Bruce Evan Blair, 87

    Bruce Evan Blair, 87, of Elmhurst, Illinois, passed away on January 30, 2024 after a brief illness and hospitalization.

    Bruce was the beloved husband of Ruth and the cherished father of Laura (Dan) McKnight of Wauconda (recently of Shawnee, KS), Barbara (David) Mevis of Naperville, and Carolyn (Ted) Novy of Chicago. He was also the proud and adored grandpa/papa of Jeremy and Eli McKnight, Molly, Shannon, and Evan Mevis, and Thomas, Tess, Leo, Mary Frances, Sally, and Gus Novy. He kept in close touch with his brothers, with his niece and nephews and their families, as well as with Ruth’s only sister Dorothy.
Bruce was born on June 23, 1936 in Melrose Park, Illinois to the late Buell and Kathryn Blair. He was the middle sibling to his older brother, the late Bob, and his younger brother Dan. He lived most of his life in Elmhurst, but he loved Maine where he spent some of his childhood. He attended Iowa State University and made his living as a chemical and materials engineer. He was a longtime employee of Automatic Electric (a division of GTE) and later of Philips Advance Transformer.
Bruce married Ruth Ehrich in 1963. They raised their three daughters in Elmhurst and spent all sixty years of their marriage there. Bruce loved his family above all and enjoyed attending sporting events and holiday gatherings with his many grandchildren. He believed strongly in the value of education and helped all of his grandchildren with college funding.
Bruce was a tree hugger before it was popular and nurtured a deep, lifelong love of trees and nature. He spent a good deal of his retirement time volunteering at the Morton Arboretum, particularly in the Children’s Garden. He was generous, contributing to a wide variety of charitable organizations including Smile Train, the Epilepsy Foundation, the International Foundation for CDKL5 Research, and several progressive causes. He had a heart for those in need, often offering assistance to extended family, acquaintances, or even strangers needing a helping hand.
Bruce did not like being the center of attention, and we are respecting his desire not to have any formal service or celebration of life. Our family will celebrate and remember him during every visit to the arboretum and every family gathering in the years ahead. We welcome donations in his memory to the Morton Arboretum ( or to the International Foundation for CDKL5 Research (, which works to treat and cure the genetic condition that affects his grandson and namesake Evan.
Bruce would also be delighted if you planted a tree in his honor-preferably something native to your area. He was especially partial to ginkgoes, bald cypresses and crooked pines with interesting branch structures. We are grateful to have had him in our lives all these years and we will miss him every day.