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William Bruce Gist, Jr.

Obituary for William Bruce Gist, Jr.

April 16, 2019
Lynnfield, Massachusetts


William Bruce Gist, Jr. of Lynnfield, passed away on April 16, 2019 at the age of 96 due to the progression of Alzheimer's. Born in Tela, Honduras, son of the late William Bruce Gist, Sr. and the late Evelyn Thomas Gist, both originally from Greenwood, Mississippi. Husband of the late Anne Hahn Gist from Lehighton, PA. Father of Marilyn Gist (Paul Morro) of Raleigh, NC, William B. Gist III (Cynthia) of Chelmsford, Susan Gist-Miller (Saul Miller) of Dunstable, Patricia Bleau (Thomas) of Simi Valley, CA, and Georgia Thibodeau (Andre) of Mendon. He is survived by 14 grandchildren (Erica Coleman, Brian Coleman, Scott Coleman, Rob Coleman, Kimberly Gist, Jessica Volk, Lily Gist, Haley Miller, Ryan Bleau, Jason Bleau, Arianna Bleau, Angelique Bleau, Carly Thibodeau, Rachel Thibodeau), 6 great grandchildren (Reid Coleman, Paige Coleman, Avery Coleman, Grace McCreanor, Jacob Volk, Ethan Volk), and half-sisters Joanna O'Rourke and Gwendolyn Sarsfield. He is predeceased by his brother Clarence Gist, half-brother Will Gist, and half-sister Helen Tselikidis.

Attending MIT on scholarship as a member of the class of 1945 and Delta Tau Fraternity, he studied mechanical and aeronautical engineering. During the war the Army sent him to URI and UNH to study bridge building, and he graduated in 1947 with a BS from both MIT and UNH in electrical and mechanical engineering. Bruce served our country during World War 2 in the US Army Corps of Engineers, designing bridges to be put up and taken down in hours in Europe.

He and his wife of 65 years, Anne, lived in Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey before settling in Lynnfield, MA for 57 years. He was a dedicated husband and father to his family. While in NJ, Bruce co-designed the first successful hovercraft for the military. He worked for General Electric in Lynn, MA for 26 years in the Aircraft Engine Group. He was responsible for the development of the variable cycle gas turbine engine that was used on aircraft that enabled the growth of commercial aviation in the world. The 737 CFM56 engine he helped design is still in use on over 8,000 commercial aircraft.

Bruce was a life-long Boy Scout, earning his Eagle Scout in Mississippi and serving in many positions in Boy Scouts, from troop leader to North Bay Council Commissioner and culminating in the presentation of the Silver Beaver award. He was also a dedicated member of Centre Congregational Church of Lynnfield, MA serving in many roles including Deacon, Financial Secretary, Videographer and Producer of Cable broadcasts for church services and served on many committees including the Parish Council. He was an active member of the Lynnfield Art Guild. In his spare time, he was an enthusiast in telescope making, astronomy, archery and bow making, photography, film developing, enlarging and printing, woodworking and furniture making, camping, vegetable gardening, and sailing. He was a competitive racer of his Day Sailer and served as the Commodore of Quannapowitt Yacht Club in Wakefield, MA in 1988.

In the last 18 months, he has been in the loving care of Blaire House of Milford. He left behind a rich legacy and the love and admiration of his family and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Alzheimer's research.

Visitation for relatives and friends at the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield on Friday, April 26 from 5-8pm. Funeral Service in the Centre Congregational Church, 5 Summer St., Lynnfield on Saturday, April 27 at 10am. Interment, Forest Hill Cemetery, Forest Hill Ave, Lynnfield.

Arrangements By

McDonald Funeral Home

19 Yale Avenue
Wakefield, MA 01880
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