In memory of Cameron Bruce

Queen’s mourns loss of ‘happy’ and ‘outgoing’ first-year engineering student

Cameron Bruce, Sci ’14, was an avid trumpet player.
Cameron Bruce, Sci ’14, was an avid trumpet player.
Credit: 
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Cameron Bruce will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He will be remembered for his outgoing personality, commitment to his community and warm spirit.

The first-year engineering student was found dead outside his residence early Monday morning. Kingston Police said foul play is not suspected in this tragic incident.

His father, Iain Bruce, said that Cameron was thrilled to be accepted into the Queen’s Faculty of Engineering upon his graduation from Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut earlier this year.

Bruce said he still has the text message Cameron sent him when he found out he was accepted into Queen’s.

“All upper-case and three exclamation marks,” he said. “It just said ‘I’M INTO QUEEN’S!!!’ I could feel his excitement through that text message.”

Bruce, Comm ’81, said both he and his wife came with Cameron to Queen’s to help him move into residence.

“I’ve never seen him get up willingly at four in the morning. He was so wired and so excited,” he said. “I have never seen him as excited about anything in his life.”

Bruce said after dropping his son off at residence, he heard from Cameron that he was having an amazing frosh week.

“He was so excited and the goodbyes weren’t long and tearful. They were joyful,” he said. “He said he had the best week of his life.” Bruce said Cameron had bonded with his floor during the eight days he was at Queen’s.

“He was so happy. The way orientation is done here is a special and powerful thing,” he said. “He talked about how great his floor was.”

“He knew [Queen’s] was the right place for him,” he said. “He wanted to do everything, even before he got here. He wanted to be a FREC, do band, swimming. It was comforting that despite this, he had made the right choice for himself.”

Meg King, ArtSci ’14 was a floormate of Cameron’s who said he would be remembered for his outgoing personality.

“Everyone on the floor really loved him,” she said. “He was very outgoing.”

She said the floor nicknamed him the ‘token Queen’s kid’ because of his excitement for the University.

“He was so excited for his Eng Cut and was so excited to be here,” she said.

Cameron’s father said his enthusiasm applied across the board and that as an active participant of the Westport community and Staples high school, Cameron brought the same attitude to Queen’s that he brought to all parts of his life.

“He was very gregarious and very involved,” Bruce said. “He was a musician and a swimmer.”

Cameron was part of his high school band, orchestra and a jazz ensemble, playing the trumpet and violin.

“Other than [at] Queen’s he was happiest when he was at music camp,” Bruce said, adding that Cameron attended New England Music Camp in Sidney, Maine, for four years. He also played in the Youth Band for the United Nations for two years where he travelled around New York with other musicians to play at UN events.

Cameron was also part of the Norwalk Youth Symphony for five years, where he was the Assistant Principal Trumpet in 2009-10. He shared his gift of music with the Westport community, playing Taps at Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies and playing at the Field of Flags tribute at Saugatuck Congregational Church last June.

Bruce said his son was also an outstanding athlete and was a member of his high school varsity swim team during his entire high school career. He was team captain in his senior year but still managed to find time to cheer on other sports.

Dan Woog, head coach for the Staples High School boys’ soccer program, said that although Cameron didn’t play soccer, he was one of the team’s biggest fans.

“He loved the game and was friends with a lot of the players. He liked supporting the school however he could,” he said, adding that Cameron was overall an exceptional person to be around.

“Everyone at Staples High School knew him,” he said. “He was just a personality.”

Woog said Cameron had an unparalleled ability to inspire other students.

“In a school of 1,800 students he really stood out for all the right reasons,” he said. “He was swim team captain, a musician, [an] AP student, and active in all those areas. His friendly, outgoing spirit crossed the grade line.”

Woog writes a blog about the community in Westport and has received an overwhelming response to Cameron’s death.

“People he worked with at the Discovery Museum, swim teammates, [and] parents who talk about the influence Cameron had on their children have commented. Taken together it paints a broad and deep picture of a young man who had a bright future.”

Woog said Cameron was known for his commitment to his high school and willingness to participate.

“He’d volunteer for anything. His band teacher … said whenever he needed a trumpeter for a community event, Cameron was the one to do it,” Woog said.

At the Staples Scholar Athlete dinner, Cameron was asked to play the American national anthem to open the dinner.

“He loved doing it. He did it with a smile, grace, enthusiasm and he did it with talent.”

At Staples, Cameron was an AP Scholar with Distinction, a Commended 2010 National Merit Scholar, and he received the Staples Science Department Award for Outstanding Achievement in Forensics.

Cameron leaves behind his loving parents Iain and Linda Bruce, his sister Margot Bruce and his grandmother Shirley Bruce.

A funeral will be held at Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport on September 25th at 2 p.m.

Donations in Cameron’s memory may be made to the Cameron Bruce Scholarship for Trumpet at New England Music Camp, 8 Goldenrod Lane, Sidney, ME 04330, or for a grant which will be established in his memory, at Staples Tuition Grants, PO Box 5159, Westport, CT 06881-5159.

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