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Bruce Renton Wyckoff, USAF
April 21, 1930 – May 21, 2021
Bonita Springs, FL – 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 games at Ebbets Field and became a life-long Dodger fan. Later, Bruce’s family moved to Short Hills, NJ. There he played several sports but, like his father, excelled at tennis. He was captain of the Millburn High School state championship team, playing several positions, including #1 singles, and teaming with older brother Gary at #1 doubles. Bruce was ranked #2 in New Jersey and #9 in interscholastic singles by the Eastern Lawn Tennis Association.
Bruce attended Washington College in Maryland. He studied economics and joined Kappa Alpha fraternity. Also, Bruce played #1 singles and was captain of the men’s varsity tennis team.
After graduation (1952), Bruce entered the U.S. Air Force and completed helicopter training before serving in Germany. There, Lt. Wyckoff heroically flew rescue missions. In 1954, he piloted a helicopter carrying avalanche survivors to safety. Later that year, he and his crew picked up 22 stranded on rooftops during floods in Munich. For this, Bruce was awarded the Winged S from Sikorsky Aircraft, honoring individuals who perform a life-saving rescue while flying a Sikorsky helicopter.
While in Germany, 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 in 1956 (he served in the reserves for another 10 years), Bruce and Mary Helen married and settled in Connecticut, first in Bridgeport, then Milford and Orange. Bruce began a career in sales at Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, CT. The couple had two sons, Brad and Brian. Bruce was very active in their young lives, coaching little league and spending many hours driving to practices, games and tournaments.
He was the “go-to Dad,” always willing to join a pick-up baseball game with neighborhood children. He introduced his sons to tennis, a game he continued to play well into his advanced years. The three 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; they spent many winter weekends in Vermont.
Bruce and his family enjoyed memberships at the Milford (CT) Yacht Club, Paugussett Club, Orange, CT, and Homewood Acres Golf Course, Woodbridge, CT, where they attended social events and formed life-long friendships. At Paugussett Club, Bruce continued to play tennis, winning several club championships.
After 35 years at Sikorsky, Bruce retired and the couple moved to Worthington Country Club, Bonita Springs, FL. Bruce continued to play tennis, winning club championships and also played golf. The two loved to entertain and cultivated great friendships during their 25 years there.
Several years after Mary Helen passed, Bruce moved to The Terraces of Bonita Springs. He was fortunate to spend his last years with his companion, Marilyn Fiertz. Their deep affection brought joy and comfort to Bruce’s life.
Above all else, Bruce enjoyed spending time with his sons and their growing families, including four grandchildren. He never missed a milestone occasion, traveling for holidays, graduations and to dance at his oldest granddaughter’s wedding. During the visits, he enjoyed the tradition of playing family tennis doubles. His grandchildren loved their Papa and treasure the times they spent together.
Bruce is survived by his son, Brad Wyckoff, wife Sandy of Charlotte, NC and son, Matthew of Washington, DC; son Brian Wyckoff, wife Julie, of Southport, CT and children, Emily (husband Anthony DePalma) of Alpharetta, GA, and Peter and Ana of Southport, CT; his brother Gary Wyckoff and 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 donations to the First Presbyterian Church, where Bruce and Mary Helen were members, 9751 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 or Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908.
Published by Naples Daily News from May 30 to Jun. 2, 2021.
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