmental justice.
Bruce knew the value of team sports for community well-being and what he wanted for himself, he wanted for others.
For me his biggest contribution was working for social and political justice. We need to celebrate those citizens who work selflessly to make the world a better place.
His family knew the value of his work and supported it. That work comes from valuing what communities, often of quite varied citizenry, have to contend with when traumatic histories disable generations.
Here, in B.C. and Canada, injustice associated with the imposition of political rule by the Crown and the mission of some of the churches left us a legacy of misfortune and suffering which took so much of the energy of the leadership in many communities.
Bruce’s life was a tireless effort of bettering that situation, so today we can look back on some early efforts at reconciliation, before various commissions of government could popularize the “Reconciliation” word and phenomenon.
Bruce was a man who, through his sense of world citizenship, played and worked with us all to make this a better place.
So long, friend of us all.
David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.