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Bruce Leaman

"I’ve known Bruce since we moved here when I was four years old and he was 10.

He looked like Father Time with that beard of his, we used to tease him about that. He really influenced all of us. I have so many memories: sitting on the patio at his parents’ house in the middle of the night or sleeping in tents in the back yard back in the 60s and early 70s.

He made pottery – I think he took some pottery classes at Delta College – and I remember going with him to a couple of small towns up north where he’d sell his pottery on occasion.

Bruce touched the life of every child who came to my house … all the kids just loved him. They were drawn to him. He was one of those kinds of people, you know? When Katrina and I made the decision to start this Major Chords for Minors, the first person I thought of to help was Bruce since we would be working with children.
In nine years, he served probably 1,200 kids and their families. That's another thing – parents just, you know, loved him almost as much as the kids.

Bruce was just so smart. He was one of the smartest people I’ve known in my life.

Mostly, he was a beautiful human being. I never heard him say a bad thing about anybody. He was a soft soul … he had a soft touch.

He was a coffee guy – right up until the end. He just loved going down to the Red Eye and drinking coffee … because he was a night owl. It wasn’t until seven o'clock at night that he’d start going out anywhere.He was a very impressive dude, man. Just the greatest. He touched all of our lives.

The City of Saginaw awarded him a citizenship award a few months ago for his outstanding work in this community – under the radar work. Bruce definitely was not one of those pianists to step out on the stage at any time. He liked to be behind the scenes. He got to help those kids develop the talents that God gave them. It was pretty cool and I got a front-row seat to it.

How perfect is that? I went from four years old – getting to watch my buddy get this award, one of my best friends in the world, my neighbor. He was there for me almost my whole life.

Man, we had some laughs. I’m still laughing with him."

- John Vowell, Founder, President, and CEO of Major Chords For Minors