By Michael Rice, past president, Glen Park Association
Bruce Bonacker, architect, community activist, historic preservation advocate, and long-time Glen Park resident, passed away on August 3, 2017, at age 69. Bruce had been in treatment for over a year for a rare form of cancer, but he was engaged in Glen Park Association work, in his usual insightful and vigorous way, until about a month ago, when I last spoke with him.
Bruce is survived by his sisters Jeanne Baum and Elizabeth Stevens, both in the Albany, New York area, as well as his four nephews and nieces and numerous grand-nephews and grand-nieces. His sisters were with him in San Francisco when he passed away.
I had the pleasure of working with Bruce on many Glen Park planning, housing, and historic resource issues. Bruce, in fact is one of the main reasons I became active in the Glen Park Association, about 15 years ago, when we debated different sides of a local issue. We served together on the GPA board all the way up to 2017. As I wrote in an interview with Bruce in the December 2016 Glen Park News:
“Bruce and I have sometimes disagreed on issues and strategies, but his opinions and counsel have been a big contribution to the Glen Park Association for many years. He twice served as GPA president, and is currently on the GPA Zoning and Planning Committee, and the Glen Park Greenway committee.”
[Please see this story for more about Bruce.
Bruce grew up in the Albany, NY area, completed an architecture degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, then served in VISTA, aiding migrant agricultural workers in upstate New York to develop their own homes.
He moved to San Francisco in the late 70’s, and came to Glen Park in 1980, buying a home on Van Buren Street. Along with his GPA efforts, I am still compiling a list of Bruce’s other committees and organizations he helped in San Francisco.
Bruce was a long-time board member, with a stint as president, of San Francisco Heritage, the architectural preservation organization. Donations in his memory can be made to San Francisco Heritage.
A memorial service is planned for later.