Remembering Albert Wayne Bruce
Dr. Albert Wayne Bruce, professor emeritus of pathology, known to many as “Wayne,” passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 12, 2023, at the age of 76 in Deland, Fla. He was born on March 19, 1947, in Grafton, N.D., to the late Albert Mitchell Bruce and Laura Mae (Schrank) Bruce.
He grew up with his sister, Phyllis, working on the family farm in Park River, having fun with cousins and neighborhood friends exploring the Park River and riding his horse, Queen. He attended Bruce School (a one room school) and later Park River High School (class of 1965), where he developed lifelong friendships and an appreciation for learning. His early childhood was an idyllic time in his life, which he recalled fondly.
He furthered his education at what is now Dakota College in Bottineau, N.D., and obtained a B.S. degree in Medical Technology from the University of North Dakota. Wayne’s quest for knowledge led him to earn an M.S. degree in Medical Technology and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Wayne dedicated his life to the field of clinical laboratory medicine, leaving behind a remarkable legacy. He served as a professor in the Department of Medical Laboratory Science at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences for 32 years. His expertise and passion for his work made a lasting impact on the medical community. He was instrumental in the development of Distance Learning for the continuing education of rural practitioners and degree completion programs for wide variety of remotely located students including the Mayo Clinic. At UND, he held the positions of Director of Medical Laboratory Science and the Director of the Office of Continuing Medical Education, retiring as Emeritus Professor of Pathology. Additionally, Wayne spent the final four years of his career at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Thunder Bay, Ontario, serving as Associate Dean for Continuing Health and Professional Education.
During his years at UND, he provided consultative services to rural hospital laboratories and physician office labs both locally and nationally through North Country Consulting Services, a company he founded.
He authored numerous publications including textbooks, guided learning modules and online learning courses. At the time of his death, he had just submitted for publication a continuing education online course and was excited about his ideas for the next course. He was a presenter at many professional organization meetings and a leader and Regional Director of his professional organization, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science. He was a member of several professional societies and a recipient of nominated awards.
Sports were a big part of his life. He played basketball and football in high school and his enthusiasm for competition gained him the nickname of “Killer.” He also played college basketball at Dakota College. He played in an “over fifty” team in Grand Forks and was very proud of scoring eleven three-point baskets in one game.
In 2010, he retired and spent his time at the family cottage on Pistol Lake in Minaki, Ontario. He lived his dream of walleye fishing daily. He was a great angler and shared his tips with family and friends. All his grandchildren have fond memories of their time with grandpa in the boat and the tales abound. Wayne and Judy spent summers in Minaki and found the warmer climate of Florida favorable for the winter months.
In 2020, Wayne and Judy moved full time to Florida where he filled his days with outdoor activities, raising potatoes and other vegetables, and fishing the St. John River for bass and crappies. He was very active physically running, walking and riding his 1980 Honda motorcycle. He also loved to travel, visiting many countries and five continents for both work and pleasure.
He was a devoted father and grandfather who created “Wayneisms” for everyone to remember. He looked forward to visits from his grandkids and instilled in them a love for fishing, sports, and the outdoors. Wayne found joy in spending time with his loved ones and pursuing his hobbies which allowed him to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the world around him.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Judith (Stratton) Bruce, stepson Eric Lauer and grandsons Carter Bruce, Connor Bruce, Aaron Lauer, Brandon Lauer, Jacob Lauer, Trace Lauer, Noah Kuckler and granddaughters Caitlin Lauer and Adriana Lauer, great grandsons, Jaiden, Leo and Layton Lauer, sister Phyllis (Art)Helling, nieces Kristin Helling, Megan Helling, Sara Metz, and several cousins.
He is also survived by three children from his first marriage, Julie Ann Bruce, Kevin Bruce and Brian Bruce. Also surviving is son Scott Kuckler.
He was predeceased by his parents and stepson John Lauer.
Wayne’s presence will be deeply missed by his family, friends and colleagues. His impact on medical laboratory science and continuing education, and his dedication to his loved ones, will always be remembered.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate his life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to UND School of Medicine Medical Laboratory Science in Wayne’s memory or an organization of choice.