This is the eulogy I wrote for my brother, after his battle with cancer ended. His children and I sat together and shared stories. I took several notes and then sat down and wrote it.
Bruce was born in xxxxxxx, Ontario to xxxx and xxxx . As the first-born son, Dad hoped Bruce would follow in his footsteps and someday take over the family farm. Bruce, however, had severe hay fever.
Instead Bruce chose to follow farming through a degree in Agricultural Engineering. When he graduated from the University of Guelph, the new crop in the ground was oil. Bruce would continue the pursuit of crude throughout his lifelong career.
Oil took him around the world, but the place that captured his attention and heart was Nova Scotia, where he met and married Darlene. His ready- made family doubled in a few years; as Mark and Lori were soon joined by Katie and Jason.
In 1985 the Berry clan headed west to Calgary to Petro Canada’s head office. At home, Bruce didn’t talk a lot about work and we were never sure exactly what he did there, but his business card said ‘Drilling Superintendent’.
Whatever that is, it means you travel to Algeria, Singapore, Madagascar, Equator, Costa Rica, Alaska, Botswana, the Arctic, England, Kenya, – just to mention a few destinations where his work took him.
His favourite trip, however, was when he took his daughters to Paris. The other trip he loved to take was to the arena, to watch Mark and Jason play hockey.
After moving to Calgary, every summer the family returned to Ontario and Nova Scotia. He would pack everybody into the van – including the dog – and off they would drive across Canada. No easy feat. Obviously staying connected with family and friends was very important to him.
In 1996 Bruce and Darlene separated. Years later, Bruce admitted that a key factor to a successful marriage is; “If you’re wrong, say you’re sorry. If you’re right – just shut up.”
He must have learned this lesson because the last few years he and Darlene became very good friends. And Darlene – as well as his four children – were right beside him on the journey he traveled, battling the cancer.
And so today we say goodbye to Bruce. A man who when confronted with his illness, never complained. Was always positive. Courageous throughout the pain. Set a wonderful example for his children.
And his children helped him travel to the other side.
He was the nicest brother.