Presented by DON GENTRY
at Rotary Club on March 25, 2014
Professor Bruce Harding, age 66, died February 23, 2014 after a brief illness. As a very private person, few people other than his family knew that he had a very fast acting disease. He was born on March 8, 1947 in Buffalo, New York but spent his childhood in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Bruce achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts and remained active in the Scouting movement throughout his life. As a young man he worked at his father’s pharmacy and attended Purdue football games with his grandfather and uncle, which I am sure, helped him make college choices later.
Bruce had a love for family, teaching, and service. He was a dedicated husband to his wife Martha Jane Holmes, who he married in 1968, and to their son Seth; both survive. Bruce often said that Seth was his greatest achievement and joy in life.
Bruce’s love of teaching started when he graduated from Purdue University with BS and MS degrees. He worked at Westinghouse Laboratories, Rappahannock Community College as a teacher and administrator. He then returned to Purdue in the department of Mechanical Engineering Technology of the College of Technology where he served for the next 32 years as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology. Bruce’s love for teaching carried throughout his career, teaching a number of different courses, but he enjoyed the introductory course in applying mathematics to engineering problems the most; skills of great need for incoming freshmen students. A full professor teaching freshman students is not common at Purdue. Bruce received many accolades from the faculty who taught the students in later courses, but seldom from his students who thought the course was too rigorous.
Bruce’s love for service permeated every facet of his life and career. Professionally, Bruce was actively involved in consulting and serving in leadership positions in developing engineering standards for the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, the National Standard Institute, and the International Organization for Standards. Many years he served as the committees' chair: he served as Chair of the Board on Standardization and Testing from 2010 to 2013 and Vice President of ASME Standardization and Testing from 2010-2013. He was active in this work at the national and international level for 18 years.
Bruce was past President of the Warsaw Virginia Rotary Club and an active member of the Lafayette Rotary Club. He held many other service positions ranging from serving in a Volunteer Fire Department to the Chamber of Commerce.
Jane Turner remembers that when she needed help with managing the web site after Chris Funk resigned, Bruce stepped up and learned the system Chris had been using. Although he was not able to attend many luncheon meetings, he worked on the web site (updating committees, adding archival space and posting Ripples) every week. Rotary was important to him.