In Memoriam: Longtime Rumsonite Bruce Van Vliet, 89

Longtime Rumsonite Bruce Van Vliet, more recently of Vero Beach, FL passed away on Nov. 17. He was 89.

The younger of two boys, Bruce was born in Orange. He grew up in West Orange, attending grammar and high school at Newark Academy. He continued his education at Lehigh University as a member of the ROTC. After graduating college, he joined the U.S. Army and spent several years reconstructing airfields in Japan and Korea, retiring with the rank of lieutenant.

After the Army, Bruce branched out on his own, starting up companies with a focus on engineering. His work ranged from industrial clean rooms and soundproofing to cogeneration and industrial HVAC, and took him from the top of the World Trade Center to Puerto Rico. Bruce was also a frequent guest lecturer at the former Newark College of Engineering.

In his youth, his summers were spent at the Jersey Shore, sailing at Mantaloking Yacht Club or swimming in the ocean. He had a passion for sailing which continued throughout his entire life. Not one to sit still, he was an accomplished skier and eventually became a private pilot. Bruce was an active racquet sports player, loving to play squash, tennis and paddle tennis.

In 1977, Bruce moved to Rumson from Short Hills to be near the ocean he loved, and there he continued his passion for sailing and playing racquet sports. One fateful day, September 9, 2012, he suffered cardiac arrest while playing tennis. Thankfully, he was playing with three Marines and they knew exactly what to do until the police and EMS arrived. After three long and arduous days in the ICU, he awoke and began his road to recovery. Monmouth Medical Center called Bruce the Miracle Man, a title he gladly accepted. He was well known in the medical circles of Monmouth County for surviving this trauma to his heart. At the age of 78, not many people could have survived, but the skilled hands of his doctors gave him another 11 years of precious life.”

Bruce was a member of Navesink Country Club, Monmouth Beach Bath and Tennis Club and Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club in Vero Beach, FL. He was also a parishioner of Holy Cross Church in Rumson and in Vero Beach, FL.

Bruce was predeceased by: his parents, Virginia and Ira Merril Van Vliet; his brother, Neil Van Vliet, and his son-in-law, Jack Gerber.

He is survived by: his adoring wife, Diane, his biggest fan and advocate; his six children, Frank Semcer and Tina Gill Semcer, of Chester, Paige Semcer McCann and David McCann, of Rumson, Brian and Christine Semcer, of Summit, Suzanne and Michael Taddeo, of Syracuse, NY, Lyndsey Van Vliet of Chevy Chase, MD, and Heidi Barazza, of Melrose, MA; his grandchildren, Trey, Carly and Kiera Semcer, Olivia Anagnostis, Connor and Ryan McCann, Jake, Mackenzie and Cooper Semcer, Sarah (and Dan) Eager, Steven (and Alicia) Taddeo, Amanda, Bradford (and Lyndsey) and Clayton Gerber; and his great-grandchild, Micah Taddeo; and, of course, his best buddy, his dog Brody.

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 29, at The Church of the Nativity, 180 Ridge Road, Fair Haven, NJ.

— Edited obituary prepared by family via John E. Day Funeral Home