Bruce Bluedorn, 69

Jan. 9, 1948 - Nov. 12, 2017
Bruce Bluedorn, Jan. 9, 1948 - Nov. 12, 2017

Bruce Bluedorn — “a deeply caring, intelligent, and thoughtful person,” his sons, Alex and Scott Bluedorn of East Hampton, said — died on Nov. 12 at home on Cooper Lane in East Hampton, following a stroke. 

Mr. Bluedorn, his sons said, “touched many lives and leaves many friends and family members with memories of kindness, generosity, and warmth.” 

He was born on Jan. 9, 1948, in Wheaton, Ill., to Victor Bluedorn and the former Elizabeth Garlock. He grew up there, developing an interest in electronics and engineering. He built his own computer prototype for a science fair while in high school, and was president of his graduating class. 

He attended Yale University in the late 1960s, earning a bachelor’s degree in American history. 

A lover of photography, magazine publishing, carpentry, and construction, Mr. Bluedorn forged a career that married many of these passions. In 1967, he and Garry Trudeau, a suitemate from Yale who would gain fame as the “Doonesbury” cartoonist, launched VISA, a political magazine, in Washington, D.C.

This experience in graphic design and production led Mr. Bluedorn to varied gigs as an art photographer in New York City in the 1970s, where he documented artists’ work for galleries while also producing a portfolio of compositionally abstract images of gritty cityscapes and architectural elements with striking light play. He also worked as a guidance counselor at that time, at a high school in the Bronx. 

The 1980s brought Mr. Bluedorn to the South Fork, where he worked in construction and home renovation. While working on a large house in East Hampton, he met Anne Theodore, whom he would marry in the summer of 1982. Their twin sons were born in 1986. 

The family lived in East Hampton Village, where Mr. Bluedorn and his wife were caretakers for the estates of celebrities, musicians, and artists. Ms. Bluedorn died in 2006.

He was a longtime, dedicated member of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, where he became a deacon and then an elder. He helped the church negotiate a contract for an AT&T cellular phone antenna in the steeple, and later helped it navigate an extensive renovation. He was also a member of the pastor-nominating committee.

In retirement, Mr. Bluedorn became a prolific writer of poetry and continued to pursue his hobby of photography. He also continued to serve as a knowledgeable consultant for past employers and the church. 

A memorial service will be held on Sunday at noon at the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Scot McCachren officiating. A reception will follow. 

In addition to his sons, a sister, Karen Eilers of Arizona and Kansas City, Mo., also survives. 

The family has suggested memorial contributions to the Anne and Bruce Bluedorn Memorial Fund, care of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, 120 Main Street, East Hampton 11937.