American Veteran 01

Bruce Esmond

July 16, 1928 ~ December 21, 2021 (age 93)


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…  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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