Bruce Benner

Bruce, you were, and are, a good friend. We were introduced to one another by Dr. Frank Ritter, a neighbor of yours and a fellow Medical Staff member of mine at St. Joe Hospital. The year was 2000, and we were paired in the same foursome at a golf event at Barton Hills. You loved golf as I did, for the game itself and for the stress relief it gave over the years. We enjoyed many such outings in the next 13 years even though you could not play it with the same skill following your stroke.
 
Early on we traced a common thread to Hinsdale, Illinois where you lived during the years you worked at the Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago, and where I had lived my last 2 years in high school and where I called home until moving to Ann Arbor in 1965 to practice at St. Joe.
 
We shared a belief in the importance of public school education, and you encouraged me to participate in the Ann Arbor Public School Foundation, a group of which you were a founding member. You introduced me into the "Dunworkin" group on Sept 10, 2001, the date indelibly etched by the infamous events of the following day. You have always been curious of mind and an avid reader, and you shared any number of titles with me on a variety of subjects.
 
Your bravery in surmounting the after-effects of a serious stroke has been a source for much admiration for you as has been the consistency of your pleasant sense of humor. Your equanimity of manner and persistence in staying engaged in current events in our nation and community have been a source of much pleasure and enjoyment with you. My very best to you, good friend. (Comments by Bob Ause, July 23, 2014)
 
Bruce, I am sitting on the deck of my cottage on beautiful Blind Lake writing some remembrances of you. I mention Blind Lake because about 50 years ago, you owned the cottage next to ours. The old timers at the lake recalled how you and your family would take a trip on the lake at precisely 5 p.m. on the days you were there. Many years have passed since you sold the cottage. About two years ago, after a Rotary meeting, you and I drove out to the lake so you could see the cottage and also note the many housing changes there. You may be interested that this spring, your cottage was remodeled and is in tiptop shape for the happy owners.
You and Hely became our neighbors in Walden Village in Ann Arbor about five years ago. We met during meetings of the association and became friends. You always gave thoughtful advice about the financial concerns of the Village.
For the last three years, I drove you and Mike Marich to and from Rotary.  We had great discussions about the Rotary program, athletics, politics and the state of the University, allowing me to get to know you better. You were always enthusiastic about Rotary. Thanks for your contributions, Bruce!  (Comments by Burt Voss, July 23, 2014)
 
 
Bruce, I will be talking about your banking career and your community involvement. You were raised in Akron, Ohio and were admitted to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire from which you graduated shortly after the end of World War II with a Phi Beta Kappa key in your pocket. You also received a MBA degree from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business.
 
Your first job post college was at General Electric Corporation in their accounting department in New York City.  It didn't take long for you to tire of commuting via subways in New York, so you moved back to the Midwest to join what eventually became the Continental Illinois Bank in Chicago, where you entered the commercial loan department.  You traveled to neighboring states, including Michigan, where you met Joe Foster, then president of the Ann Arbor Bank and father of past Rotary president, Bob Foster.  By 1969, as Joe approached retirement, you were asked to join the Ann Arbor Bank (now part of PNC Corporation) to be in charge of lending.  Upon Joe's retirement, you moved up to president and CEO until 1986, when you were elevated to chairman. You retired from the Bank in 1992 after 23 years of service.
 
During your banking days in Ann Arbor:
            you were elected to the Ann Arbor City Council during the 1970s, amid some active time among students,
            you served on the board of the Ann Arbor Community Foundation, including as president in 1982,
            you partnered with Vivian Shapiro, wife of UM president Harold Shapiro, in a successful campaign to revitalize Tappan Hall on the Michigan campus,
            you were a steadfast supporter of the Boy Scouts and were awarded the prestigious Dilver Beaver Award for your work there in 1990,
            and, you were a founding director of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation in the early 1990s.
 
Most importantly, you and your late wife, Ann, raised two exemplary children. Joan, a family physician and mother of two girls, practices medicine in Minneapolis; Doug, an executive vice president of TCF Bank, is the father of a boy and a girl, both in the Minneapolis area.
 
Bruce: Burt, Bob, and I have enjoyed participating in this award ceremony today, which recognizes your 44 years in rotary and awards you Emeritus status in our Club. (Remarks by Doug Freeth, July 23, 2014)