Bruce John Wooden, 88, of Dickerson, Maryland passed away peacefully at home on November 4, 2019, after a near five-year battle with esophageal cancer.
Bruce John Wooden was born in Riverside, Illinois in 1931. He was the second of three sons of Howard F. Wooden and Lucille V. Wooden. He and his older brother Neal and younger brother David spent their time growing up during the Depression playing games, sports, hunting and fishing. They learned much from their father who was skilled with his hands and each of the boys shared his passion. They also became proficient in fixing anything and everything that broke or needed repair. They all were inseparable especially Bruce and David who spent much time together over the last 87 years, that continued until Bruce’s death. Bruce and David were not only Brothers, but the best of friends.
Bruce dedicated his life to Service. He especially excelled in academics. Shortly after graduating High School he was accepted into the US Navy and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) which is high acclaimed for its engineering studies. He was a member of Theta Chi. In 1950, due to his academic excellence at RPI, Bruce received a full-ride scholarship to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. During his tenure at the Naval Academy, he became a Sailing Master and participated in Wrestling and the Radio Club. In 1954, Bruce graduated as the first engineering officer in the Academy. In 1956, Bruce was accepted a scholarship into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There he studied Naval Engineering, Naval Architecture and Nuclear Physics. Bruce was active and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma XI and SNAME. In 1959, he graduated first in his class with Master of Science Degrees in Engineering and Mathematics. He additionally received the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) Student Honor Prize in recognition of his academic excellence. Bruce served over 16 years in the US Navy. In 1967, he was honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant Commander (LTCR).
In 1958 while studying at MIT, Bruce met and married his loving wife of 61 years, Barbara Jean Wooden. Together they had three children, Cynthia Jean, Howard Harold and Carole Ruth Wooden. Bruce and the family settled in the Washington DC area where he and Barbara have remained. During his lifetime and after his retirement from the US Navy he entered into the private sector and continued to focus on his passion for engineering and academics. Throughout his career, he directed multiple engineering projects as a team leader, inspector, consultant and executive with a focus on marine technologies. He was innovative, which resulted in many new discoveries that have become standards in the DOD industry.
In 1973, Bruce and the family moved to Dickerson, Maryland and embraced a new life of living in the country. Seven Springs Farm became a passion for Bruce, where he dedicated his spare time to farming and raising livestock and horses. Bruce, Barbara and the children all became avid horseback riders and spent time showing Arabian Horses participating in the Sugarloaf Riding Club. He also raised cattle and thoroughly enjoyed planting corn, soybeans, and on occasion a field full of sunflowers! Bruce spent many hours on the tractors keeping the farm operating up until his death. He was the happiest when he was busy and the farm created many projects over the years which enabled him to use many of the skills passed onto him by his father. Bruce and Barbara enjoyed sharing the farm with many people. Over the years many have enjoyed visiting and living on the farm and have become an extended part of the Wooden Family. He planted and harvested many Sunflowers on the farm and people would come from miles to witness natures beauty. He also planted pumpkins and family, friends and guests would come and enjoy hunting for the perfect one for their doorstep or confection during the holiday season. Bruce walked the farm everyday with Barbara and their sidekick Gracie, a female Golden Retriever. He always stayed active up to his last day and never once complained or voiced regrets of missed opportunities. He lived every day to its fullest and created a legacy for all to remember.
Bruce was proud of his life dedicated to service. He was wise beyond words, he was dedicated to his family and his Country, he gave more than he ever received to those around him and to people who needed it more, helped anyone who needed it and lived as a true gentleman his entire life. He was involved in many local charitable and social organizations. In 1974, he joined the Monocacy Lions Club, and was a past President and stayed active until the end. As a horseback rider, he was a member of the Sugarloaf Riding Club and the Potomac Hunt Club. He also was a founding member of the Sugarloaf Cotillion. Finally, to give back to the sciences, Bruce eagerly supported Barbara’s membership and involvement in the ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation. The ARCS is a non-profit organization that is administered by a group of women who financially support graduates and undergraduates of the United States’ colleges and universities in the STEM fields.
Bruce John Wooden is survived by his loving wife, Barbara Jean, 92. His Brother David R. Wooden, 86, of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. His children, Cynthia Wooden 59, of Philippi, West Virginia, Howard Wooden, 58, of Brandon, Florida and Carole Andres, 56, of Dickerson, Maryland. Grand Children, Elise Wendland, Devin Wooden, Hunter Wooden, Bradley Andres, Catherine Andres and Great Grandchild Aiden Wooden as well as many of the spouses, cousins, nieces and nephews. Bruce will be missed and remembered by many friends, coworkers and the many people whose lives he has touched.