Friday, October 27, 2017

Bruce Leroy Burr

Wellsville, NY - Bruce Leroy Burr of Wellsville, NY, died on October 25, 2017 at the age of 85. He was born on April 13, 1932 in the family farmhouse located by the dam at Rushford Lake in the town of Caneadea, NY. He was the 6th of 10 children of the late Alanson Andrew Jackson Burr (born on June 25, 1897 in Burrville, NY) and Lucy Belle Patterson (born on April 4, 1902 in Caneadea, NY).

Bruce aka "Dreamy" graduated from Belfast High School Class of 1950, after graduation he served our country in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1954.  

For many years Bruce and his family owned and operated the Wellsville Bake Shop. Anyone who has ever enjoyed Salt Rising Bread can tip their hat to Bruce as he maintained the tradition through the 1960s and 70s before sharing the recipe with those who bake it now. His children fondly remember working in the bakery and the nightly ritual of "setting the salt".

Bruce loved all sports - the Yankees, Bills and Bonnie's, not necessarily in that order. Golfing with his brothers was one of his favorite pastimes.  Every August before the Burr Reunion a golf outing was held with his children and grandchildren at the Vanderview. He spent more time looking for wayward balls than Columbus did searching for the new world. There was never a lost ball, just one he had not found yet.

He loved to hunt and fish, in particular the time he spent in the woods with middle daughter Jewel, as well as his hunt for ginseng with oldest son Bruce. Jewel's pond at her Addison home hosted many family fishing derbies, stocked by her Dad with his catches from Allegany County.  His catches were handed off to Jewel in Greenwood (their meeting spot), about as smooth an exchange as any Pony Express rider ever made. The fish kept alive by an aerator powered off his car engine. Making due was one of his greatest talents.

He was a life long gardener, a tradition passed on from his early childhood. A visitor during the summer months never left without some of the fruits of his labor. Swiss Chard, tomatoes and of course his homemade jam. All his children have jars of his jams and preserves on their pantry shelves. It will be hard for them if and when they open the last jar.

No world traveler, he still managed to rack up the miles on his trusty VW, the majority of those coming from his many trips to the OTB in Hornell. Anyone who ever accompanied him on that ride can testify to his driving skills. Mario Andretti would have been proud. 

Preceding Bruce in death were brothers Alanson Andrew Jackson and Burton Jewette; sister Elizabeth Lillian; son Daniel Brian, second wife Shirley and granddaughter Naomi Emily.

Bruce lived a simple life, and did not want for much. Visits from friends and family were always tops on his list. As long as there was wood for the stove and the cable worked he was a happy man. So 85 years, more than many get, most of them good with a few hiccups in between. An ordinary life lived by an extraordinary man who will now be sorely missed and fondly remembered by many friends, neighbors, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

Bruce's surviving siblings, Crystal Michel of Niagara Falls, NY, Myrtle Koleszar of Caneadea, NY, Grover Stewart of Caneadea, NY, Mary Mountain of Belfast, NY, Donald of Wellsville, NY and baby sister Judy Mills of Wiscoy, NY. They all shared a special bond through music, laughter and family stories. To quote Stew "we had a ball".

His children Kathy, Jewel, Bruce, Brenda and Rod send a tremendous heartfelt thanks to the nurses and doctors at Guthrie Troy Community Hospital in Troy, PA. 

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Burr Cemetery in Burrville, NY at a future date.

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  1. Miss you so much Grandpa. A man of love, strength, and honor. You wore many hats throughout your lifetime and I'm grateful being my Grandfather was one of them. You are SO VERY WELL LOVED. Our love for you is eternal, and your legacy will live on in every one of us.

  2. I was manager at Hornell OTB when Bruce put so many miles on his car. He was one of my favorite customers, a real gentleman. When he would bring me a jar of homemade jam, I couldn’t wait to taste it right out of the jar. My condolences to his family.

  3. My condolences to Bruce's family friends. I had the pleasure of serving him at R/A and will always remember his patience and kindness.