Bruce Edwin Bockstiegel aka Marsh left his earthly body on Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 23, 2023, surrounded by the love of friends and family.
Bruce was born in New Haven, Michigan Sept. 24, 1955, to Edwin and Dorothy Bockstiegel. He was the second child joining his brother Bob who was a couple years older and a good friend and musical partner throughout his life. A few years later his sisters Carol, Cathy and Karen were born.
Bruce grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where his father served as a minister for the Presbyterian church. He had a large group of friends and was active in the church youth group. He learned to play piano, guitar and bass guitar.
During his teen years, the family was transferred to a church in Montclair, New Jersey where the kids created a large group of lifelong friends. Bruce graduated from Montclair High School in 1973. Ted Dutcher, the Engle brothers, Bob and Bruce played bluegrass and folk-rock music together as much as possible. They camped out at Bluegrass festivals throughout the east. During this time, he met Mary Wertz, a friend of Bruce’s younger sister Carol. After a trip together out west, they moved in with Mary’s family and had their daughter Katy Oct. 27, 1976, and married Dec. 26, 1976.
Before Katy was a year old, Bruce and Mary moved to the West Coast, first landing in Santa Rosa, Calif, where Ted and other friends had moved. As soon as he made enough money to buy a station wagon, they started traveling and landed on a beach north of Santa Cruz, where they camped with a community of people living in vehicles. Bruce found musicians to play with there. The group dubbed “The Scotts Creek Geeks” went through a six-month court trial after all were arrested and homes impounded for being vagrants. They won the trial and left Santa Cruz…now they were traveling with a teardrop camper behind the station wagon and were pregnant with their second child.
After stops at a Dead concert in Eugene and a rainbow gathering outside of Roseburg, they picked up hitchhikers going to Cave Junction. Late at night, they pulled into Hogues Meadow. The station wagon would not start the next day, so they walked down a dirt road. Before long they saw a group of people next to a glistening green river. A midwife, Rose introduced herself and told them about the Takilma Peoples Clinic where Cory was born a month later.
Bruce and Mary went separate ways and during a trip back to his hometown in Montclair, Bruce connected with Evalynne Clair Marsh, who had a child Melissa who was the same age as Cory. The two started living together and fell in love. In the early 1980s they traveled to Takilma and lived at Dread Michaels house until they were able to buy the Barn property with the infamous bathhouse well used by the community to get clean.
Eve, a nurse, worked in Medford, while Bruce took care of the children in Takilma. Bruce was a passionate defender of Mother Earth and took the children to many logging protests and composed music about saving the trees. He was a social justice advocate and a feminist who took his wife’s last name. He made a CD called Siskiyou, under the name Bruce Marsh. His love of the natural world took him and his family on many long road trips – always off the beaten path as they camped throughout the United States and even to Baja, Mexico and Canada.
Bruce and Eve married in August of 1989 and had a son, Nolan who was born at home with community midwives on August 13, 1990. The Barn was a hub of activity in the community, especially in summers when friends from the East Coast and California would come out. Music was played around campfires late into the night and days were filled with rafting, trips to the redwoods and ocean, swimming holes, blackberry picking and enjoying Eves amazing cooking. Many a lost soul was welcomed into the family at the barn. Eve and Bruce loved and cared for many children in the community. Since her job was in Medford, Eve and Bruce procured a house there and the extended family grew to include Melissa’s husband Kristopher Kane and their children Kolton and Kaleb.
Bruce worked as a driver for Laidlaw, Harry and Davids and Medical Transportation companies. He was an avid sports fan and enjoyed cheering on the local little league and high school athletes as well as playing frisbee golf with Nolan and Cory.
After the kids grew up, Bruce and Eve enjoyed traveling – especially to the high desert in Eastern Oregon and the Oregon Coast. It was on one of these trips in June of 2015 that Eve died in her sleep with Bruce by her side. Bereft and lonely, Bruce threw himself into helping others and was there for his mother, father, and brother Bob as they made their transitions.
He spent seasons in Anchorage, Ala. with his daughter Katy. The two went on many adventures together throughout Alaska as well as the southwestern United States. Bruce also enjoyed going to Dances of Universal Peace Retreats where he would both play instruments and dance. At an open mike, he met and fell in love with Katherine Smith of Murphy Oregon. In the last six months of his life, the two spent time camping and hiking and playing music together.
In addition to his mother, father, brother and wife, Bruce was predeceased by a son-in-law, Kristopher Kane and grandson, Kaleb Kane.
He leaves behind two daughters Katherine Bockstiegel of Fort Defiance Ariz. and Melissa Marsh and husband John Campbell of Medford, Ore.; two sons Cory Bockstiegel of Takilma, Ore. and Nolan Bockstiegel and his wife Elena of Eugene, Ore. His grandchildren include Kolton and Serenity Kane and their kids Opal and Malachi, as well as many extended family and friends.