Bruce H. McInnis, a eulogy:
I would like to say a few things about my dad. Dad was a man that set the standard by which others would follow. He was fair, compassionate, determined, kind, deliberate and honest. He was a man of meaningful words. A man of honor. He would unquestioningly give of himself for his family, friends, and country. He was a father, family man, an elite mechanic of all things automotive, a patriot, a fisherman, and a best friend. He was an inspiration for others. He lived the example.
If things got difficult, that was when he shined. He looked forward to the tough conditions, to separate the men from the boys, the blowhards from the diehards. In fishing, he would look forward to 95-degree heat, hard rains, or whatever tough condition mother nature would toss their way, knowing not everyone could handle the conditions. But this 66 year old was right out there even when the youngest stayed home. He was a tough competitor. In business during the 80s when Toyota was dumping cheap cars on the market, my dad didn't run to congress for help. He said, "the day an American company cannot survive serving American cars, is the day we close the shop." The very next day, he stopped all work on the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, and Delorians in the shop and put up a big sign with the American flag in the background which proudly stated: "McInnis Automotive, the home of the AMERICAN muscle car." And sure enough, business boomed. He had the midas touch, earned through years of hard work and persistence. If he saw something he wanted, he would put his heart and soul into achieving it, whatever it takes.
He did this ever since he was a kid and saw a beautiful lady walking down the street in Lexington. Meeting her in a local soda-fountain shop, and hearing her talk, he asked if she was from Paris because he could barely understand what she was saying. But he stuck with it, later confessing that he could not understand what she was saying for the first few months. After 2 years he won that heart of gold and kept it safe for 42 years. They were a team, my mom and dad, setting goals, building a successful business, not once, but twice. Raising a loving, kindhearted family and setting an example for our lives today. Not everything was all doves and butterflies; there were problems, like any real marriage. But these two would strive on adversity and pulled together to make everything work out for the best. Even when my dad suffered a back injury, they pulled together and moved to Florida to enjoy life to its fullest. Bass boats, hawks, manatees, and eagles. They loved it all. Quickly, his integrity and good nature allowed them to help make a difference and feel at home in a small town.
When I was 12 years old, and not doing well in school, I had told my dad that I wanted to go to work with him, as work was more important. He thought for a minute, and said that my job for the day was to sit and watch the men build the rock wall in the driveway and at the end of the day, he would ask me some questions. I agreed and sat watching the guys work on the wall. The work was back-breaking, hot, and occasionally full of colorful words. Around 4pm, just before the guys stopped for the day, my dad came home. He asked what I had learned. I proceeded to describe how the rocks seemed to be stacked, which rocks went where, and how to determine the proper height of the wall. He listened intently and pointed out a rock and asked where I would put it. It was a pretty good size rock and I chose a proper spot. He told me to put it there, and I hopped up and tried to wrestle the rock into place. It was heavy and it took me a few minutes. I was hot but happy with my result as I came back to my dad. He then scribbled on a sheet of paper, handed it to me, and asked me to do it. I looked down and it said "2 + 2 ="… I quickly scribbled 4 and handed it back. At which point he said, "Now which would you rather do?" I was stunned and it all became quite clear in that moment.
My Dad was a zen master, who knew?! Years later, as I watched a group of workers building a wall in the 100-degree heat, I called my dad from my office in Washington DC and told him thanks for everything.
In 2004 my dad became a grandfather with the birth of Joseph Tucker Smith. This was the first time I had seen him with a baby. I was amazed. Here was the tough task master, the tough as nails business man, playing goo-goo with a baby. Again I was stunned. His face would light right up when Joey was brought into the room. But this wasn't the first time I had seen the softer side of my dad. One of the more memorable moments was during my sisters wedding, as he gave her away, she turned, kissed him on the cheek and handed him a red shop rag, saying thanks for everything he had done. He stared at it, choked right up and the tears started rolling down his cheeks as he stepped back next to my mom.
He was a big softie, we love him and will miss him dearly.
Bruce H. McInnis, age 66, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 25, 2005, at home with his family. Bruce is survived by his wife, Mary McInnis, son, Robert McInnis of Clearwater Florida, daughter, April McInnis Smith of Dunnellon Florida, son-in-law and fishing buddy, Robert Smith, granddaughter, Samantha Smith, and grandson, Joseph Tucker Smith.
After years of drag racing, Bruce and Mary opened McInnis Automotive of Massachusetts in January 1970. Hundreds of awards and trophies followed, as the original 'Iceman' of drag racing made his mark. Bruce and Mary retired in 1989 and moved to Dunnellon, Florida in 1990. Since then, he has been able to enjoy his life's passion of bass fishing and family. Bruce was formerly President of Dunnellon Bass Masters. He was a past Commander of the Dunnellon VFW Post #7991. He is a U.S. Navy Veteran, service in the Vietnam War era. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge F & AM in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bruce has gone fishin'.