Bruce Clifford Wardell was born on August 22nd, 1943 in Flushing, New York, to parents David and Catherine. He is preceded by his three brothers, David, Russel and Richard, and his sister Phyllis. On Monday, November 23rd, 2020, he died as he lived: calm, comfortable, and encompassed by the love of his family.
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Bruce’s family line extends all the way back to colonial New York- he has relatives buried in the historic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, one of which helped inspire a character in Washington Irving’s famous story. He was born as the youngest of six siblings, who referred to him as “Baby Brucie.” Growing up in Queens, Bruce loved baseball: he was a die hard New York Giants fan, then a die hard New York Dodgers fan, then finally a slightly less enthusiastic New York Metropolitans fan. As a young man, he sang tenor in a barbershop quartet called “The Live Wires” with his three brothers. Bruce also sang at his Presbeterian church, where the values of Christianity were instilled in him from a young age.
Bruce’s beliefs were rooted in tradition and respect. He lived to work, but always remembered to put family first. His philosophy on the golf course was the same as in life: “keep your head down and follow through.” His tastes were as classic and classy as his personality: he liked his scotch neat and his fingernails clean. He loved boats, opera, stunning sunsets, strong coffee, and a simple ham and cheese sandwich. He disliked taxes, peas, and men who wear hats indoors. His shirts were plentiful, ironed and crisp, and on holidays he’d swap out the business suit with a colorful hawaiian shirt. When it came time to open presents, Bruce maintained a consistent, slightly infuriating but always endearing level of meticulous care, slowly peeling each individual piece of tape so as not to tear any of the precious wrapping paper.
As a boy, Bruce won the class clown yearbook superlative, and his schoolmates knew him as “wiggles.” As a man, his demeanor became composed and gentlemanly, but he always retained a quick-witted silliness that would emerge at the perfect moment. He possessed a unique charm and loved to make people laugh. Among friends, family and servers at restaurants, Bruce found his prime comedic audience. He could wield this subtle humour to brighten even the darkest moments, proving that laughter is indeed the best medicine.
Bruce commanded a quiet respect, but was always a lover, not a fighter. In high school, he was set up on a blind date with a girl from the neighborhood named Patricia. She would go on to become the love of his life, his first mate, his bowling buddy, his tennis partner, his golfing nemesis, his rock and his best friend. Upon his passing, Bruce and Patricia were merely five days from their 56th wedding anniversary. Patricia provided Bruce with endless affection, wisdom, and the occasional, usually warranted slap on the wrist. Together, they raised four wonderful children, travelled the world, and drank enough to make their Celtic ancestors proud.
Bruce brought a steadfast, ambitious spirit to his career, which was born out of a desire to provide for those he loved. His early life was marked by unabashed fearlessness, drive and hard work- in 1982, he founded the Belway Electrical Contracting Corporation alongside partner Patrick Donnely. They built their business on the foundations of friendship, fairness, and firm handshakes. Under Bruce and Patrick’s leadership, Belway grew into one of the largest electrical contracting companies in Westchester and Fairfield county. It continues to provide stability and light to its clients, as well as the lives of its 150+ employees, and remains a trusted name in the area with a reputation for exceptional service. Bruce was a strong believer in the power of the American dream, and his life reflected it. He worked hard, and his tenacity as a young man afforded him the means for boundless generosity later in life as he provided for his wife and four children.
Bruce Wardell was many things; a singer, a businessman and a trickster to name a few- but he valued the titles of husband, father and grandfather above all else. He is survived by a family as big and as passionate as his heart. Bruce’s legacy lives on through his wife Patricia, sister Catherine, sons Bruce Jr. (Maria, children TJ, Michael and Samantha) and Kevin (Sarah), daughters Christine and Dianne (Stephen), grandchildren Brittany (Robert), Jonathan, Jack, Orion, Spencer, Maggie and Felix, nephew David (Marie, children Day and Timothy), as well as many other nieces and nephews. As the patriarch of his Wardell family, Bruce served as a bastion of faith, honor, strength and kindness from which his children drew inspiration. Even as they grew older and started their own families, Bruce remained active in his children’s lives, bringing everyone together with yearly pilgrimages to his homes in Greenwich, Connecticut and Vero Beach, Florida. However, through all the wonderful vacations, adventures, pocket poems and presents, the most valuable gifts Bruce gave his family were those powerful intangibles: power, balance, truth, respect, grit, and endless, selfless, beautiful love.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Rosary Hill Home, 600 Linda Avenue, Hawthorne New York, 10594.