Condolence & Memory Journal

I knew Bruce as an incredibly kind, gentle soul who I met through dancing and heard from every year on my birthday. He never failed to send pictures of the cherry blossoms blooming in Japan along with his eloquent and thoughtful wisdom. Though our contact was infrequent, Bruce brought me much insight and will continue to be an inspiration and presence in my therapeutic work, appreciation of the natural world, and call for social justice. He will be dearly missed as one of the most graceful and intuitive dancers I have had the pleasure of knowing.
Thank you for all the joy and kindful attention you brought to those around you, Bruce. You will be remembered fondly and missed deeply.

Posted by Gwendolyn Roit - Greenfield, MA - Friend   June 20, 2019

Bruce and I struck up a friendship through dance; he was interested in my writing. I was in Nova Scotia on May 13th when he sent me this birthday message:

"May has always seemed to me to be one of the best and most beautiful months of the year. It is the real opening of the earth again and the coming alive once more of Nature and all her many blessings. The hills are garbed in multiple hues of green while little leaves grow larger every day, slowly filling in bare woodlands. Even the blue sky makes space for a spreading canopy of green.

In the bog the spring peepers are giving voice, the hummingbirds have returned once again to the feeder and birds from hawks to doves to hummingbirds are appearing in pairs and carrying out their mating rituals.

It is a season of reawakening and opening for all living things, and for some, a restless stirring and rising hunger and vague expectation for something ineffable and undefined. There was often a time when I was teaching when I would walk out the door in the morning and know "yes, this is it." There was something in the air, something in the quality of light which enveloped me and caught me up and held me prisoner of spring. And sometimes in the afternoon when I stepped out of school there was still a different light, a different sky and a different energy in the air that said "Go." It didn't matter where, it only mattered to travel, far, now. A deep restlessness was calling and did so every spring.

So in this very special month of new births, stirrings and reawakenings I send you warm wishes for the happiest of birthdays. It is a good month to be born."

I am glad he died doing what he loved. I will miss his unique and kind smile.


Posted by Em Smith - Ballardvale, MA - Friend   May 26, 2019

Mr. Pekkala was a life changing teacher for me ... there will always be a part of him in my heart... i was an original mountain club member in high school in 1975...We stayed in youth hostels on hiking and skiing trips ...... many many nights we stayed up all night just talking of life's values and sound choices...i'm sure he's resting in peace with the life he lived and shared to the world ... bless you Mr Pekkala for helping mold my life.... Nancy Kezer Boothroyd Goodyear,AZ

Posted by Nancy Kezer boothroyd - Goodyear, AZ - Student   May 26, 2019

You will be sincerely missed in the dance community. A wonderfully charismatic dancer

Posted by Carolyn May - Acquaintance   May 26, 2019

This news broke my heart. Bruce was an influential player in my turbulent high school years. He was totally engaging as a teacher and even more, he was a pure human being. I always enjoyed our occasional sightings in and about town years after leaving MHS. My sincere condolences to his family. I have no doubts he will be missed. Rest in peace gentle man.

Posted by Eliza Dunnigan - Tyler - Prescott, AZ - Friend   May 25, 2019