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Bruce Wyckoff

Bruce Renton Wyckoff

Monday, April 21st, 1930 - Friday, May 21st, 2021
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Obituary

Bruce Renton Wyckoff


Bruce Renton Wyckoff, 91, of Bonita Springs, FL, passed away peacefully on May 21, 2021. He was the son of the late Henry Norman Wyckoff and Irma Elaine (Renton) Wyckoff of Summit, NJ. He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Mary Helen (Valley) Wyckoff.

Bruce was born on April 21, 1930, in Brooklyn, NY, where he attended Dodger baseball games at Ebbets Field and would become a life-long Dodger fan. While still a youngster, Bruce’s family moved to Short Hills, NJ. There he played several sports but, like his father, excelled at tennis. He played on and was captain of the Millburn High School state championship tennis team, playing at several positions, including #1 singles and, teamed with older brother Gary at #1 doubles. Bruce was ranked #2 in the state of New Jersey and #9 in interscholastic singles by the Eastern Lawn Tennis Association.

Following high school, Bruce attended Washington College, Chestertown, MD. He majored in economics and was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. While there, Bruce continued to play the game he loved, playing #1 singles and serving as captain of the men’s varsity tennis team.

After graduation in 1952, Bruce entered the U.S. Air Force and was in pilot training (fixed-wing aircraft) in Stallings AFB, NC, and Vance AFB, OK, and later received helicopter training at Gary AFB in San Marcos, TX. Bruce served in Germany, first at Fursten Feldberk AFB near Munich, and then at Rheinmain AFB in Frankfurt.

While in Germany, Lt. Wyckoff heroically flew rescue missions. In 1954, he piloted a helicopter that carried avalanche survivors to safety. Later that year, he and his crew picked up 22 stranded people on rooftops during floods in Munich. After being credited with a life-saving mission by his commanding officer, Bruce was awarded the Winged S from Sikorsky Aircraft, which honors individuals who perform a life-saving rescue flying a Sikorsky helicopter.

While in Frankfurt, Bruce met Mary Helen Valley from Olympia, WA, who was a school teacher on the base. As their romance flourished, they enjoyed traveling through Europe.

Following an honorable discharge from active duty in 1956 (he would serve in the reserves for another 10 years), Bruce and Mary Helen married and settled in Connecticut, first in Bridgeport, then Milford and Orange. Bruce accepted a position and began his career in sales with Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT. The couple had two sons, Brad and Brian, and Bruce was very active in their young lives. He coached their little league teams and happily spent many hours driving them to various practices, games, and meets.

He was the “go-to Dad” in the neighborhood, always willing to play pick-up baseball with a crowd of youngsters. He also introduced his sons to tennis, a game he continued to play well into his advanced years. Bruce and both his sons played father-son tournaments, including the National Grass Court Championships. He achieved a #4 ranking in New England in father-son and a top 10 ranking in singles in his age group. Bruce also introduced his family to skiing and they spent many winter weekends in Vermont.

Bruce and his family also enjoyed being members of the Milford (CT) Yacht Club, Paugussett Club, Orange, CT, and Homewood Acres Golf Course, Woodbridge, CT, where they attended many social events and formed life-long friendships. While at Paugussett Club, Bruce continued to dominate at tennis, winning several club tennis championships.

Following retirement after over 35 years at Sikorsky Aircraft, Bruce and Mary Helen moved to Worthington Country Club, Bonita Springs, FL. Bruce continued to play tennis, winning multiple club championships and also played golf. The couple, who loved to entertain at their home, cultivated great friendships during their 25 years at Worthington. Bruce and Mary Helen were members of the First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs.

Above everything else, Bruce enjoyed spending time with his sons and their growing families, including four grandchildren, whom he loved and was immensely proud of. He never missed a milestone occasion in their lives. He traveled to attend holidays, graduations and danced at his oldest granddaughter’s wedding. During the many visits, he always enjoyed the tradition of playing family tennis doubles, frustrating his grandchildren who could never seem to get a ball passed him. His grandchildren loved their Papa and treasure the times they spent together.

Several years after the passing of Mary Helen, Bruce moved to The Terraces of Bonita Springs. He was very fortunate to spend his last years with his companion, Marilyn Fiertz. Their deep affection brought joy and comfort to Bruce’s life.

Bruce is survived by his son, Brad Wyckoff and his wife Sandy of Charlotte, NC and their son, Matthew of Washington DC; son Brian Wyckoff, his wife Julie, and their three children, Emily (and husband Anthony) DePalma of Alpharetta, GA, Peter Wyckoff, and Ana Wyckoff of Southport, CT; his brother Gary Wyckoff and his wife Beth of Summerville, SC; his companion Marilyn Fiertz; and cousins, nieces and nephews.

A private burial is planned in Bonita Springs. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Bruce's memory be directed to First Presbyterian Church, 9751 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 or Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908.

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Service Details

A private burial is planned in Bonita Springs. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Bruce's memory be directed to First Presbyterian Church, 9751 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 or Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908

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Steve Diamond

Posted at 07:42am
So sad to hear of Bruce's passing. The tennis community will certainly miss him
Steve Diamond
Tennis Director
Worthington Country Club
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