Bruce Vendeville was the kind of person you wish one day you could grow wise enough, kind enough, joyful with your life enough to be like him.
He was born in New Jersey but moved with his family to Banning when he was only 4 years-old.
He and his sister grew up in the Banning and Beaumont school system, and his giving spirit became a fixed point in our local community.
At the age of 19 he met the woman who was to become his only love and wife of 52 years.
He joined the National Guard during the Vietnam War and served his nation and his home for six years.
He rarely mentioned this accomplishment, as he was a quiet man who did not brag, but, if you asked, he would tell you his stories of participating in historical events such as patrolling the streets of Los Angeles during the Watts Riots.
Bruce and his wife had two children and built a life in this community.
He was deeply passionate about his faith and, even through his last days he vocally trusted in the Lord, ministered to his nursing team and continued to show and share the word of God.
Known as “Happy” by the chapter of The Black Sheep motorcycle club for which he was chaplain, Bruce was a man of strength and goodwill, and someone you could rely upon.
He also served his community and his God with over 20 years as associate minister at Oak Valley Family Church in Calimesa, on top of 36 years as a local postman where he chose exclusively to take the walking routes all around town.
He loved working where he could help people and would place himself where he felt that he was doing God’s work in the lives of his community.
He also loved being active, participating in all the sports that come with a love of being in nature.
He and his son had been members of the local archery team and he often took his family on camping trips and vacations throughout California and around the nation. Yet, even with those grand adventures he still loved the quiet simplicity of a cup of coffee on his own back porch, surrounded by his family best of all.
Bruce had an uncanny understanding of people and what they needed.
His approach to everyone he met was with a smile, a chuckle, a friendly handshake — followed by exactly what you needed to hear.
He was always happy to see you, always genuine in his asking how you were doing and loved listening as you answered.
He was a loving son, husband and brother, a dear friend and father, grandfather, pastor, chaplain and a great, gentle oak of our community.
He is survived by his wife Charlene, his sister Joyce, his son Craig, his daughter Julie, their children, and the communities of Oak Valley Family Church, the local chapter of The Black Sheep and so many others.
He is dearly missed, but his family rejoices in knowing he is with his Lord in Heaven.