THE ADVOCATE 911
VOL. 77 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2019
clients’ tales of woe and demands for a magical quick fix, Bruce’s frequent
response was, “Think about it as if you had cancer. I have a cure, but it takes
time and won’t be cheap.”
Bruce left behind a family that includes his wife Susan, whom he married
in 1994, son Matthew and daughter Michelle. He adored his children and
was eager to tell us of their endeavours with a boastful swagger. Matthew is
a 2019 freshman at Stanford University, an accomplishment of which Bruce
was very proud. Michelle will start high school in a few years. Bruce left us
far too soon.
Bruce never forgot his Los Angeles roots, where he was born and earned
his first degree in sociology at San Fernando Valley State College. Upon
graduation the Vietnam War threatened to interrupt his life, and Bruce
chose not to wait for the inevitable. He left Los Angeles and the United
States at great personal cost. However, despite living in Canada for decades,
Bruce’s Los Angeles heritage was an unmistakeable component of his
His first Canadian experience was Toronto, where he attended York University
to further his studies in sociology and social linguistics. However, he
was ill-equipped to deal with Ontario winters. UBC beckoned. There, he
earned both his master’s and Ph.D. in sociology. During these years he also
briefly attended Oxford.
Many students would consider their academic path had reached its
natural end after three degrees. Not Bruce. He tried to build an academic
career in Los Angeles but was not able to find satisfactory employment. He
returned to Vancouver and UBC for his law degree, after which he finally
found his true calling. He graduated in 1978 and was called to the B.C. bar
the following year.
Bruce immediately started working in family law as a sole practitioner.
He knew he best suited being his own boss and charting his own course in
this new career. He ferociously devoted himself to building his reputation
as a renowned family lawyer.
His first office on 700 West Pender was a modest beginning which he
filled with antique furnishings and artwork befitting a lawyer with many
more years of experience and clients. His explanation was that he had no
more time to waste; he felt pressured to make up for the years he felt he
“lost” meandering through sociology. After several years he moved to 808
Nelson, where he maintained his office for most of his career. For a brief
time he opened a branch office at the Blue Boy Hotel in South Vancouver,
which enabled him to expand his client base and dine at the fine coffee
shop located in the lobby. He would proudly relate racing from Nelson