Author: Ian MacDonald
We at C.R.A.S.H. were deeply saddened with the passing of Bruce Markielewski on September 27, 2005. Bruce suffered a heart attack in his sleep. Bruce is survived by his father Ed, brothers Barry & Brian and sister Julie.
A memorial was held for Bruce on Wednesday October 5th at 6PM at Horan & McConaty Funeral Home in Aurora. Kathleen Williams gave the Eulogy. There were many tears and smiles while she spoke. You can read the text below.
Those who were fortunate enough to know Bruce can testify he was one of the most giving people you could ever meet. His accomplishments in rocketry competition are legendary, but his legacy is in all the flyers he helped. C.R.A.S.H. led by Bruce has introduced countless new participants to the sport of model rocketry. Fellow competitors however will remember Bruce more for how much he helped than the many times he won.Colorado Model Rocketry Championships XV has been renamed in memory of Bruce Markielewski.
Bruce Markielewski CMRC XV is scheduled for November 5th and 6th, 2005 at our Bear Creek Lake Park launch site. The contest will be a NAR Sanctioned Regional event.
The contest will start at 10:00 AM each day. Duration events can be flown either day. Altitude events will be flown as the availability of tracking personnel permits. The entry fee is $5.00 for C and Team Divisions and free for A and B divisions. All NAR www.nar.org/pinkbook/index.html “pink book” rules apply. Payloads and eggs will be provided. More details can be found under the Announcements link of the C.R.A.S.H. webpage
The events selected are:
1/8A Boost Glider Duration 19
1/8A Flexi-wing Duration 19
C Eggloft Duration 16
B Payload Altitude 15
1/2A Parachute Duration 7
Parachute Spot Landing 4
In Memory of A Friend & Fellow Rocketeer
Author: Kathleen Williams
Family, Friends & Rocketeers,
I’ve been asked to say a few words about Bruce Markielewski. We are all here to celebrate his life and what he meant to each of us. Perhaps, there are a few things that I can share that not many may know about Bruce.
His life began when he arrived on January 29, 1956 and it was difficult. He came into this world weighing a mere 3 pounds __ ounces. Quickly he lost weight down to 2 pounds 9 ounces. At the time the doctors wouldn’t tell his parents Edward and Esther whether or not they could be sure he would survive. He stayed in the hospital for several months until his weight reached 5 pounds. In April of 1956, he was allowed to go home with his parents, where they continued to nurture, love and care for him. Bruce was always quiet but he enjoyed taking things apart and seeing how they worked. This interest carried him through his childhood where he began to build and fly rockets.
By the time he finished High School, he decided to go to the Colorado School of Mines. After one year, he decided that wasn’t where he wanted to be, so he transferred to Minnesota Engineering & Technology University where he completed his studies with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He had a job working for a shipyard as an engineer and again searched to find his place. As his first year there ended he got an offer from Martin Marietta to come out to Colorado to work for them. He eagerly accepted their offer and moved to Lakewood, Colorado in the 1980’s. He worked hard and progressed within the company and remained after the merger when it became Lockeed/Martin.
In 1985, he started to make friends with other people who had once built rocket models in their youth and helped to form the Colorado Rocketry Association of Space Hobbyists. While it’s acronym is C.R.A.S.H., Bruce often commented on that wasn’t their goal. But as we know even NASA has anomalies. Many of you have posted wonderful notes and written memories of Bruce as you shared in his love of model rocketry. I feel privileged to have known him and shared in his love of rocketry as well.
I’m still reeling from the shock and dealing with the tragic loss of a great friend, and mentor; I feel compelled to write down my memories of Bruce Markielewski. I recall nearly 10 years ago leaving for a funeral in Utah for my Great Aunt, my last words to Todd before attending the December meeting for C.R.A.S.H. “Don’t become Club President or anything like that!” Two days later, Todd and our three children met me on the DIA breezeway. “It’s not my fault!” exclaimed Todd. He explained, there was a crossword puzzle at the rocketry meeting regarding various rocketry facts. Todd got the most correct and Bruce immediately announced that the person with the most correct, was now the new C.R.A.S.H. Club President!!! While I wasn’t thrilled with the news, I did verify Todd’s story with Bruce, and while it was somewhat of a joke at first the idea grew on Bruce and since Todd took it to heart that’s how it was.
I don’t know that I ever attended any C.R.A.S.H. launches before that and I know Bruce seemed apprehensive at our first meeting. As time went on, I learned that Bruce was very shy around women. He wasn’t sure how to talk to them. While most of you remember Bruce coming up and introducing himself to you, I can attest to the fact that he was nervous and unsure how to deal with me. It may have been due to the circumstances, but we quickly became close friends and he taught me a lot about rockets and competition. He was definitely the driving force behind me getting so involved with club outreach. Bruce knew a lot of information and together we learned to get that information out to those who were eager to learn and hear about our hobby.
Bruce was like another brother to me. He was always willing to listen and would give encouragement and a good comical “jab” when I needed it. He was caring and kind too. Our family felt and reaped from his generosity. We shared a few trips to NARAMs through the years and he learned to take some time to see some of the sites along the way.
For a long time, I was one of the few female competitors in C.R.A.S.H. and considering I knew nothing about rockets of any kind really when we moved to Colorado from Utah, Bruce made competing fun and enjoyable for me as well as many of our family members. I know Todd and Bruce learned from each other, but as Bruce’s records show, he pushed and reached to set high standards for competition. When NARAM 2000 came our way, his expertise as treasurer made things possible. He took on the daunting task of making sure that records were accurate and each organization (C.R.A.S.H. COSROCS, Tripoli Colorado and the NAR) got their share of one of the few profitable NARAMs held.
Like many of you, condensing memories into short thoughts for others to read and share is difficult. But, Bruce deserves the memories be kept alive and they will in each of us who knew him and share this hobby. Bruce, may you be blessed for the joy and knowledge you brought and shared to so many in such a short time!Memories of Bruce
Soon after the initial announcements on CRASH talk the condolences and memories started pouring in. Here are some of them.
I remember my first trip out to Bear Creek in March of ’01. Bruce (as I am
sure it was with many of us) was the first person to approach me and
introduce himself. Its always alittle uncomfortable going to unfamiliar
social gatherings and Bruce was very good at helping the newbie fit right
in. I can remember Bruce, and our esteemed colleague Mr. Hanson, helping me
for my Lvl 1 flight, which went off with out a hitch. In fact almost all of
my memories out at Bear Creek involve our friend Bruce, from an all
afternoon search for a “D” powered heliroc that drifted off into the wild
blue to good post launch dinners just sitting around talking rockets. My
sincere condolences go out to Bruce’s family and to all my friends at
C.R.A.S.H., and may God watch over you all.
Upon hearing this sad news, Mark Twain’s famous quote immediately came
to mind: “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been
hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.”
Bruce has introduced model rocketry to more Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,
elementary schools, and countless others than any hundred of us who
claim rocketry as a passion. I’d say Bruce in sharing his love for model
rocketry succeeded in meeting Mr. Twain’s objectives; in spite of his
time with us being cut far too short.
So long Bruce and thanks for all the launches.
Bruce was always one of the nicest club members, and was the first to welcome me when I first found out about CRASH a little over 1 year ago. He came up to me as soon as I arrived, even though I didn’t have any rockets with me that first time (I had come only to observe), and welcomed me to CRASH. He was extremely helpful in every way he could be, and was a defining member of our club. Bruce was a great rocketeer, and an even better friend. He introduced more people to rocketry, and helped the club prosper more than the rest of us combined, and he can never truly be replaced. Rest in peace, Bruce.
I am shocked as I’m sure a great number of CRASH members are as well. When
I moved to Colorado back in 82′ I met Bruce for the first time. I can
remember a number of build sessions at his home in the basement; a dusty
critter with lots of history…probably like many of our basements/work
areas. I can’t really remember what we were building together, but I can
remember running out of sandpaper. Bruce came to the rescue and offered a
whole pack. This was just Bruce…he’d give you his left arm.
I can remember a lot of “late night sessions” with Bruce and others at
Narams, LDRS, local meets…Bruce always had something important to add.
He was always a worthy listen.
I can remember just “stopping by” his home to see what he was up to and to
wish him luck at whatever contest he was heading out to. He was always
I can remember one afternoon, probably in 90′ or so, talking to him about
how Denver had really “taken off”. I meantioned LoDo and a few restaurants
that had recently opened (this all before Coors Field and the growth that
has since transpired in that area). Bruce asked me “where is LoDo?” I
laughed at first, but his sincerity was at the heart of what Bruce was all
about…sincere. I told him and we both chuckled. “Ok, so that is where
Lodo is” he said.
Later, he really became involved in competition and he was fun to compete
against. He and I always sparred and it was good cause it made us better I
think. And that is what I loved most about him; his ability to shoot and
take a shot. I can remember one contest where he said “hey, nice glide,
but it flew away…should have put a dt on it!” I said “yep, better plan on
having your next flight fly away, because your first was only 30 seconds”.
His next flight flew away.
Today, I was not myself and I thought about the times we shared throughout.
Even had to take a drive. And drove out to one of the first places he and
I flew at. Which is hardly distinguishable from what it was. And though
time ticks on and I realize this is the process; disbelief, grief then
acceptance…it is always hard. It will always be hard to accept when a
friend is gone. But the memories will last forever.
I cannot believe what I am reading! I hope I wake up and stop dreaming this nightmare. I am truly stunned! I met Bruce over 9 years ago at the Bear Creek Lake park site. Like all who have met him he was instantly a friend with me and quick with information but never pushy or opinionated. I will miss him very very much. He was as much as anyone, the heart of CRASH! My sincere condolences to all. This is a MAJOR loss.
Two poignant quotes come to mind from this passing.
“When a person dies, a library is lost”
“When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced! Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice!”
As many of you know, The Rocketry EGGsploration Challenge held its first event this year last July. When Ed and I began looking into creating TREC, we came across Bruce and his relationship with CRASH. Bruce was integral in helping craft TREC and helping us make contacts in the local rocketry community. He always was there to help us when we needed it and always did so without issue.
As Ed and I are in the process of making TREC part of a larger space/science non-profit foundation, Bruce’s assistance and input will carry on into all our future endeavors.
On behalf of myself and Ed Ludka, I would like to send our deepest condolences to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
Bruce will certainly be missed. I’ll remember him as a friend who was also great wealth of knowledge about rocketry – especially rocketry competition. Although several members contributed to the running of the club I can’t think of anyone who has been consistently there as much as Bruce. I’m named as the editor of the newsletter but Bruce was behind the scenes making it possible for me to add the newsletter to the web page. Bruce hauled the trailer to the launches and served in every function required to make the launch possible.
I’ve learned a lot from Bruce (I know it doesn’t show when I compete!) Bruce holds several national and club records and has consistently placed at or near the top of the national championship points. CRASH was named 2005 NAR section of the year which we can be all proud of, but if there was a “captain of the team” leading us to that award it would have been Bruce.
He will be missed, but part of Bruce will live on as long as we keep his memory alive.
My sincere condolences to Bruce’s family and friends.
This had been rather difficult to understand or accept for that matter. After the initial shock of reading the emails, I had to lie down. After sleeping about an hour, I awoke thinking it was all a dream. Sadly, as I checked the emails again, I realized it wasn’t. I first met Bruce in 1992 and I can still remember that day like it was yesterday. Prior to Bear Creek we would launch at a site off East Lincoln Ave near Parker. He had an old Toyota hatchback with all the launch gear crammed in the back. To this day, I still wonder how he managed to get it all in there.
I also met Kevin around this time. I like to think that in terms of competition, what I learned from Bruce and Kevin was invaluable. With Kevin it was design and strategy with respect to competition. With Bruce, it was the entire spectrum of competition. It didn’t matter what it was, he always made himself available to help you if needed. On numerous occasions I remember calling or be called by Bruce on a Friday night: “Hey Ed, are you ready for the contest?” “It is tomorrow you know” Of course, I always made it sound like I had less to build for than I actually did. Then he would say: “Well, I’m not ready either, if that makes you feel any better” Looking back it seems to me that HE always made it sound like he had more to build than he actually did.
In the late 90’s Bruce called me to ask if I could be used as a background reference for him which I guess was a requirement from his employer LockheedMartin. I remember answering several questions, but the one that stands out is the guy asking, “What do you think of Bruce as a person? I remember answering simply that “I would trust him with my life and all my worldly possessions” I also remember Bruce laughing about my response a short time later.
I last talked to Bruce about 6 weeks ago. He wanted to know how my video production was coming along and to see if I was ready to compete again. As always, time has been a factor the past 2 years for me as far as rocketry was concerned. Well I said goodbye without realizing that I would never have the opportunity to talk to him again. I do have one regret in that I never took the opportunity to really thank him for all that he did the previous 10 years. So Bruce, thanks for everything. I as well as all members past and present are going to miss you. Please take care.
I find myself stunned into near silence. And you didn’t think I would
ever shut up. Steve, Bruce, Lee and myself to the best of my knowledge were
the only club members present at the last launch and did our level best to
fight the fire. Bruce certainly seemed to be OK at the time, but that’s
probably not a very smart observation on my part. I first became acquainted
with Bruce years ago when I was in hobby retailing, and I was fortunate
enough to get better acquainted with him through CRASH. He will be surely
missed by all of us, he touched many lives through rocketry outreach, and
the club will never be the same without him.
Reading all of your comments really sends it home, I also was one that
remembers Bruce as the first person to introduce himself to me and welcome
me to CRASH. He was always talking to new people and willing to answer any
questions people had regarding anything rocket related, competition or
otherwise. Some one quoted that when some one passes you loose a library,
that is the truth!!! He will be greatly missed by all
Just read the news. I and my family are stunned. For us Bruce was a rock,
a constant of devotion to everything rockets. I don’t know what else to
I’m very sad to hear of this, Bruce had given so much to the hobby. He’ll
be missed by all of us.
Soon after the initial announcements on CRASH talk the condolences and memories started pouring in. Here are some of them.
This just floored me – I can’t say anything,
But to all CRASH members, he will be remembered most fondly in my heart and
mind. He was the best.
It used to be just him and me when CRASH was started. But he was always and
will always be the true spirit and soul of CRASH.
I am very saddened by the passing of Bruce. As I am a new member to CRASH, I also had the privilege of Bruce being the first one that came up to us and introduced himself and told me a little bit about CRASH. As I progressed up the rocket ladder (bigger and better) he was there with great information. He also helped me decide to try for my level 1. Now I have built my level 1 rocket and i wont get the privilege of having him check it out and watch it fly, giving me feedback as far as rights and wrongs with the construction. I will truly miss him even though I had only known him for a short time. RIP Bruce
I haven’t seen Bruce in some time, but I have to pass on my condolences to
his family and friends. I was shocked and saddened to read this news.
I can only reiterate thoughts that others have already stated. Bruce was
there when my son and I first showed up at Bear Creek to see what CRASH was
about. He helped us develop building skills. He assisted me in getting my
level 1 – he was selfless in his dedication to the activity. As much as he
loved competitions, it always seemed like he was one of the last to launch
because he would spend all of his time helping others.
I’ve attached a picture of Bruce (if it will post to the list) with his 1st
place Lunar Module from Naram2000 – this was on launch day. I’ve always been
amazed that this thing could actually fly . . .
I hope Sunday’s launch is a go . . . I think he would want it that way.
Maybe a “21 Rocket Salute” would be appropriate.
In honor of Bruce and his innumerous contributions to CRASH and model
rocketry, I would like to propose that the annual Colorado model rocket
championships be renamed the Bruce Markielewski Memorial Rocket
That is an idea that has already been on our minds.
I second it.
I would say that is unanimous then.
I just found the sad news today and am stunned.
I’m just an irregular flyer and didn’t know Bruce that well, but it was a real shock to read he had passed away.
I think its such a shock because he was such a good guy. He always helped. He was always there. He always offered. He always shared.
I would like to offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends.
We’ll miss you, Bruce. It was a pleasure to have known you.
On behalf of the members of the Southern Colorado Rocketeers NAR Section #632 I want to give our condolences to all the members of CRASH and Bruce’s family on his untimely passing. I dealt with Bruce in coordinating our section’s competitions down here in Pueblo. He was always very helpful with tips relating to contests and competition.
President NAR Section# 632
C.R.A.S.H. Landings is published by:
Colorado Rocketry Association of Space Hobbyists (NAR section #482)
No responsibility is assumed for unsolicited material. All submissions become the property of C.R.A.S.H. Landings. Submissions should be delivered in electronic format by e-mail or diskette. For other formats, please contact the editor:
Ian MacDonald – [removed email]