Madge Ruth Bruice

Date of Birth

September 18, 1926

Date of Death

October 18, 2020

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Madge Bruice passed away on October 18, 2020 at Mission Terrace, one month to the day of her 94th birthday. Her daughter Ann was able to hold her hand during her last waking hours. Madge was born September 18, 1926 in Los Angeles, where she lived until she was 29. First child of Carl and Minerva Freudenberger, fun loving parents of modest means, and sister to younger brother Dean, Madge cherished fond memories of a simple, happy depression era childhood. Graduating in 1944 from Manual Arts High School, Madge attended Occidental College, the first in her family to attend college, graduating June 1948.

Madge married her high school sweetheart Thomas C. Bruice in August 1948. While Tom completed his PhD at USC, Madge taught at Huntington Park Elementary School until Tommy was born in 1952, followed closely by Ann in 1953. In 1955 the young family began a decade of moving throughout the East Coast, first to Branford, Conn. (Yale) where Carl was born in 1957. Subsequent moves to Baltimore (Johns Hopkins) in 1957 and Ithaca (Cornell) in 1960 followed as Tom built his career. Separated from California, family and friends, Madge found these years with frequent moves to be challenging. During this time Madge began a letter correspondence with her mother, mostly filled with news of Tommy, Ann, and Carl, who she cared for deeply. This correspondence lasted for decades and continued to buoy Madge through difficult years. Madge kept every letter her mother wrote to her, numbering nearly 400. Weary of Ithaca winters, Madge and family relocated west again and settled in Goleta (UCSB), where Madge resided most of the rest of her life, always grateful to have returned to sunshine. In 1971, divorced with children grown, Madge began work at Robinson’s where she was employed for over 20 years and made many friends.

Most content taking long beach walks with friends, Madge was proud to say that over the years she had walked every mile of beach from Ellwood to Butterfly Beach. A sun worshipper, bird lover and avid reader, Madge spent many hours reading outdoors serenaded by birds. In her later years when reading and walking became difficult, she could still be found whenever possible outside, soothed by the sun. Though quiet and private, Madge had a warm smile, kind heart and a surprisingly droll sense of humor which surfaced in her later years. She was especially fond of her lifelong friendships with Gloria Bass who she met 82 years ago on the first day of Jr. High, and her dear friend Fran Dunn. Madge also had long friendships with her P.E.O. sisters during her lifelong membership in the philanthropic organization, serving to create educational scholarships for young women.

For 48 years, Madge lived in Goleta until 2012 when she moved to Wood Glen Hall, spending 8 sunny peaceful years feeling safe and cared for. Profound gratitude is extended to Joan Schuermann, Diane Bieza, and the entire Wood Glen Hall staff for their dedication and kindness. Madge’s family thanks also the many doctors, nurses and staff at Sansum Clinic, Cottage Hospital, Valle Verde rehab, and most recently Mission Terrace who saw her through multiple health issues over the years. Heartfelt thanks is also extended to the Alexander House Foundation, and the Jefferson Endowment Fund.

Madge is survived by her children: Tom Bruice (Corinne), Ann Bruice, Carl Bruice (Lynn). She is also survived by her 5 grandchildren who she adored: Nicole, Colin, Kyla, Tommy and youngest grandchild Michael who grew up in Goleta. Being able to be a part of Michael’s life gave Madge great joy. Madge is also survived by her dear brother Dean (Elsie) and nieces/nephews: Mark, David, Anne, Jane.

Donations may be made to: Wood Glen Hall – 3010 Foothill Rd., SB, CA 93105; Alexander House Foundation – P.O. Box 23642, SB, CA 93121; Jefferson Endowment Fund – 114 E. De la Guerra Studio 3, SB, CA 93101.

Madge’s ashes will be spread at sea in honor of her love of the pacific coast.

“If happy little bluebirds fly….”


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