Obituary: Bruce F. Connell

Bruce F. Connell

I am sad to announce the passing of my friend and longtime partner, Bruce F. Connell, MD on Sept. 16 in his beloved home of Laguna Beach. He was a resident of Laguna for 50 years, where he was a well-known plastic surgeon at St. Joseph of Orange, Western Medical Center Santa Ana, Hoag Newport Beach and Laguna Beach (Mission) Hospital.

Bruce was born in 1927 in Detroit, Michigan; however, he spent his youth in his beloved home state of Alabama. After high school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1946 and 1947 and sent overseas. Upon being honorably discharged, he attended pharmacy school in Alabama before going on to medical school in Buffalo, New York. He received his surgery training at Los Angeles County Medical Center in L.A. and his plastic surgery training was completed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Bruce settled in Orange County in 1958 and practiced until he retired at the age of 85. He was well-known for his sense of humor and his wonderful teaching skills. He was a quiet philanthropist for many causes in Laguna Beach and loved spending time partaking in his favorite hobby, planting and gardening. He passed peacefully surrounded by family and longtime friends.

Thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff at Mission Hospital for the professional and loving care Bruce received in the last several months of his life. At his request, there will be no service, and Pacific View Memorial Park will handle the cremation.

– H.G. Wagner

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  1. Dear Helmut,

    We are sad to learn of Bruce’s passing…he was a wonderful friend for over half a century!
    We shared many great times together and will cherish the memories of such a great man (and surgeon ?)!

    Our condolences to you.
    Love and hugs from us both,
    Darren & Stan

  2. Dear Helmut,
    Bruce was a special person, besides being an excellent plastic surgeon. It was an honor to work with him as his nurse anesthetist for so many years. Being part of his team and witnessing the amazing results and quality care will be something I always cherish.

    He made the world a more beautiful place and that will be his legacy.

    My love to you and all his family, friends and colleague.

  3. Dear Helmut,

    I was so incredibly sad to hear about the passing of Dr. Connell. I was so very blessed to work with him as one of his personal scrub techs for 2 years at the surgery center in Santa Ana. In the brief time that I studied and work at OCCS, I learned so much from him as well as from his staff, who even to this day still treat me like family. He always pushed me to be a better scrub nurse and inspired me to always better myself. His patience with me as when I was starting my career as well as the wealth of knowledge that I did my best to absorb from him I’ll always be grateful for. The world is a better place for having had such a talented, kind and knowledgeable surgeon. He truly was the man that “lifted a thousand faces”, and I am lucky to have known him.

    My best to you and your family, and my thoughts are with you.

  4. Lieber Helmut,

    mein tiefstes Beileid zum Versterben von Dr. Bruce Connell. Es ist schwer nach so vielen Jahren plötzlich alleine dazustehen und ich wünsche Ihnen viel Kraft, um sich in die neue Realität einzufinden. Wenn Sie mal wieder zu Besuch in der “alten Heimat” weilen, würde ich mich sehr über einen Anruf freuen. Bleiben Sie gesund!

    Herzliche Grüße und meine besten Wünsche für die kommenden Feiertage,

    Annette Muggenthaler

  5. Hallo Helmut,
    Leider habe ich erst heute, Jan 08.2020 erfahren vom Ableben vom Bruce. Unser herzliches Beileid und dir viel Kraft nach so vielen gemeinsamer Jahre! Ich habe es nicht mehr persönlich geschafft euch beide in den USA zu Besuchen, erinnere mich aber gerne wo ihr beide in Muenchen zu Besuch wart.

    Lg Rolf und Alex from Vienna/Austria

  6. Moi aussi, je n’apprends qu’aujourd’hui le décès de Bruce. Je suis très attristé. Il fut pour moi un mentor et un exemple, son regard m’observe depuis 35 ans dans mon bloc opératoire. Paix à son âme,
    Michel P, Montreux (CH)

  7. dear Helmut…I came across your beautiful and heartfelt testimony to a great man and one you shared a life with.. It is well written and is the memorial he deserved and would have been proud of.. I have thought of you both over the years..I wish you peace and so many beautiful memories Respectfully Laurie Moore

  8. Dear Helmut,
    Very sorry for your loss and learning this news. I was an instrument tech for Dr Connell when I was an undergraduate. Later after completing a surgical internship and emergency residency to this day I still have Dr Connell’s voice in my ear and recall how much he would scrutinize every single suture that was placed by his fellows. Every detail mattered and he was a true craftsman. I also remember how proud he was of his persimmons that he shared. He was very generous with his teachings and I am grateful for the opportunity to watch him work.

  9. Dr. Connell kinda saved my life by sending me to one of his great student surgeons who was able to greatly improve what I thought was an impossible situation. Peace n love to and him.

  10. Dear Helmut. We are so sorry for your loss. Bruce was a very special person. We still remember the times we had with him in Munich at his beloved Chinese Tower.

    Love to you from Rolf and Charles Sayre, Pompano Beach


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