Bruce C. Foulke, 81, of Newport, RI, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on December 4, 2018. Bruce was born and raised in Hillsdale, MI to the late Harold and Lucile Foulke. Bruce was husband to Kathleen (Kathy) Foulke for 45 years, sharing a life in Gloucester, MA, Silver Spring, MD, San Diego, CA, and Newport, RI.
Bruce grew up as part of an extended family that lived in close proximity. He treasured memories of those years as well as the examples of kindness, tolerance, an appreciation of nature, and a commitment to service that were part of his upbringing. He carried those values forth in his own life, and also had a spirit of adventure that took him from his home state after college to the far corners of the country.
Bruce graduated from Albion College and the University of Michigan with a BA/BS (electrical engineering) and completed his education with an MS from the University of Southern California (systems management). As an engineer and later software analyst, Bruce’s career spanned decades of technological advances that never ceased to amaze and awe him. He worked on and managed numerous projects in the aerospace and defense industries as a Navy civil servant and for a number of employers, including Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, SCI, and, for the last decades of his career, Northrop Grumman. One of his most treasured work memories was contributing to the Apollo Program.
From an early age, Bruce excelled at athletics. A champion pole vaulter, he held an MIAA record in his college’s division, and was inducted into the Albion Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017. Throughout his adult life, he got considerable enjoyment from running and participated in a number of half-marathons.
In semi-retirement, Bruce enjoyed myriad interests. He worked at the Newport County YMCA and periodically returned to Northrop Grumman as a consultant; Bruce and Kathy traveled extensively, mostly through exchanging homes, sometimes joined by Elizabeth and Anne; he began painting again, getting inspiration from those travels; and he continued his lifelong passion for gardening, planting seeds and bulbs that yielded spectacular displays in which he took great pride.
Bruce was a dearly beloved husband and father. His greatest happiness was in time spent with family, and becoming a grandfather late in life brought him immeasurable joy. He shared his love of chocolate, nature, and gardening with his grandchildren. Many days with them were spent digging, overturning rocks and discovering critters as well as planting and weeding. He was also a storyteller who enjoyed sharing memories of his childhood, career, and adventures of his eventful and rich life with family and friends.
Following in the family tradition of service, Bruce greatly valued helping others. He was active in both the Methodist and Episcopal churches throughout his life, serving as a Sunday School teacher, lay leader, and senior warden at the former St. George’s Episcopal Church in Newport. Among his other memberships and activities, Bruce was a Big Brother, served as a crisis counselor and volunteered for and/or belonged to: Friends of the Waterfront, Clean Ocean Access, Aquidneck Land Trust, Save the Bay, St. Michael’s Country Day School Parents Association, Armed Forces YMCA Board, Daffodillion project, and the Goodrich Club (Albion College).
In addition to his wife, Bruce is survived by his daughters Elizabeth R. Foulke, Anne F. Toner (David), and grandchildren Gordon and Phoebe Toner. Bruce is also survived by his sister Kathryn Hulme (Rick) of Asheville, NC, sister-in-law Elinor Foulke of Escondido, CA, and four nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his brother Ralph Foulke.
A celebration of Bruce’s life will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations can be made to:
Clean Ocean Access (http://www.cleanoceanaccess.org/action/donate/)
c/o Alliance for a Livable Newport
PO Box 2636, Newport, RI 02840
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center
20 Dr. Marcus F. Wheatland Blvd.
Newport, RI 02840