Bruce A. Bugbee passed peacefully September 20, 2019, at his home in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Bruce was a visionary - usually decades ahead of his time - a strategic thinker, a voracious reader and a problem solver. He applied these unique skills professionally in a long career as a trusted advisor to financial institution CEOs and directors around the country and personally by mentoring younger colleagues. Bruce’s kindness, wit, candor and curiosity were the core of his character. He offered his wise advice sparingly, usually with a bit of humor, and he always reveled in the successes of others. As a friend in Warrenton, VA recently wrote, “He was a uniquely fine human being.” He will be sorely missed by many.
He was born September 25, 1934 in Bennington, Vermont. His family lived in Vermont for generations, and it always held a special place in his heart even as he moved around the country in his adult life. He joined the United States Air Force at the age of 17 with basic training in Geneva, NY, then moved to Japan as an NCO in charge of radar maintenance during the Korean War. He was discharged as Staff Sergeant in 1956 and awarded the Korean Service Medal.
Returning to civilian life, Bruce attended the University of Vermont and earned a B.A. degree in Economics. He began his career working for Bay State Merchants National Bank in Lawrence, MA, State Street Bank in Boston, and the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston where he gained a solid foundation in bank operations and work measurement.
In 1967, he joined KPMG Peat Marwick where he rose to National Consulting Partner and led a team of 200 nationwide consultants serving the financial institutions industry. Providing great client service was the cornerstone of his practice, and it included a belief that “published reports do little to help clients unless recommendations are successfully implemented.” He provided a roadmap for change and his team became managers of change rather than passive advisors.
It was during these years that he was blessed with the birth of four children: Christina, John, Matthew, and Andrea. He traveled so much for his career that he often said in later life that he wished he had been able to be home with them more often. As they grew into adulthood, he was proud of their accomplishments and the admirable individuals they are today. He cherished their visits and deeply loved each of them.
Bruce met his wife Roberta Wagner, a former executive level bank regulator, in February 1989 when she was just beginning to offer consulting services to financial institutions. They began to collaborate on consulting engagements and, as Bruce had done for so many others, taught her how to be a true outside advisor to clients. Over the next 30 years, they enjoyed a loving married life and formed two successful consulting firms: The Director Resource Group and Bugbee Wagner PPLC. They have been blessed to be able to share so many experiences at home and in business, all the while remaining best friends.
In 2002, they moved to Gig Harbor, WA for lifestyle reasons and to accommodate a west coast client. Bruce was a Vermonter at heart and jokingly claimed the West Coast was where “all the nuts in the country rolled, so what does that say about us?” They loved Gig Harbor, though, made many new friends and were active in the community. For Bruce, this was through the local Lions Club where he was instrumental in converting a fundraising calendar into a beautiful photographic calendar of Gig Harbor that is now loved by many. He also met his good friend John Kirry there and had the great pleasure of flying with him as John took aerial photographs for the calendar.
He was thrilled when two of his grandchildren also rolled west, Sam to Seattle and Talie to Bend, OR. He just learned that a third grandchild, Abby, would be spending four months in Seattle beginning this September, and he had hoped to see her often. He wondered if, and secretly hoped that, his two other grandchildren, Caleb and Faith, would also be tempted to move west, and create a migration of the whole family to the West Coast.
Roberta is grateful for the love and support from family and friends, physical therapists Anneke Burgess and Meghan Hanson, the caregiving support of Dana Jones, CHI Franciscan Hospice, and the Tahoma National Cemetery’s Veterans Service Honor Guard Association.
Bruce is survived by his wife Roberta Wagner; brother David Bugbee; three children Christina Strobridge (Peter Strobridge), Matthew Bugbee (Bonnie Bria), and Andrea Bugbee (Dr. James Wang); five grandchildren Caleb Manna, Sam Manna (Anne Cleary), Natalia Manna, Abigail Wang, and Faith Wang, and many loving friends and family. He was preceded in death by his son John Bugbee and parents Jesse and Ethel (Wood) Bugbee.
A celebration of Bruce’s life will be held on October 3rd at 4:00 at Sandy and Joe Pond’s Netshed at 2913 Harborview Drive. See link for a map https://goo.gl/maps/1tDaXY3EbPwPxajj7
Additional parking available in front of Tides Restaurant and at the shopping center at the corner of Soundview Drive and Judson Street. His interment with military honors will be at the Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 SE 240th St, Kent, WA on October 3, 2019 at 11:30 AM. All are welcome to attend both services. Additionally, a monument will be placed for Bruce at the Woodford, VT cemetery.