Lived Strong: Richard A. Bruck

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RICHARD A. BRUCK, 69, died Friday, Sept. 16, 2005, at Applewood Health & Rehab Center, Fort Wayne. Born in Fort Wayne, he was a school teacher for many years. He attended Indiana University and majored in English and was editor of the daily student newspaper. He enjoyed music and theater, and he was a member of Cathedral Of The Immaculate Conception. Survived by wife, Wanetta F. Bruck of Fort Wayne; son, Richard A. (Susan) Bruck of Grays Lake, Ill.; sister, Carole Jean (Herb) Fuller of Fort Wayne; brothers, Roger Joseph (Judith) Bruck, Kenneth Paul Bruck and Joseph A. (Shirley) Bruck, all of Fort Wayne; aunt, Charlotte Marie Bruck of St. Mary of the Woods, Ind.; five nieces; and three nephews. Service was held at D.O. McComb & Sons Maplewood Park Funeral Home, 4017 Maplecrest Road. Burial at St. John Catholic Cemetery, New Haven. Memorials to American Diabetes Association.

Richard Bruck — well, Uncle Dick to me — lived a full and interesting life. Before I can remember, Dick wasn’t around. He lived somewhere in the south, maybe Texas, but nobody really knew. At one point someone hired a private investigator and Dick was found and brought back to Indiana. I vaguely remember going to the airport and seeing him come off the plane not looking much like any pictures I had seen in the past. What was wrong?

Over time I learned that Dick had schizophrenia. Dick was the only person I knew with this disease so it was a learning experience. I recall many years of him being up and down depending on whether he was on his medications or not. With strong encouragement from a few key family members, things usually were good it seemed from the outside.

Dick never worked while I knew him. He made his way through life the most in his situation do — on government programs. I don’t think he could have possibly held a steady job if he tried. Not his fault. But what he seemingly lacked in work-related ambition because of his disease, he made up for in random passions that were seemingly embarrassing in those days. Back in Fort Wayne, it was very uncommon to see someone performing on the street. Well, Uncle Dick saw the street as his theater and I am sure many (including us) were entertained over the years. Doing magic and playing the harmonica were two of his strong suites. He would often engage in some very enthusiastic and detailed political or social conversation with those he met. His mind was always racing on those topics and he always was ready to discuss and debate in a very gentle manner. He would have been perfectly suited to live in San Francisco I always thought. If you have not been there, there are plenty of street performers with crowds gathering to see them all. That’s the kind of vibe he had.

Over the last few years, Uncle Dick’s physical health fell rapidly. I would go and visit him each time I went back to town with my Mom. Walking into a nursing home full of mostly older zombie-looking folks sure makes you think about how you better “live strong” when you walk out of there because someday its going to be your ass sitting in there — slumped over — in a wheelchair — because you feel asleep watching the squirrels.

I guess those are the types of things typically covered in the obituaries but those are some of my memories. There are plenty of other crazy things that he did over the years. Complete random acts of kindness from a guy that only had kindness to give.

Here is a video post of a visit Uncle Dick about 2 years ago. As always — it was time to entertain anyone who would listen!

Later, Dude.