Bruce Saenger, by any estimation one of Waterville Valley’s leading citizens, passed away suddenly this week after a brief illness. If you’ve been around Waterville Valley for any length of time, Bruce has certainly touched your life in any one of a number of ways. His passing will leave a hole in our civic life that may well prove impossible to fill. It also leaves the kind of void that only a gentle man who is truly the friend of everyone he meets can create.
Bruce was a nationally renowned figure in his profession – he patiently explained to me on more than one occasion what he did, but to be honest, it was way above my head – of regulatory compliance for continuing education for professionals. He quite literally wrote the book, or books, that defined his field. Saenger Consulting has held an anchor spot in Town Square for many years, and this quiet little company has been one of our town’s steadiest employers. Saenger Consulting has also generously supported just about any cause in the region you can think of.
Bruce was an extraordinarily intelligent man, and someone I personally looked up to for something that is all too hard to find these days – real wisdom. A few years back, we had an important vote coming up in our town meeting, and I knew that Bruce held a different view that I did on the issue. I stopped by his office and he kindly spent half an hour discussing the matter, laying out his point of view in clear, thoughtful terms, and helping me understand his vision for the future of Waterville Valley, which was based on logic and numbers and sustainability. He made a lot of sense, and I appreciated the time and care he took – and the fact that he treated me as an equal and listened respectfully to my point of view, too.
Bruce Saenger served for many years as our Town Moderator, managing our town meeting and school board hearings with a combination of gentle discipline and great good humor. He managed to bring us all back to the matter at hand, keeping chaos in check with the kind of leadership that is also all too rare. As someone who chairs a lot of meetings in my professional life, I admired Bruce for his abilities as a moderator, and I will miss him greatly in years to come.
Bruce Saenger was a calm, gentle man who always had a twinkle in his eye and a half-smile on his face. On more than one occasion, he pinch-hit for Santa Claus when Santa himself was unable to make local commitments. The costume beard couldn’t hide the delight in Bruce’s face at the wonder in each child’s eyes. I never asked him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if filling in for the real Santa topped Bruce’s list of duties. He was that kind of guy.
I join with the entire board of directors of the Waterville Valley Foundation in expressing our heart-felt condolences to Bruce’s wife, Cheryl. Cheryl was a long-time Waterville Valley Foundation board member, who, like Bruce, could always be counted on for a clear, calm, and intelligent point of view. We deeply appreciate everything Cheryl and Bruce have done for the Foundation over the years.
Thanks for everything, Bruce. We’re going to miss you awfully.
Thanks, Andy, for this heartfelt post. I really, really liked Bruce…his sense of humor, his strength, his volunteerism, and more. He will truly be missed. You can read Andy’s blog at www.watervillevalleyfoundation.org/blog .