Pat Bruce: September 24, 1964 – June 6, 2024

Pat and Skye DogTwenty-one days after the Wilderness Act was signed into law, Patrick George Bruce came into this world in Stonehaven Scotland on September 24, 1964 into the welcoming arms of his parents Yvonne and Mike. His brother Nick was born 18 months later. The Bruce Family moved from Scotland to the Haight-Ashbury region of San Francisco in 1968. Pat graduated from Tennyson High School in 1982 and was of course an Eagle Scout.

In 1989 the family moved to Reno, Nevada and Pat’s love affair with the wilds of Nevada began in earnest. Pat received a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Museology from the University of Nevada, Reno where he focused his work in Great Basin prehistoric archaeology and lithics. Pat roamed the Nevada deserts in his 4-wheel drive vehicles accompanied by his well-loved doggie companions, often with bagpipe music blaring. Not surprising since he had family members in the Black Raven Pipe Band of San Francisco.

Pat worked a variety of jobs including at the Boy Scout’s Camp Fleischmann and at Reno’s iconic Deux Gros Nez coffee shop, which was a gathering place for a wide range of people who would become his life-long friends. It was here in 2006, during an overheard conversation, that Pat connected with Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the rest as they say is history.

Pat was the perfect person to build up the Friends of Nevada Wilderness Stewardship Program, and within years it was winning national awards for its effectiveness. Pat strongly believed in recognizing the efforts of all the volunteers and created the annual Wilderness Wingding to do just that. He was also an amazing camp cook and was a frequent champion in the Dutch oven cookoffs. Pat never met a stranger, and he shared his love of the state with everyone he encountered. While Pat loved all of Nevada, his favorite spots were the Black Rock Desert and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. Over the years his volunteers removed more than 400 miles of dangerous barb wire fence making the refuge safer for pronghorn and other wildlife. But, most importantly, Pat touched the lives of volunteers and staff alike with his mentoring, caring, wisdom, and friendship in ways that none of them will forget.

Pat battled some health issues over the last several years, and he entered hospice in May. During that time, he offered these closing thoughts.

"My years at FNW, working with the incredible people I have met through this amazing job, and those interactions, have offered such an enrichment and sense of purpose to me.

I have been able to watch our organization grow and our relationships with our agency partners get stronger along with our relationships with stakeholders and other outside groups. We have done so with integrity and trust as our staff has grown to an incredible level that we currently hold. We will continue to meet these challenges and push forward.

I can’t pretend to know where I will be watching from but I will be watching some incredible people continue to build on the incredible foundation we created. And rest assured, I‘ll be there in spirit. One thing I would remind all of you to do is hold your friends and family close and tell the people you love that you love them and live each day with intention."

Sheldon Refuge Story Map showcasing Pat's work

Wild Nevada Segment on Sheldon Refuge with Pat

Link to a gallery of Pat photos

We love you, Pat.

Honor Pat's memory by enjoying and giving back to the wild Nevada lands he loved. Take a walk, climb a peak, plant some sagebrush, go fishing, sing a song, and remember our dear friend.

— Shaaron

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