CUMBERLAND FORESIDE — Bruce Lindley Churchill, 57, died July 30 with his family surrounding him.
He was born a preemie on Aug. 31, 1954 to Virginia L. and Bruce W. Churchill in Kalamazoo, Mich. Churchill had many interests and could have gone into any field when he graduated at the top of his class from Comstock High School. He chose medicine and became dedicated to that goal.
In 1976, Churchill received his bachelor’s in microbiology from Michigan State University. He then graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1980. It was at Michigan State that he met his future wife, Cindy, in a humanities class. They were married in June 1978 at The Church of Jesus Christ in Detroit and spent 37 years together.
After medical school, when Churchill had to choose a location for his residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he was drawn to the program and people at Maine Medical Center. The couple thought that living in Maine would only be a four-year adventure, but they ended up making their lives in Maine.
They had three daughters Cristina, Tessa and Leah, who were each very precious to Churchill. Despite the fact that he had an extremely taxing work schedule, the family had dinner together almost every night. Churchill was dedicated to spending special time with each girl and attended every sporting event and performance. He passionately pursued his many interests, and instilled enthusiasm and joy in his daughters. Whether leading the family on outdoor hikes, doing crossword puzzles, story telling, playing card games, music or singing, every activity was more fun because he was involved.
Over thirty years in practice he delivered about 6,000 babies. He was a good listener and a good talker. He made each of his patients feel special because he felt each patient was special. Churchill was a very active member of his church, always prayed before difficult procedures, and was an example of how to be caring. He generously shared time with friends and was at his happiest when entertaining or accepting an invitation. Even when he was completely exhausted from being up all night he was determined to come home and participate in whatever had been planned.
Churchill was a gardener, an excellent trumpet player and a natural athlete. He enjoyed playing and watching sports. He was a gifted teacher and loved watching others learn. This was evident at the hospital when he worked with OB/GYN residents, at home when he worked with his daughters, and at Greely High School when he became assistant coach for the girls volleyball team. In 11 years of coaching, the girls won eight state championships.
Coaching volleyball made him extremely happy. It combined his love of sports with his love of teaching. When he was diagnosed with ALS in 2007, the players and parents rallied around him. He continued to coach for the next four years and made every practice and game he could, including the state championship in the fall of 2011.
Churchill was predeceased by his parents and by his cousin Robert Churchill.
Churchill is survived by his wife, Cindy; daughters Cristina, Tessa, and Leah; sisters Connie Hagman, Carolyn Fehsenfeld, and Polly Churchill; his cousin, Roberta Churchill; mother-in-law Vanna Ignagni; brothers and sisters-in- law, Patrizia and Frank Machnik, Joseph and Darlene Ignagni, and Claudia Ignagni; eight nieces and nephews, Alan, Ben and Dana Fehsenfeld, Jennifer Copland, Rebecca Ouding, Jason and Justin Machnik, and Chelsea Ignagni.
A visitation will be held at Coastal Women’s Healthcare, 71 Route 1, Scarborough, on Friday, Aug. 24, from 3-5 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, at Hannaford Lecture Hall at the University of Southern Maine.
Assistance provided by A.T. Hutchins, LLC, 660 Brighton Ave in Portland.
Memorial donations can be made to The ALS Association of Northern New England at webnne.alsa.org/goto/WelovedBruce or The Coach Bruce Churchill Volleyball Scholarship, c/o Greely High School, Cumberland, ME 04021.