Bruce Garland, 76

Bruce P. Garland, 76, of Suttons Bay, passed away Sunday, April 10, 2011 at his home.

Bruce was born Dec. 24, 1934 in Dowagiac the son of William P. and Doris Irene (Pray) Garland. On Sept. 3, 1960 in Rives Junction he married his loving wife of 50 years, Darlene Louise (Fullerton) Garland, who survives.

As a young man Bruce served his nation in the U.S. Army stationed at Okinawa, Japan during the end of the Korean War. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Western Michigan University.

Bruce’s service to his community and to teaching was lifelong. He started his four-decade long teaching career at Morenci and Centreville School Systems, also serving as principal and coach. 

He left an indelible mark on Suttons Bay Public Schools. Bruce coached numerous athletic teams, was a teacher, athletic director and principal to generations of Suttons Bay alumni. He and Darlene also welcomed numerous exchange students through the years into their home and Suttons Bay Schools.

Bruce was a member of the Suttons Bay Congregational Church. He served his church as a deacon, and on the board of trustees. Bruce was also passionate about his community, evidenced by his membership in Suttons Bay Conservation League (also serving as its education director), Cedar Rod and Gun Club, Trout Unlimited, and the Elks Lodge (life member). During his summers, he served and protected Leelanau County for 36 years as a Marine Patrol Officer.

Bruce was a man of service, to his faith, family, nation, community and school.

Bruce is survived by his wife, Darlene; two children, Amy (Thomas) Drake and Eric (Precia) Garland; three grandchildren, Zachary, Darby and Amelia.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Sandra Irene and William P. Garland Jr.; a grandchild, Isaac.

Visitation will be held on Friday, April 15, from 4-8 p.m. at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay. The funeral service will be Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m. at the Suttons Bay High School Gymnasium. Burial will be held at a later date at the Riverside Cemetery in Dowagiac.

Memorials may be directed to Suttons Bay Public Schools, c/o Athletic Dept, 310 Elm St., Suttons Bay, MI, 49682 and/or Munson Hospice, 1105 Sixth St., Traverse City, MI, 49684.

Please share thoughts and memories with Bruce’s family on their online guestbook at

Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.

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