Bruce Andrew Hastings
With great sadness, we announce Bruce’s death on December 17, 2019 at the age of 95. He leaves Margaret, his Scottish bride and helpmeet of nearly 64 years, children Lesley (Jim) and John (Valerie), grandchildren Jennifer (Michael), Megan (Stephen), Evan and Alan, and great-grandchildren Rosalie and Dominic. He will be greatly missed by honorary family members Susan Agranove and Geoff Poole.
Born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1924, Bruce enlisted in the RCAF soon after finishing high school. He trained as a Blenheim bomber dorsal-gunner, and received his commission as a pilot officer in 1945. Fortunately for his descendants, there was a surplus of air crew before he saw active service. He was “volunteered” as a guinea pig for testing the Frank flying suit, and his warhorse, a centrifuge car, is in the National Aerospace Museum in Ottawa (complete with upchuck stains). Courtesy of his military service he was able to attend University of Toronto and graduated as a civil engineer in 1948, specializing in structural engineering.
Settling in London after graduation, Bruce went on to found what became Hastings & Aziz Ltd., an engineering firm that contributed to the building and restoration of many London and area landmarks including the London Regional Art Museum, the Grand Theatre, many Western University buildings and too many churches and hockey arenas to count. Fittingly, he died at University Hospital in London -- the biggest project his firm ever completed. In close proximity to his office was the London Club, which he joined at age 27 and which was the source of much companionship, from lunches at the members' table during his working years to meetings of the ROMEO club (Retired Old Men Eating Out) later in life. Bruce's active involvement in the London Club included two terms as President.
An adventurer, Bruce got the travel bug at a young age. On a trip to Jamaica over Christmas 1954 he met Margaret, an equally adventurous type who leveraged her hotel management training to work in exotic locales. They married near Margaret's home in Scotland in January 1956. Along with meeting the demands of running a business and raising a family, together they travelled the world, savouring much wine and making many friends along the way. Photography being among Bruce's talents, their many trips are stunningly captured on film and meticulously documented in his distinctive draughtsman lettering.
Bruce was a bit of a renaissance man, with a wide variety of interests that ranged from wildfowl hunting to cabinetmaking, to collecting art, and woodcarving. He lovingly tended his vegetable garden; his grandchildren adored salads made by “Grumps”. Winemaking was a hobby for many years, until he acknowledged that professional vintners exceeded his skill. Then he and Margaret joined the Opimian Society to learn, acquire and enjoy the finer wines of the world. He timed his departure from the world so that only a handful of dusty bottles remain in his once-large collection.
With advancing age, and in spite of chronic pain, Bruce never lost his sense of humour. His wit was sharp and quick but never at the expense of others. He kept his light touch with his recent friends at Amica London, both residents and staff. He left a trail of smiles in his wake.
A celebration of Bruce's remarkable life will be held at the London Club, 177 Queens Ave, London ON, at 11 a.m. on Friday, January 3, 2020. Please, no flowers. Instead, please buy yourself a good bottle of wine and enjoy it in Bruce’s memory.
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