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Bruce D. Van Deusen, Ph.D.

August 20, 1931 October 7, 2012
Bruce D. Van Deusen, Ph.D.
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Obituary for Bruce D. Van Deusen, Ph.D.

Dr. Bruce D. Van Deusen, 81, of Troy, Michigan, a former resident of Birmingham Michigan, passed away on October 7, 2012 at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, in the loving care and company of close family.

Bruce was born August 20, 1932 in Lorain, Ohio to parents Margaret (nee Richards) and Clarence Van Deusen. He graduated from Lorain High School in 1949 and went on to earn a bachelor�s degree in Physics and Mathematics from Ohio Wesleyan University. Following his keen passion for learning, he completed post graduate work at Ohio State University and Case-Western Reserve; earned a Master of Science in Nuclear Science from the University of Michigan; and received a Masters of Automotive Engineering degree from the Chrysler Institute. He crowned his academic achievements with a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Michigan and was certified as a Professional Engineer by the state of Michigan.

Bruce worked for the Chrysler Corporation and held many patents. He was one of the first to use Chrysler�s earliest computers to support his experiments and research. Bruce�s lifelong work in the automotive industry stemmed from an early love of cars that began when he was very young. As a hobby, he would often �cobble up� old cars by rebuilding them from several parts of scrapped cars. During his service in the army, Bruce rebuilt a model-A car to drive in stock car races in Texas, taking the checkered flag for a proud win countless times. Bruce had owned 52 cars by the time he married his beloved wife of 55 years, Ann Groves on August 17th, 1957. The two met in a young adult group of a Methodist Church in Highland Park. They were married at Birmingham First United Methodist Church, where Ann had grown up, and found an extended family in the church through their life together. Ann and Bruce raised their own children at Birmingham First, marking three generations of family involvement in the church.

Partway through his career, Bruce transferred from the automotive branch of Chrysler to the Chrysler Defense Division. The Defense Division was eventually sold to General Dynamics, where Bruce completed his career. Through the following years, Bruce invented simulators for tanks and helped design the M1 Abrams tank. His concluding research projects were in the field of electro-thermal energy development. He retired from General Dynamics in 1993 as Director of Advanced Development.

Bruce�s work and interest in the education of children was inspired by his father-in-law, Wylie E. Grove�s service to Birmingham schools. Bruce served on the Birmingham Board of Education for twelve years. He was elected by his fellow trustees to the position of president six of those years. During his tenure, Bruce led the school district through many difficult and challenging changes. During this time, he became particularly interested in school enrollment projections, recognizing the importance of effective enrollment projections in ensuring the educational success and preparedness of school districts. When he retired from engineering, he designed a computer program for maximally effective enrollment projections. Bruce started a small business called Education Services, Inc. that he operated for twenty years following his retirement from General Dynamics. His purpose was to create accurate projections to assist school boards and administrators in planning for the future (i.e. staffing, buildings, and finances).

Bruce is survived by his dear wife Ann Van Deusen and his loving children David (Evelyn) Van Deusen, Beth (The Rev. Rory) Swenson and Janet (Bob) Rice. He is the proud grandfather of Sara Ann, Nicholas, and Nathan. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews and his sister-in-law Mary Ellen (Harry) Hawkins. Bruce�s work in the field of education, his quick mind for computers and organization, hard-working spirit, dry wit and his dedication to the church will live on through his family.

Through his life, passion, and leadership, he exemplified a high dedication to quality work, thoughtful leadership, and constant learning. He was an excellent role model for all who knew him in business and education. On top of this, he was also a loving husband and father, a fun and precious grandpa, and a quick-witted humorist. Bruce will be deeply missed by his friends and family, but we are glad to know he now walks in peace with God, and we cherish the gift of his memories.

A Memorial Service will be held at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, 1589 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham, Friday 11am. Memorial gathering at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Rd. (between 14-15 Mile Rds.) Thursday 3-8pm.

Memorials appreciated to First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, 1589 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham, MI 48009 or Birmingham Education Foundation, 550 Merrill St., Birmingham, MI 48009.


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