James Bruce Dean's Memorial Page

This page was last updated on November 21, 2005.

In Loving Memory of our son, JAMES BRUCE DEAN

James Bruce Dean was born May 21, 1961, in Modesto, California
and died of a sudden stroke on September 16, 1998, in Santa Rosa, California
Click here to read ...A Mother's Journey Through Grief
Click here to read ... That Fateful Morning, Tears For My Son.
"He has made his mark, and it will endure long after he is gone." 

To Those I Love

When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn't tie yourself to me with tears,
Be happy that we had so many years.
I gave you my love.  You can only guess,
How much you gave me in happiness.
I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it's time I traveled on alone.
So grieve awhile for me, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It's only for a while that we must part,
So keep the memories within your heart.
I won't be far away, for life goes on,
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see me, I'll be near,
And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear,
All of my love around you, soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a smile, and say
"Welcome Home!"
The author of this poem is unknown but it was shared with us by Gen and Bud Knudsen. Brother and Sister Knudsen are recently returned home from serving a mission at the Mormon Temple in Sweden.
Bruce in 1966
To All Parents
"I'll lend you for a little time a child of Mine," He said.
"For you to love him while he lives, and mourn for when I come to claim him.
It may be six or eight years or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from Earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I've looked this wide world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate Me, when I come to call to take him back again?"
I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him, sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand."
by Edgar Guest

This poem was sent to us a few days after Bruce's death by Gertie Gordin to comfort us in our loss. We do try to understand and do feel very, very grateful for the beautiful spirit God sent us all those years ago. We have tried to be good parents and we certainly loved him. We would not have given up a single moment of the time we had with him to decrease the loss and grief we feel. So we'll "brave the bitter grief," and go on with our lives and be thankful for the wonderful memories we have. We will still cry and express our sorrow because it is too real to do otherwise.


So That His Light May Always Shine

A Candle for Bruce

On Sunday, Dec. 13, 1998, your Mother and I lit a candle for you, Bruce. We started a new tradition for our Christmas season. You know your Mother always loved to display her candles at Christmas. Now we are setting up the centerpiece with four candles; the first for our GRIEF, the second for COURAGE to face the grief, the third is for the MEMORIES we have of you, and the fourth candle is for LOVE that will never end. (This was a suggestion from the December newsletter from the Compassionate Friends.) You are not lost to us, you are only gone ahead. We will continue to have these candles lit each evening all through the Christmas season, so that your light will always shine. Now that Christmas is over and we have gotten through another "first" holiday, I will keep the single candle glowing for you and put away the centerpiece. It will come out on those special occasions to help us remember you. We will always love and miss you.


One of the songs sung at the funeral was called "Each Life That Touches Ours for Good". This hymn has a special meaning for us because James Bruce's life was one that touched so many others for good. He was a positive influence in the life of his family, his friends and at work. He was such a joy to be around. He was always cheerful and smiling. He had a good word for everyone. People always came away from time spent with James Bruce with a special feeling of having been with someone special. This has become more evident to his mother and I as his friends and co-workers have shared their experiences with us.

Each Life That Touches Ours for Good

from Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to Thee.

For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise Thy goodness, Lord above.

We gathered together in December, 1998, after Christmas and planted a memorial grove in memory of James Bruce.

Memorial Grove Pictures

James Bruce Dean was an avid triathlete. He participated in triathlons throughout the state, both alone and with friends or family. Here he is in the 1992 Icebreakers Triathlon and with his childhood friend, Larry before the Icebreakers. He also loved to rock climb. He has climbed many rocks around Sonoma County, in the Sierras, and around Detroit, Michigan.          


James Bruce running in the Icebreakers Triathlon.

Bruce and his childhood friend, Larry before the Icebreakers Triathlon

Bruce climbing Goat Rock at Goat Rock State Park.



The parts of the triathlon: SWIM, BIKE, RUN.

Thoughts from Jared about his Daddy: We went to the beach and he protected me from harm.

We fly kites. I could let a kite go up to Heaven to be a present for Dad.
I want him to come down from Heaven if we need him.
I remember that I love him. He said, "I love you", to me.
He hugged me and kissed me.

Thoughts from Ryan during the funeral: I can't hug my Mommy right now, I don't want her to feel my sad.


Some of our Favorite Links

Compassionate Friends National Home Page
Compassionate Friends of Atlanta, GA.
CSRA Compassionate Friends Augusta, GA.
TCF Fort Bragg Chapter

Our memories of James Bruce are comforting to us. It helps to know that he is not forgotten. We invite anyone who wishes to share memories to visit the guest page and share their memories with us and others.

James Bruce with his Grandpa Hilts wearing his Mountie uniform.

James Bruce's High School graduation picture in 1980.

James Bruce in his first car, a Chevrolet Vega, given to him by Jerry Blattner, a friend and mentor.

Laura, Eric, James Bruce, and Debbie. This was taken in July before James Bruce died in September.

The kids got together and had this picture, the only time ever, taken for his mother and I on the occasion of our 38th wedding anniversary.

We are thankful to have lived and raised our family in a beautiful area like Anderson Valley in Northern California. The enormous outpouring of love and concern after Bruce's sudden death helped our family through this very trying time. So many people have told us of their love and respect for him and have shared stories and other anecdotes about him. We are continually reminded of his intelligence, sense of humor and joy of life.

One of James Bruce's many interests was Boontling which he learned in the 3rd grade from Dame Sandy and later from Chipmunk. Deejer (James Bruce) loved to "harp a heelch with friends and family. It saddens us to say, that after such a wee slib of the turnip, this bahl kimmie has piked to the dusties."

Four Generations:Grandpa Hilts, James Dean, Bruce Dean, Great Grandpa Currie

We have been very fortunate to have the wonderful spirit of James Bruce Dean in our home and lives for the past 37 years.  There is a verse which we found in some of the newsletters from one of the Compassionate Friends chapters that expresses some of our feelings at this time:

"Though life is not as it was before,
And never will be again,
Our memories are much richer,
Than if love had never been."

As we ponder the life and the death of our son, we cannot avoid the questions; "Why?" and "Why now?". But if we knew those answers, we would know the mind of God -- and that is not our role at this time in our eternal development.

Romans 11:33-34, 36 reminds us:

"O, the depth of the riches both  
of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How unsearchable are his judgements,
and his ways past finding out!" 
"For who hath known the mind  
of the Lord?  
or who hath been his counsellor?" 
"For of him, and through him, 
and to him, are all things: 
to whom be glory forever. Amen."  


James Bruce and Colleen were married in the Seattle Temple in August, 1989. This was a wonderful occasion and we are especially thankful for this experience and the Lord's promise that if we are faithful, we will be together as a family forever. As we go to the temple, we remember the promises the Lord has made to us and that our family will someday be reunited. We look forward to that day but also want to bless and support our other lovely children. God was so good to us and gave us such perfect spirits to raise.
Like Barley Bending
Like barley bending
In low fields by the sea --
Singing in the harsh winds, 
 Like barley bending
 And rising again --
 So will I, unbroken,
 Rise from pain;
 So will I, softly,
 Day long, night long --
 Change my sorrow
 Into song.
  by Sara Teasdale

And so the healing begins. We hope to be able soon to move out of our deep grief into a softer sorrow. Could it then even happen that we could turn our sorrow into song? That change is what James Bruce would want and what greater tribute to our son --- who loved life so --- if this could be!

Goodby Bruce, We love you and miss you,
Your Dad and Mom.
Sign James Bruce's Guestbook
View James Bruce's Guestbook
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at jamzdean@starband.net
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