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Bruce Wilmer Deist

November 26, 1940 - May 26, 2020

U.S. Veteran

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Bruce Wilmer Deist, 79, of Forest, died Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

There are very few advantages to be diagnosed with Stage IV Cancer.  One of them, however, is the opportunity one is given to write their own obituary.  (The other advantages include not having to worry about your weight, your waistline, your cholesterol, or the number of cocktails you’ll have after dinner.)

I am of the opinion that my life presents little interest to the reader, so I’ll be as brief as possible.     I was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on November 26, 1940.

I attended grade school and high school in Wheeling and joined the Navy following my graduation from Wheeling High School (now torn down and replaced with a parking garage).  I was in a hurry to see the world and correctly thought that the Navy would be the way to see a lot of it.

I had a normal childhood as part of a lower middle-class family.  My father was a highly skilled machinist and my Mom a wonderful homemaker. I got my first job at age 9 delivering the evening newspaper to about 70 customers.

Recognizing that my high school time was completely wasted, I admit that I started my actual education when I joined the Navy. While in the Navy I transferred into the Naval Reactors Program which provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary to advance and helped me make the transition later into civilian life in a comfortable fashion. After the Navy I was employed in a variety of positions in the Electrical Generation business ranging from reactor operator up to Manager, Nuclear Operations responsible for managing support activities for two Nuclear Reactor Plants.

I eventually formed a consulting company which was as exciting and rewarding as I imagined it would be when I thought of being my own boss.  As a consultant my clients included the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy, Atomic Energy of Canada, Limited and several other nuclear consulting firms and electrical utilities.  Seeking to examine potential retirement areas, I terminated the company and in 2000 took a position in Lynchburg.  I had to go no further to find my place to retire.

I met my future and the architect of my life on New Year’s Eve, 1957 all wrapped up in the person of Margaret Ann Bridget Conners.  I was completely taken with this cute, interesting Irish lass and went through 3 years of confusion, bewilderment, and uncertainty until I finally figured out why. I was in love.  She says that she chased me until I caught her.  True.  We were married the evening of November 12, 1960 in the same church she had been baptized in. Before anyone could figure out how it happened, we had four magnificent boys, Douglas (1961), Darryl (1963), David (1967), and Daniel (1969). They in turn blessed us with four wonderful Daughter-in-laws (Kim, Rhonda, Eileen and Mariken) and nine marvelous grandchildren; Matthew & James, (twins), Ryan, Meghan, Harrison, Chase, Evan, Kathryn, and Kellan. I cannot adequately describe how much I love each and everyone.

Life for me was truly a grand, exciting experience. I saw a lot of the world.  Learned things.  Taught things.  Made things.  Broke things. Fixed things.  Loved every moment of it, taking the good (lots and lots of good) with the bad (very small, tiny amount of bad stuff).  Margaret taught me what a wonderful thing life can be. To her I owe everything.  Together we raised a family that fills my heart with happiness each and, every time I think of them (which is almost all the time.)  What more could a man ask for than the happiness and love that a family generates.

I want to mention two men that were directly responsible for the success that I had in this life.  Master Chief Winston Senter, US Navy, and Ronald C. Knobel, General Electric Company.  Both of them saw something in me that I did not know existed.  I leave this world a much better man in every way because of them.

We are proud to have presented our father’s obituary in his own words on behalf of our loving mother. We wanted to include this small edit. A great grandchild, Waverly, was born after he authored it. He was preceded in death by his parents Dorthea and Wilmer Deist of Wheeling WVA.

Services will be held at Tharp Funeral Home, 220 Breezewood Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24502 at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2020. The family will receive friends one-hour prior.

Donations in Bruce’s memory may be made to the Alan B. Pearson Cancer Center, 1701 Thompson Drive, VA 24501 or Centra Hospice, 2097 Langhorne Road, Lynchburg, VA 24501.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.

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