Roger (Cutter) Bruinsma, was born March 1963, in New Westminster, BC, and after a short but courageous battle with lung cancer, passed away peacefully at Surrey Memorial Hospital on April 23, 2020. His loving Wife, Susan, was blessed to be able to be snuggled up beside him to hear him take his last soft easy breath.
Roger and Susan were heartbroken when their only child, Ryan, passed away in March 2019. Roger is also predeceased by his Mother, Fran (Grandma “B”) in 2003 and his Father, Paul in 1984. He is survived by his loving Wife, Susan, brother-in-law, Mark McCrimmon, mother-in-law, Terry Lancia, father-in-law, Reginald (Reg) McCrimmon, his 3 older brothers, Paul (Cindy) Bruinsma, Frank Bruinsma, Dennis (Paula) Bruinsma, many nieces & nephews, great nieces & great nephews, his brother from another mother, Mike, many relatives, and friends (old and new), all of whom he loved dearly.
Roger was fun loving, funny, kind, passionate, and a hard worker. He was the most unpretentious and down to earth person you could meet. He was always telling stories or jokes and he could never get through telling them without snickering or laughing. He was always smiling or giggling to himself and he had a mischievous grin as if he were up to something! The way he would tell you a story could be either amusing, confusing, or frustrating as you tried to figure out what he was saying (“you know that thingy!”). Roger could NEVER tell a short story! He ALWAYS had such an optimistic outlook on life no matter what life threw at him (and life sure had thrown a lot at him) he always had a joke and a smile to get through it. He was “such an idiot” as Susan would always say; and THAT is why she loved him!
Roger met the love of his life, Susan, in 1986. However, it was not until 1994, and after being away for several weeks, on the other side of Canada for work, that he realized he just could not imagine living life without her. Soon after his return he proposed and what a proposal it was! Roger did not have an engagement ring yet so when he proposed he did so by using a “twist tie” ring. He proposed while Susan was on the loo (a story he loved to tell everyone!). He also loved telling everyone how he met Susan when she was about 12 and how she swam in his pool with her friend, Laura, who is also Roger’s cousin. Their first “official” introduction was in 1986, at the Port Moody Inn, while Susan and Laura were having a few drinks. He had been bowling and stopped in at the bar for a drink. He saw Laura so he came over to say “hi!”. He then said he did not have any cash on him and if they would mind “buying him a drink”. Susan bought him a few beers and they laughed and danced! How could she resist this guy! They were married in July 1995 and their Son, Ryan, was born in April 1998.
Roger was a butcher/meat cutter by trade. He started working at Super-Valu when he was just 16 and was given the opportunity soon after to learn meat cutting. He chose to learn a trade rather than graduate high school and after 2 ½ years of training he received his Certificate of Apprenticeship in June 1983. He was recruited in 1989 to work for Costco and was with them for over 30 years! He was proud to have started in the 1st meat department in Canada (in Burnaby). He then became Meat Manager and during his time as a Meat Manager he was extremely proud of being responsible for helping to open several Costco meat departments across Canada. He had fond memories of his travels for work and especially of being “screeched in” and “exploring George Street” in Newfoundland. His last position with Costco was in the Bakery Department as a bakery wrapper. He would joke that he was a butcher, a baker but never a candle stick maker (yet!). He was thankful for and loved his “Costco Family” and his “work wives”!
Roger enjoyed vacations, road trips, camping, building fires, shooting his pellet gun, climbing trees, cracking a beer, and having a smoke. He was a social person and within minutes of arriving he would be chatting with everyone nearby. He was THE “happy camper”! He enjoyed spending summers in the Okanagan relaxing on the beach by the lake. He loved to teach Ryan new things like building a campfire or how to throw and catch a baseball. Family vacations always included mini golf, go-carts, and some sort of adventure! On one of their trips to Okanagan Falls they needed to take 2 cars. Roger’s car was hit by lightning and came to a stand still, in the pouring rain, on the highway just out of Princeton. On another road trip, they were travelling on a single lane highway. Roger had tried several times to pass a Semi that was in front of them. Susan had a feeling that the pallets of dry cement the Semi was carrying were too loose and were going to fall. Roger was able to finally pass the truck and as soon as he was in front of it the truck lost the load!
Roger looked up to his older brothers and really enjoyed spending time with them. His brothers enjoyed teasing him (as siblings do!) and he never did mind being the butt of a joke as he took it all in stride! He especially loved their trips to the cabin. In the summer, it was fishing on the lake, and in the winter, it was playing hockey on the frozen lake. He loved being a goalie! He joked about all the “cookie” breaks his brothers were taking. Roger was a beer man … no cookies for him!
Roger was extremely proud of his wrestling days and the several medals he won at the BC Summer Games and tournaments at SFU. He loved to teach Ryan wrestling and Ryan was a natural like him. Roger was a little disappointed though that Ryan never wanted to take up wrestling in high school as Guildford Park was known for their wrestling program.
Roger’s first car was a red 1974 AMC Javelin and he sure loved it as much as he enjoyed telling stories about how fast it was. One of his favourite stories was about a road trip he took to the Okanagan. He had sped past a police car that was on the other side of the highway. The police car turned around and took chase. Roger was so far in front of the police car he was able to pull over and hide out of site. The police car then passed by him and he was never caught.
Roger loved playing baseball whether it was in a men’s fastball league or a beer league. He was an amazing ball player and he gave each inning his all and he “played like he was getting paid”. You always knew it was ball season from the smell of extra-strength Tiger Balm and beer. He loved to tease Susan and joke about how she ran “like a deer” when they played together in the beer league. In 1982 he coached an all girls team and he took pride seeing how much that team had improved during the season. He was nominated as their favourite coach and given an engraved mug which he cherished.
Roger had so many special memories and pictures of his vacations with Darren to the Club Med’s and Hawaii; and all the new friends they made on those trips. “BEWARE, the party animals have escaped from Martinique, watch out for your beads”.
Roger would always take a “selfie” with your camera. This was his thing long before cell phones and digital cameras were around. After getting your roll of film developed it was likely that you could find a picture of him in your photos. Nobody’s camera was safe!
Roger was a regular at his local pub (Jolly Mac’s). He would go for “just a pint” after work to catch up with “his buddies”. Susan preferred to let Roger hangout with the guys. Occasionally, she would go with him to the pub and each time he would always say “see I told you I have a wife!”. He really enjoyed playing darts and being part of the dart tournaments, each Sunday, at the pub. Susan started playing in the dart tournaments with him and he loved that she joined him. Roger never cared if he won or lost a game as he was only in competition with himself. He would always say “gotcha!” when he got that dart he was trying for.
Roger loved doing crosswords everyday! In the mornings, with his instant coffee and a smoke, or during a coffee or lunch break at work. He would try to involve anyone that was nearby for help (“what is the answer for … and how do you spell it?”). It was impressive how he managed to complete those crosswords on his own! He also loved playing Cribbage and would always be re-counting your hands and would catch the points you missed. Susan kept track of his wins and he was kicking her butt! Roger played his last game of Crib with Susan on April 22 (Ryan’s birthday). They did not get to finish that game. Of course, Roger was winning but … it would not be a “skunk”!
After Roger was diagnosed with lung cancer, in November 2019, he enjoyed and was comfortable staying at home. He was able to watch all the daytime and nighttime T.V. shows that he never had time to watch when he was working. When the news broke about COVID-19 he would watch the news channel continuously. In between watching the news, it was always “The Price is Right” at 10 a.m. and “Let’s Make a Deal” at 11 a.m. Later in the day it was The Big Bang Theory, Family Feud, M.A.S.H., Everybody Loves Raymond, The Goldberg’s, and the Comedy Channel, to name a few. Susan joked with him and would say “I guess this is what retirement would have looked like!”.
Roger was a special guy and there will NEVER be anyone else like him!! Roger was “just Roger” and will ALWAYS be Susan’s “my Roger”! He will be forever loved and missed.
A Celebration of Life for Roger (& Ryan) will be announced and held in the future due to COVID-19.
In Memory of Roger (& Ryan) please donate to Covenant House Vancouver, or the charity of your choice.