Bruce Esmond of San Diego, CA, native of Springfield, IL, died peacefully at the age of 93, on December 21, at his home. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Virginia (VanCamp), daughters Connie Esmond (John) Kiger, Suzanne (Mark) Pettyjohn and Jane (Joel) Cowan, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, also his niece and nephews, and their children. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, Wilton and Hazel Esmond, and his sister Bobbe Bowlby.
Bruce attended Springfield High School, excelling in track and field, and was a member of the 1946 Hall of Fame football squad. Later he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Illinois. He also played football there. He was a Licensed Architect, State of Illinois. He was a proud Navy veteran of the Korean War, serving on the destroyer USS Bausell. He continued his service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, retiring a Commander. His daughters have fun memories of vacations spent at Naval bases around the country while he taught classes of midshipmen. Professionally, Bruce was a Architectural Vice President of Midwest Prestressed Concrete Company of Springfield, and later, University Architect and Director of the Physical Plant at SSU/UIS campus.
Upon retirement, he and Virginia relocated to San Diego, CA where they enjoyed the weather, many new friends and the military community. He continued to play a lot of serious tennis and some not-so-serious golf, into his 90’s. He was a long time member of the Rancho Bernardo Swim and Tennis Club and early on was the Captain of the over 70 Men’s Doubles group, participating in tournaments throughout San Diego. Bruce and Virginia were avid travelers, both locally and worldwide. They made it a priority to stay in touch with family and old friends, returning to the Midwest often for reunions and family celebrations. Bruce enjoyed the U of I homecomings he was able to attend, the last one at the age of 90. During that year he was also able to fulfill long time wishes of flying along the CA coast in a Bi-Plane and attending the EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, WI.
Bruce excelled in building anything, from single-handedly building his original family home to completing never-ending remodeling projects at home and for neighbors in Rancho Bernardo. His projects included building a model of a historic gas station located in Odell, IL, now on display there, and building toys for his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.
His family always thought it would take a natural disaster to do their Dad in, yet he survived war, floods, wildfires, earthquakes….and a few falls off of ladders…..to pass peacefully with Virginia beside him.
Burial with military honors will be in April at the Rochester Cemetery in Rochester, IL. A Celebration of Life is being planned at the RB Swim and Tennis Club, San Diego, his home away from home.
The family requests memorials be given to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station,1223 ½ 28th St., Suite A, San Diego, CA92102 or
San Diego Habitat for Humanity, San Diego, CA
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