The 92-year-old man who died July 2 after he was hit by a car at County Road E and East County Line was identified as Bruce Bullock. People in the community may not have known him, but they saw him often in his electric wheelchair/scooter.
“His scooter's orange flag made him easy to spot,” said Bullock's neighbor Donna Wright-Dawson.
Bullock lived in the East Shore Place apartments in Mahtomedi; for how long, Wright-Dawson wasn't sure. He was there when she moved in 11 years ago.
She recalled how he would knock on her door when he needed help to read. “I would ask him, 'Do you need my eyes?'” And Wright-Dawson obliged by reading something for him. Bullock was nearly blind, but that didn't stop him from traveling miles on his scooter.
“He was so independent. He went everywhere in that chair,” Wright-Dawson said of her friend. “He took chances. I would give him a hard time, saying, 'You like to push the envelope.'”
A pastor, Bullock was well-educated. He spoke several languages, authored a book, “Language & The Bible,” and played the oboe. The back jacket of his book indicated Bullock founded and directed a symphony orchestra in New Mexico. After his marriage in 1963, he and his wife founded and directed the Performing Arts Opera company in Albuquerque. When the opera company dissolved, they moved to New York City to teach, write and perform before ultimately returning to Minnesota. Following the death of his wife, Bullock created a series of language teaching grammars in five languages based on the Gospel of John.
Wright-Dawson said Bullock had an estranged brother, but no other family that she knew of. His best friend, Michael Hyland, is also a pastor who lives in the apartment complex. It was Michael’s name he called immediately after the accident, she said.
Most of all, Wright-Dawson wants people to know something about her friend. “I want him to be appreciated. Most people in our building didn't realize his background.”
The accident remains under investigation, according to White Bear Lake Police Captain Dale Hager. Bullock was hit around 3:30 p.m. that Tuesday by a White Bear Lake woman and died around 9:30 p.m. at Regions Hospital.
A service is planned at 7 p.m. July 18 at East Shore Place apartments, 805 Wildwood Road, Mahtomedi.