Bruce Lynn Beringer was a mountain of a man, both literally and figuratively, but everyone who knew him would attest that his physical stature was completely dwarfed by the size of his heart.
Bruce, age 61, passed away unexpectedly on June 26, 2013 in Rexburg, Idaho, as a result of complications following a fall and emergency hip surgery. He was surrounded by numerous family members who had made the journey to Idaho to be by his side.
Bruce, the youngest of four children, was born in Yakima, Washington on October 25, 1951 to Edward Beringer and Emma Sprague Beringer. He moved to Utah when he was 11 years old, eventually living in Plain City. He moved his family to Roy in 1987, where he and his wife have lived ever since.
Bruce was an athlete at Weber High School, participating in football, wrestling, and track, even though he often worked jobs before or after school to help support his family. He graduated in 1971. He was an especially talented wrestler. He was tall and skinny, but always wrestled and won in the heavyweight class. His high school wrestling coach, Mr. Davies, had always said to him that his brother, Neal, was the second most naturally talented wrestler he'd ever coached. But just a year ago, when he ran into Coach Davies, who remembered him well after more than 40 years, his coach told him: "You were the first."
In 1971, Bruce won the Golden Gloves State Champion boxing title in his weight class (165).
He met his wife of 40 years, Salli Hartz, at the Rocket Gas Station in Pleasant View. She reportedly said, "Hey, nice car!" and he replied, "Want a ride?" That sort of fun-loving spontaneity later shaped their family life -- they would often throw their kids in the car and drive straight through to visit family in places like California, Washington, or Colorado. Bruce and Salli were married during a snowstorm on December 29, 1972 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Ogden. After a short stint in the Army, Bruce returned to Utah to raise his family. He and Salli had two children, Andrea and Matthew. Bruce's family and children meant everything to him -- he always thought of them before himself, and it was not uncommon for the love and pride he felt for his children to overwhelm him to the point of tears. He loved his two beautiful grandchildren, Molly and Finnegan. He was a father figure to many, and he was everyone's favorite Uncle Bruce.
Bruce was a life-long protector of children, defender of the underdog, and fighter of bullies -- he had a strong sense of justice and cared very deeply for others. He liked to say, "I never started a fight. I just finished them." Some proof of that was a nose that had been broken nine times. These traits made him well-suited for his career as a police officer -- he spent the first part of his career on the Lyons, Colorado Police Department, after which he returned home to Utah, eventually getting a job at the Roy City Police Department. He spent 20 years on the police force there, serving and protecting with great compassion and notorious humor. He may never have written as many traffic tickets as he was supposed to, but he always focused on the people who needed him most. In one of so many memorable events, he literally ripped down a chain-link dog kennel with his bare hands when he found a child who had been locked in it by an abusive parent. He touched countless lives, and was well known and loved in the community.
After retiring from the police department, Bruce took on a second career as a landing gear machinist at Hill Air Force Base. His extended family benefitted from his metal machining hobby shop, where, among other things, he made beautiful kaleidoscopes.
If there was anything Bruce was best known for, it was undoubtedly his corny, deadpan sense of humor. What was perhaps less known was that the bad jokes that he frequently told were his conscious way of putting everyone around him at ease, even in the most tense situations in his work and life. When he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 1995, he immediately started telling what became his favorite long-standing joke: "My doctor tells me my brain is worth over a million dollars...because it's never been used!" Though he suffered from extreme chronic pain and a great many physical problems over the past 17 years since his brain surgery, he always mustered a cheesy grin and a wave, and he told that same bad joke to the doctors and staff who took care of him at the hospital in Idaho.
The family would especially like to thank the amazing and compassionate staff at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, ID - we were truly impressed by the personalized care and support of everyone, from the doctors and their staff to the cashiers in the cafeteria, who gave us hugs and free food when they learned that Bruce had died.
Bruce is survived by his devoted wife and champion, Salli; children Andrea (Charlie) Lyon and Matt (Shane); two grandchildren, Molly and Finnegan Lyon; sisters, Nadine Beringer and Carol (Barry) Johansen; brother, Neal (Shelagh) Beringer; brothers-in-law, David (Mona), Bill (Lynn), and Gary (Dannette) Hartz; and sisters-in-law, Diana (Wes) Headrick and Jaenne Brownlee. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Emma; parents-in-law, Ralph and Rose Hartz; brother-in-law, Bob Brownlee; and beloved friend and mentor, Everett Larson.
Funeral services will be held Monday, July 1, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Lindquist's Roy Mortuary, 3333 W 5600 S. Friends may visit with family on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Monday from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. at the mortuary prior to the service.
Interment, Roy City Cemetery, 5200 S. 2300 W.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.lindquistmortuary.com.