REMEMBERING BRUCE ROY WRINKLE, 1945-2013
A very happy Bruce holding an Apollo Moon Rock at Company Seven on 1 July 2003
Bruce Roy Wrinkle (b. 7 August 1945, d. 28 April 2013) was the soul of our showroom. He was kind, witty, intelligent, and always able to greet you with a funny joke; if Martin was our 'Bad Cop' then Bruce was the 'Good Cop'. If you were fortunate enough to meet him, then you could not help but like Bruce Wrinkle.
Bruce graduated among the Class of 1963 from Kenwood Senior High School in Essex, Baltimore County, Maryland. He was a licensed amateur radio operator 'WB3JMA' ('just messing around' as Bruce would add), whose skills and interest in electronics were noted as he enlisted in the US Army where he was assigned to communications and cryptography work. He recalled many nice memories from his days assigned by the Army to Germany in the late 1960's. Another interest that he retained since his days in the Army was target shooting with rifles; here too he did well. After earning an honorable discharge from the Army, Bruce began his science career at Johns Hopkins University laboratory of astrophysics and physical meteorology, then it was managed by Professor John D. Strong. Bruce moved on to work in the computer industry, a field then mostly comprised of mainframe computers.
He had developed a passion for sports cars early in his life, owing and racing a Triumph TR and other sporty cars. To his last day he would become excited by the sound of a fine car engine, or the sight of the lines of a great sports car. He would drive to Watkins Glen International and to other race tracks to take in the sights and sounds of the races. Over his last several years he motored about in his new Shelby GT-500, and he could tell you anything you wanted to know about any aspect of it. Bruce was an avid fisherman who knew the ins and outs of almost every body of water and their fish in the region; I will never forget the bumper sticker on his red Ford Ranger pickup truck: FISH TREMBLE AT THE MENTION OF MY NAME.
Bruce had a life-long fascination with the sciences and astronomy, and was a member of the Hartford County Astronomical Society although he also helped to build the membership of the other astronomy organizations in the region. He often counseled budding amateur astronomers, and mentioned how his own several first choices of amateur telescopes left him wanting something better. He came to work at Company Seven in 1994 mentioning "I can't believe how lucky I am to be paid for sitting around and talking about my hobby all day". He wondered at our universe under the stars with an 18 inch Dobson style telescope (with a select 'Galaxy' primary mirror) and with his Astro-Physics 130mm EDF Apo telescope, a gift from Company Seven. He loved how Company Seven promotes our hobby and its community and not ourselves, though it was Bruce who nicknamed Martin "Mr. Sensitivity". Bruce was was amazingly well read; we observed over and over again how he was able to hold his own in conversations with visiting doctors and scientists on matters as diverse as prions or the physics of dark matter theory. He amassed a fine collection of minerals and meteorites and often lectured on the subjects to regional astronomy clubs, museums, and sometimes to families who invited him over. He was looking forward to seeing the approaching Comet ISON, potentially 'the comet of the century'; we are sad he will miss it though we will think of him as we observe it this Fall. There was rarely a day when he did not convey some pearl of wisdom here or at the nearby Nuzbacks bar and restaurant (including "I'd rather be lucky than good.") or have some new joke, funny or simply delivered funny, to tell.
On Friday 10 May Bruce was interred with military honors in Section R-2, Row 13, Grave 2 at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery in Owings Mills, MD. From there he has fine, clear horizons views. Bruce was our friend, a true friend in every sense of the word, and every day without him will lack a little luster.