In Memoriam

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Bruce Saunders ’63

A picture of Bruce Saunders

Bruce Saunders ’63, February 26, 2014, after a yearlong battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in Seattle, Washington. Bruce was a philosophy major at Reed, and went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from UCLA and a PhD in sociology and education from UC Berkeley in 1975. He spent several years on the faculty at Pennsylvania State and the University of Washington before working as an independent scholar to advance educational reform in religious schools in rural areas of developing countries as an offsetting influence to urbanization. In addition to scholarly publications, he completed two books of fiction. His novel The Mexican Cowboy, the Coyote and the Thing in the Sky combines New Mexico folk tales, science fiction, theology, and philosophy. The book had its origin in tales told to Kaiti, daughter of Bruce and Laura Stanley Saunders ’63, when she was four. The stories focus on the value of connection between humans and among humans and animals, as well as the protection of wild animals, bioengineering, the conflict among animals’ gods, and war and peace. Set in the Rio Grande valley and Manzano Mountains south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bruce’s second book, Bruce’s Fables, which he wrote following the ALS diagnosis, is a collection of short pieces that examine our need to take care of one another. Bruce is survived by Laura, Kaiti, and son-in-law Rob Colenso.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2014

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