Bruce's Story

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Bruce S. Wagenseller Jr., son of Bruce Sr. and Helen Brosius Wagenseller, passed away at the Victoria Estates care facility on Nov. 2, 2017, in Poway, Calif. He was 90 years old and a resident of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., and a native of Selinsgrove, Pa.

Bruce was a graduate of Selinsgrove Area High School in 1945, earned his bachelors degree from Lock Haven University in 1957 while being a champion swimmer, diver, and gymnast and then earned his masters degree in Health & Physical Education from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.

After serving in the 13th Army Air Force in the Philippines from 1945-47 clearing the harbors and working at the Palace, Bruce started his career teaching health and Physical Education at Bellwood, Pa., for one year and then returned to his home town to teach at Selinsgrove Area High School from 1957-1966.

In 1966, he became an associate professor, then a professor and the director of Health and Physical Education at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove from 1966-1987. While at Susquehanna, he started the Tiny Tot swim program and conducted many Scuba Diving seminars that included travel to the Bahamas Islands for certification classes. During the same timeframe, he also coached cross-country for several years, achieving their first winning seasons. With his passion for fitness, many people joined Bruce in daily runs and fitness regimens around the town. He was always happy to help others add fitness activities and healthy nutrition habits to their daily routines. In one of his proudest moments and with the cooperation of Skip Weider and the University President Gustave Weber, Bruce was able to have Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the father of the Aerobics Industry, dedicate the University's new Houtz gymnasium.

Bruce also managed swimming pools as the head lifeguard at the Rolling Green Park and Susquehanna Valley Country Club for many years during the summer months. He was proud to see the smiling faces of people enjoying his sparkling pools and facilities. In addition, he was in charge of the Red Cross swimming programs as an Instructor trainer Instructor that helped so many people to learn to swim in these Red Cross programs at local community pools. He even served on the boards of the original Selinsgrove Swimming Pool Committee that built a large community pool for the town.

When Bruce wasn't running or teaching, he loved to fly and was a private plane pilot and flew Susquehanna coaches to various locations to scout other sports teams and recruit students. His love for fitness, flying, and watching the weather positively affected many lives in the Selinsgrove, Nettles Island, and Rancho Bernardo areas.

In Nettles Island, Fla., where he retired and lived with his wife Helen for 21 years, he ran a weather observation station for 10 years and would never miss a day of swimming with Helen after he switched from running to daily swimming. Bruce always enjoyed a good morning swim followed by some friendly conversation on the weather, cars, sports, and politics. His fondest memories were of chatting with his family, friends, and new acquaintances met throughout these favorite activities.

Bruce is survived by his wife, Helen Gavason who is a registered nurse. They were married for almost 62 years and she still lives in Rancho Bernardo. He is also survived by a son Mark; grandchildren, Nicole and Blake; and brother-in-law, Harry and Barbara Gavason; and 14 nieces and nephews.

Consolation services will be held at St Michael's Church in Rancho Bernardo on Nov. 22, at 10:00 a.m.

Graveside rights will be given by the Rev. Dr. Dietmar Plajer in Orchard Hills Cemetery in Shamokin Dam Pa., on Dec. 1, at 11:00 a.m. In addition, the local VFW will perform a military service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Susquehanna University Swim Scholarship, Susquehanna University, 514 University Ave., Selinsgrove, PA 17870.
Published on November 14, 2017
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