Bruce attended a one-room schoolhouse from grades 1-8 and graduated from Churchville High School. His youth activities included: Boy Scouts, 4-H, and FFA- which he was a State officer in 1941. He attended Cornell University, graduating in 1951 from the Veterinary College. At Cornell he was Chancellor of Alpha Zeta Fraternity and member of the Baptist Student Fellowship. While attending Cornell he met Mary Currie and they were married in October 1952.
After earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, Bruce came to Skaneateles to work with Dr. Robert Nichols. The next year he moved to Unadilla, NY where he bought the veterinary practice of Dr. Harry Sutton. In 1953 he returned to Central NY forming a mixed animal practice partnership with Dr. Nichols, which extended for twenty ?ve years. In 1978 Dr. Widger joined the Division of Animal Industry, he became the State Veterinarian in the New York State Department of Agriculture until his 1990 retirement.
Bruce also served in several leadership and participatory roles. He was a Trustee of Cornell University from 1961-1981 and remained an Emeritus Trustee. He was a longtime 7th degree member of the Marcellus Grange, Onondaga Pomona and New York State Grange.
Bruce was a member of Morning Star Masonic Lodge in Marcellus, serving as Master in 1961 and progressed through district leadership positions. Bruce was Grand Master of Masons for the State of New York during the years 1980-82. His Masonic membership also included leadership in both the York and Scottish Rite Bodies. As a 33rd Degree Mason, he was a member of the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite, and served nine years as Deputy for the State of New York.
Bruce was chairman of the Marcellus Town Zoning board for 16 years, a founding member of the Marcellus Rotary Club, a Trustee of the Skaneateles Saving Bank, Director of the Farmers and Traders Life Insurance Company and an officer of the Marcellus Historical Society. He was active in his local church, serving as a member of many committees.
During his retirement he actively participated in the ECHO Meals on Wheels program, as a Marcellus Free Library volunteer and in the Syracuse Mens Garden Club helping on Zoo Crew. His hobbies were caning chairs, making chair pads and latch hooking rugs for neighbors, friends, relatives.
Bruce is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Jane Milem, sons Byron (Jenifer) and Dwight (Michelle) Widger. Grandchildren Jeffrey (Erin) Milem, Rosanne Milem, Bonna (Paul) Gordon, Benjamin Widger, Theodore (Olivia) Widger, Martha Widger, Aimee (Casey) Hofmann, Sarah (Tyler) Creech and Zachary Widger. Great grandchildren Philip Milem, Isaac Hofmann and Marian Hofmann. He was predeceased by his son-in-law Philip Milem in 1994.
Visiting hours at Ryan Funeral Home, 44 East Main Street, Marcellus on Wednesday, March 8th from 3 to 6pm. 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Masonic service will be at 7pm and the Morning Star Lodge Masonic Service will immediately follow.
Memorial service will be Thursday, March 9th at 1:30pm, in the Marcellus United Methodist Church, 1 Slocombe Avenue, Marcellus, NY. Spring committal in Maple Grove Cemetery, Town of Ogden, near Churchville, NY.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages contributions to Marcellus Free Library, 32 Maple Street, Marcellus,13108; Baltimore Woods, PO Box 133, Marcellus, 13108 or the The Masonic Learning Center for Children, PO Box 638, Oriskany, NY 13424.
Morning Star Lodge (46 East Main Street, Marcellus NY, 13108) will be open from 2:00 PM to 8:30 PM. Light refreshments will be available for those who may be traveling and want to refresh themselves either before or after the Masonic Service. A buffet with finger foods, coffee, tea, soda and water will be available.
There is parking available behind the Lodge and where behind Ryan Funeral Home. There is also a municipal lot on West Main Street just past St. Francis RC Church. It is about 2/10’s of a mile to the Funeral Home from the municipal lot. There is also limited on-street parking on Main Street and behind the Town Municipal Bldg.