In Memory

Bruce Tracy

Bruce Tracy

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07/02/15 03:54 PM #1    

Vincent Summers

Bruce was sharp enough. I recall associating with him and a fellow who seems to have disappeared, Christopher Clifford of Mountwell Avenue. Bruce had a broader range of interests than many of us. I remember he used to bring the ultimate sandwiches for lunch - King Crab Salad! Once he let me have a half. Oh, SO GOOD. Bruce enjoyed chess. I played once with him, but I HATED chess. I deliberately spilled the board and was chastised by Bruce's parents for doing so. Bruce died when he was flying a lightweight device and crashed into a mountain. Dr. Tracy (for he was a medical doctor) died most tragically.

07/03/15 12:08 PM #2    

Elliot Paul (Paul)

Bruce was one of my best friends in our class. He must have been a great doctor. To learn of his tragic accident is so sad.

07/04/15 11:54 PM #3    

Josh Gitomer

We had many standout, accomplished graduates in 1966, and to my mind Bruce Charles Tracy was among our best. At our 25th reunion, Bruce wrote this short bio: 


“For recreation, I provide womb-to-tomb primary medical care, including complicated obstetrics, to a small (4200) town in North Central Washington on the east flank of the lovely North Cascades. For work, I Nordic Ski race with my French wife, Marie-Dominique, who usually beats me to the finish. I also mow the grass in our backyard ultralight airplane airstrip, then hike a vertical half-mile to soar with the raptors in a paraglider, and try to convince my 7- and 11-year-old sons that there’s more to life than playing Nintendo.”


What the bio doesn’t tell you is this: 


– He attended medical school in France, became fluent in French and met his wife in the process.

– He was a modern-day reincarnation of the country doctor. He worked in a clinic, but also made house calls when needed. He delivered babies like a midwife, yet he could also perform a C-section. 

– He was a world-class rock-climber, making some of the most difficult ascents in Washington, and other routes up and down the west coast. (see the article below).

– He was a nationally recognized paraglider, and pioneered many of the mountain routes now flown in his home range, the Cascades. 

– He and his wife designed and contracted the building of their own dream home, complete with a masonry fireplace, a 22-foot-high rock climbing wall, and a garage large enough to build a small aircraft. 

– He was also a dedicated bicyclist who went on century rides (100+ miles). 

– He raised and bred llamas. 


In much of what Bruce, Marie, Dominic, and Julian did, there was an ever-present element of danger. It was just part of life at the Tracy household. Then in 2003 at age 55, Bruce was competing in the US National Paragliding Championships in Telluride, Colorado, when his craft was caught in a down-draft and he fell to his untimely death. 


During the 1980s, I was a Hospice volunteer and published an article about the extraordinary courage of one of my clients which I shared with Bruce. He was very moved by it, and wrote me a long letter in reply, one passage of which was eerily prescient: “The story about John Thomas was wonderful, and yet saddened me a bit to think how rare this man’s capacity to face death is. Despite a professional life sharing dying with a not-insignificant number of people, and personal lifestyle maybe too fond of taking risks, I do not believe I will manage to face my own death with so noble a demeanor and resolve. I dislike the postures of entitlement so replete in the late 20th century American culture, yet I admit I’d feel cheated if I didn’t live to be at least 90!”


The closing line of his letter was “Thanks for reaching out. Please honor us with a visit.” Sorry to say, I never made the trek to Omak, but I certainly honor this man and his life. Thanks to those of you who have taken the time to read this.



07/05/15 07:51 AM #4    

Craig Miller

What a wonderful way to live and love life!

07/05/15 08:41 AM #5    

Janet Haynes (Lehman)

A beautiful tribute, Josh. 


07/05/15 08:56 AM #6    

Randy Hall

Thanks Josh for your moving tribute to Bruce.  I loved him so much.  I remember going over to his house to work on his Austin Healy cars.  We also went up one fall to my family's cottage on Lake George, NY and he made me go rock climbing with him at a very small place called Shelving Rock.  He was very persuasive.  I remember talking with him at the 25th reunion and noticing how young and fit he looked.  Then, in 2005, when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Bruce came to me in a dream and told me everything was going to be OK and not to worry.  I could see his face and hear his voice as plain as day!  And, thankfully, he was right!  I am still in remission ten years later!  He also came to my wife and told her not to worry about some lump they found near the end of my treatments.  He gave her four reasons why it was nothing to worry about, and after I went to the doctor to have it checked out, I called her and told her what the doctor said and it was the same four points that Bruce had told her about.  You all probably think I'm crazy now, but I don't care about that.  I just want everyone to know that Bruce is still with us in spirit and is still working his medical miracles on a daily basis!  What a comforting feeling!


07/05/15 01:19 PM #7    

Josh Gitomer

Thank you, friends, for your sweet comments. Randy, I totally loved your stories of Bruce’s visitations. I assure you they are falling on very receptive ears. He’s still making house calls – great news for all of us! Bruce will remain forever young, and I keep the remembrance of his youthful spirit with me at all times. Here’s one more shot of Bruce “walkin’ on air” in McNeil Canyon above the Columbia. He logged more than 600 flights, including some that were 25 miles cross-country. 

07/05/15 04:01 PM #8    

Conni Spiegle

Josh and Randy, beautiful tributes to Bruce.

07/05/15 05:08 PM #9    

Suzanne Speich (Maull)

What wonderful memories you all shared about Bruce. He was such neat guy. Bruce accomplished things in his life that make us all proud to say we knew him. It makes me feel so good to hear he is still doing what he loved.....taking care of people.I'm sure God is glad he has Bruce's help!!

03/08/16 09:44 AM #10    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

I shared these memories from our class with Marie-Dominique Tracy, Bruce's wife. Thanks to Geoff Seeger for helping me get in touch with her. She was very grateful and sent this reply:


Thank you so much for this mail.  Bruce's legacy in my life is very deep and positive; I am comforted again today to see what a positive influence he had on so many. 
I make today the promise to give Stellan -the grandson he was not to know in this world- a composite album of pictures and stories about Bruce so that he will know who his grandfather was. 
I now live in the Methow valley where I have many friends, and travel to where our sons are on the other side of the Cascades, and to France where the rest of my greater family lives.

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