Bruce Arthur Hop, 75, of Cedar Rapids, passed away Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, after an arduous six-year battle with prostate cancer. He leaves his beloved wife, Cheryl; his children; and his friends to join his Heavenly Father. A visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at the church. A luncheon celebration will follow at Dublin City Pub.
Bruce was born Sept. 19, 1943, at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif., to Miriam and Harvey N. Hop Sr. As naval families do, the Hops would move throughout the United States and Panama before settling in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Bruce attended Washington High School as part of the Class of 1961. A gifted scholar and athlete, Bruce's swimming would help deliver a state championship in the 200-yard freestyle relay. He continued his education at Coe College, earning his bachelor's degree in 1965.
That same year, Bruce married his high school sweetheart, Maralee Stusak. From this union came two daughters, Traci Lynn and Trisha Leigh Hop. Maralee and Bruce divorced in 1969, but remained good friends and stayed in close contact. Two marriages came and went before Bruce met the love of his life, Cheryl Watson. They wed in 1992 and Bruce became a stepdad to Adam John, Zachary Alan and Kathleen Ann Brewer. The "step" in the title faded with time, as Bruce truly carried and earned every part of "Dad."
Bruce's career began at Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids. He worked on communications equipment for the Apollo moon missions, helping to achieve the first man on the moon in 1969. Layoffs at Collins Radio led Bruce to a career change that would last the rest of his entire life. In 1970, Bruce began his career in the insurance business as a production manager with the Travelers. Declining a move to Des Moines, Bruce worked for MorAmerica and briefly at Berthel Fisher.
The final workplace of Bruce's career came in 1984 when the Cincinnati Life Insurance Co. hired him as a senior regional director. It was with Cincinnati that Bruce made a lifelong best friend in J.F. Scherer, whose mentorship and friendship meant the world to Bruce. He worked hard for all his employers and he remained an active employee at Cincinnati Life until his last days.
Bruce was always authentic and true to himself. He was incapable of speaking words he did not believe. He enthusiastically embraced his world, always looking for the upside and humor in every situation. Bruce was truly larger than life, loud, vivacious and loving, in a touchy and hugging kind of way.
At many gatherings (or even the Greek Place on Friday nights), Bruce could be heard breaking into song with his beautiful loud baritone voice. He would sing Handel's "Messiah" or "Amazing Grace," despite never really learning the words. (Many people mailed him a copy. It did not help.)
As a lover of trivia, and a student of history and sport, Bruce enjoyed quizzing his friends with questions at social gatherings. For houseguests, he would challenge them to a game of Jeopardy!, bemoaning every pop culture category along the way (he couldn't believe anyone would know such inane things). Bruce lived to entertain and loved people. His absolute best days were spent telling stories and jokes and simply making people laugh. He thrived on giving to people beyond just something to laugh or smile about.
There were countless times that Bruce bought friends or service industry workers gifts. If they did not have the right pair of shoes, or they simply admired one of Bruce's ties or shirts, he would make sure they would get one. After a party or event, Bruce would get photo prints made and share them with all the attendees. He often loaned books to friends. Once, when loaning a book, he discovered it belonged to the library. Bruce went out and purchased the book so he could then loan it to the friend. Every service industry worker knew and loved Bruce. His ready smile, his warm hugs, his way of making them laugh, and his always generous tips made an impact. Even at the drive-up window, if he saw a young person working hard, he would give them $5 or $10 and the following advice: stay in school, work hard, and always "do the right thing!" The last phrase was often heard at the Hop household, too.
Bruce had a second childhood raising Adam, Zach and Katie building snow forts, sledding, playing in the pool, and of course, Mr. Wizard science experiments at dinnertime. Friends and visitors to the house shared in the fun, fondly referring to him as "The Bruce."
Cheryl and Bruce thanked God every day for the sheer happiness and love they shared. Always together, never wanting to be apart, they understood the precious gift they were given. They both admitted they never knew they could feel so very loved.
Bruce will be greatly missed by his wife, Cheryl; brothers, Harvey Hop Jr., James Hop (Jill) and Karl Hop (Lane); daughter, Trisha Hop (Kelli Alberts); son-in-law, Amir Bozorgzadeh; stepchildren, Adam Brewer (Sheena), Zachary Brewer (Heather) and Katie Brewer; his granddaughter, Skylar Hop; and stepgrandsons, Elliott Brewer and Vincent Wirth.
He was preceded in death by his beloved father, Harvey Hop Sr.; mother, Miriam; and his beautiful and loving daughter, Traci Lynn Bozorgzadeh.
Bruce was a member of Cedar Rapids Ex Club, where he made countless friendships and had the time of his life. He was also a golfing member of Elmcrest Country Club until 2012 when cancer made it too hard to golf. At Elmcrest, Bruce developed many great friendships that meant so much to him. He took solace and comfort as part of the congregation at First Lutheran Church. He was thankful to have the Lord in his life to lead him through the difficult days of cancer.
The family would like to thank the staff at PCI Oncology. They made the last six years of treatment pleasant and comfortable, treating Bruce like a member of their own families. The dedication this team had to Bruce and his cancer made it so much easier to deal with. For his outstanding care and compassion, we specifically highlight Dr. Bharat Jenigiri as well as Bruce's entire medical team. He loved you all. Thank you.
Memorials can be directed to the Guardian Angel Program at St. Luke's Foundation or to First Lutheran Church. The Guardian Angel Program funds programs and equipment at St. Luke's Hospital and gives recognition to those who cared for Bruce. First Lutheran Church of Cedar Rapids takes such great care of the community and the pastors at First Lutheran gave Bruce great comfort in his time of need.
Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under Obituaries. The family requests that you leave your favorite story of Bruce.