Former city council member Bruce Wolf struck and killed by car

BRUCE WOLFBy Jack Kintner

 

Note: The location of the memorial service for Bruce Wolf has been changed from Loomis Trails Golf Club to the ballroom at Semiahmoo Resort at 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway. The time and date remains unchanged.

Former Blaine city councilman and 20-year Semiahmoo resident Bruce Wolf was struck and killed by a car while walking his dog near Semiahmoo County Park Sunday evening, December 21, just before 5 p.m.

Wolf, 73, was with his daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Brad Bearden, and granddaughter Ava when the dog escaped from its leash and ran onto Semiahmoo Parkway. Wolf followed and was hit from behind by Jeanne Roussellot, 86, of Blaine, who stopped to assist. She was not cited by investigating officers.

“Bruce was the main force behind a lot of local projects,” said former Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic, from “raising money for the Vigil statue downtown, starting the Blaine Jazz Festival (now the Drayton Harbor Music Festival), promoting the restoration of the old road into Semiahmoo as a pedestrian path and so on. But more than the big things he did, I remember that for Bruce no job was too small or insignificant. He would do whatever it took to get something accomplished, and was a truly humble and optimistic person.”

Wolf had a long career in Alaska as an ophthalmologist. beginning in 1970 in Anchorage with the Public Health Service and from 1972 until 2000 in private practice in Fairbanks. He often participated in bush clinics, taking his practice into remote areas. His wife Sandy, who frequently went with him, told of Wolf restoring an old native man’s sight in a small village on remote St. Lawrence Island.

After examining him and roughly determining the prescription, as much an educated guess as anything as the man spoke no English, Wolf jerry-rigged a pair of glasses for him, using trial lenses and duct tape. As he placed the glasses on the patient’s head, the old man began bouncing up and down, yelling in Yupik, “Don’t take them away!”

“The old man wouldn’t let Bruce take them off,” said Sandy. “It was really something to see him work his way slowly around the room and see people he’d known all his life for the first time.”

“As far as we know the guy is still running around St. Lawrence Island with the strangest frames in Alaska,” said Wolf’s daughter, Amy Bearden, adding, “That story is why I went into optometry.” Bearden shares a Bellingham practice with her husband Brad.

Wolf was twice elected to Blaine city council but resigned partway through his second term when diagnosed with an aggressive prostate cancer that had already metastasized. But he survived that and had returned to relatively good health.

He and Sandy met on a blind date in 1965 while attending the University of Washington Medical School and were married in December of that same year. They had just celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary, she said, by working on building the sets for her musical to be put on next spring in Bellingham.

Wolf is survived by brothers Fred of Reno, Nevada, and Jim of Federal Way, Washington. He and Sandy have four daughters, Amy (Brad) Bearden, Robin (Neal) Nickles, Kelli (John) Sayler and Irene (Lance) Scott, and nine surviving grandchildren. The ashes of a tenth, Logan Scott of Austin, Texas, had been scattered near Sunday’s accident scene just a year ago.

A public Celebration of Life memorial for Wolf will be held at 2 p.m.Sunday, December 28 to the ballroom at Semiahmoo Resort at 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway, Blaine.

“When someone dies,” Tomsic said, “people often say that the person was a good man. In Bruce’s case, he really was. He was the measure of what a good man is.”

 

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