John Bruce Gilchrist
“He had an indomitable spirit”
Bruce died just before Christmas last year. He had been hospitalized after a fall, and he seemed to have made a good recovery — plans were in place for his discharge — when suddenly his heart stopped. He was frail and suffered from congestive heart failure.
He was born in Santa Barbara at the Cottage Hospital and attended local schools. (Cold Spring School, Santa Barbara Educational Clinic, Santa Barbara Junior High, Santa Barbara High School) A loyal Don, he graduated from Santa Barbara High school in 1974 with Certificate of Completion. For several summers, he was a camper at Camp Lorr, and he was also a camper at Camp Jolly Roger.
For most of his adult life, Bruce lived in group homes, first in Santa Barbara, and then in the Bellflower-Long Beach area. For nineteen years, he lived on Zastrow Avenue in Bellflower at Cordial Manor. The owner Renato Madrigal understood Bruce, and Bruce was a fixture in the neighborhood. The last year of his life, he lived at Holy Hill Board and Care on Carfax Avenue in Bellflower. Bruce had a number of long-term girl friends whom he met at the day programs he attended.
Bruce had many good memories of growing up in Santa Barbara, and he came back to visit when he could. He always enjoyed Fiesta and especially the Fiesta Parade. His parents were members of the Santa Barbara Unitarian Society, and Bruce went to Unitarian Sunday school. As an adult, he attended services when he was in Santa Barbara. He was an enormous fan of Mahlon Balderston, the organist.
Bruce is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Gilchrist and his niece, Shelley Payne, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and his brother-in-law and friend, John Payne, of Santa Barbara, California. He is predeceased by his father, John W. Gilchrist, and his mother, Ann. B. Gilchrist.
There will be memorial service at a later date.