November 11, 1935 - October 7, 2023 (age--ageless)
A soaring intellect, a matchless wit, a mind for the ages---and that doesn't begin to capture more than the vaguest outline of the man lost to us all when Bruce Mack recently died.
Born in Evergreen Park, Illinois, and raised in Tampa, Florida, he served in the U.S. Army for three years and went on to graduate from the University of Florida with high honors and receive his Master's Degree from the University of Texas. A college instructor of German and Linguistics at the University of Texas-Arlington and then the University of South Carolina, he was a natural teacher, able to explain arcane subjects with unparalleled clarity. In the final decades of his working life, he became an R.N., caring for medical/surgical patients with confidence and humor that routinely made their circumstances easier to bear.
Humor and wit were keystones of his fascinating personality. He could make us all laugh to breathlessness, and his wit invariably elicited the best in those around him, who felt wittier, themselves, in his company, as they stretched for the high bar he set.
With a mind that reached inquiringly in every direction, he was equally and phenomenally knowledgeable about science and math, literature and art, music and philosophy, a contemporary Renaissance Man. In Trivial Pursuit games, no one ever wanted to go up against "Mr. Blue Pie," because there was no possibility he would ever miss a Geography question, unless the creators of the game had made a mistake.
A nature enthusiast and advocate and avid lifelong birder, he hiked much of the Appalachian Trail and happily clambered all over mountains, through canyons, and into rivers, and went anywhere else, from Attu, Alaska to the Rio Grande, that might turn up a new bird species to add to his North American Birding Life List, an annually published list that he rose to the top ranks of in his birding career.
In retirement, he traveled extensively in Europe, Canada, and North America and was fortunate to have a wife who took pictures because he was much too busy internalizing all he saw to have a camera obstructing his view.
No game was safe from his attention and graciously competitive spirit: a masterful and incisive Bridge player, he was an equally hard to beat Jacks player. From Poker to Euchre, from tennis to volleyball, from Cribbage to Sleuth, from bar games to mind games, he loved to play and could do so tirelessly for hours.
A gourmet and an astonishing cook--he no doubt developed the latter ability so that he could enjoy food he loved whenever he wanted it, and the rest of us regularly benefited from the discerning palate he brought to his adventures in the kitchen. Too many of his incredible dishes are lost with him because he never cooked by recipes.
A voracious reader, he might even fail to respond, unbelievably enough, to a call for an excellent meal if he was immersed in a book.
He could be an entertainingly hilarious curmudgeon---but affable, all the same.
He loved deeply, but quietly, never effusive or very demonstrative, but no less clear and rock-steady in his feelings for his wife, Bunny, his children, in-laws, grandchildren, and special lifelong friends (looking at you, N&B and S&E).
He was, in turn, loved beyond measure and will be missed beyond measure all the days of all the lives he touched so profoundly.
One of his oldest friends, Sharon, wrote: Bruce has left a hole in our lives the size of a much larger man, perhaps a giant.
He leaves behind, to keep him boisterously alive in their hearts and minds, his wife, Bunny (Hampton) Mack; his children (though Bunny claimed them, too, having known them from the ages of 9, 7, and 4), Natalie Mack, Shannon (Mark) Earl, and Eric (Mara) Mack; his in-laws, who were like siblings for over half a century, Bo (Teresa) Hampton, Robin Hampton (Tim) Gunter, Scott Hampton, Tracy Hampton Munsey, and Toby Hampton. And beloved grandchildren, Jared, Jeffrey, Alden, and Nate, and nieces, Ashley, Erin, Caitlin, Callie, Nicole, and Paige and their wonderful families----he went to all their graduations, weddings, swim meets, soccer games, plays, races, lacrosse games, tennis matches, and more, and he no doubt would have made it to all those same events for great-grandchildren if time hadn't run out for that strongest and most loving heart.
Services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the The Nature Conservancy which Bruce supported all his adult life.
For more information or to sign the online guestbook, please visit www.burroughsfh.com.
Burroughs Funeral Home and Cremation Services, in Murrells Inlet is honored to assist the family.