For those of you who knew Bruce Bellom, nothing I say will surprise you, and you could probably add pages and pages of great stories, memories, or things about him that show time and time again the great person he was.
To those who did not get the opportunity to know him, my words will fall far short as I try to speak of the incredible friend I lost when Bruce passed March 1, 2021.
I first met Bruce when I was running for Peekskill City Council in 2019. I was one of two Democrats running on the Republican ticket. Not many people could wrap their heads around that, but Bruce was the guidance I needed to get myself to explain it to others.
Bruce was new to the Republican political scene in Peekskill and was assigned to go out with me on my daily door–to–door campaign. From day one, Bruce and I hit it off. Bruce eventually became Chairman of the Peekskill Republican Party and was respected by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Bruce was a thoughtful listener, he spoke intelligently, and he respected and took the time to understand an opposing opinion. He constantly took classes to increase his knowledge of a certain subject, and always gave people the benefit of the doubt.
I learned of Bruce’s love for all the things he took an interest in, and in all those endeavors he was one of the most–liked individuals, including his career as a Westchester County Police Officer, where he retired as a Sergeant in 2016 after a 34-year career.
He spoke with great enthusiasm of his love for racing, and the very few times he would not win he would spend days going over every turn he could have done better; he spoke of his bowling prowess, and loved that he got to bowl with his sister, Nancy Young, and spend quality time with her.
He loved his family and looked for every way to include them in his life, whether it was through weekly lunches, daily calls, or making his home a place his grandkids would never want to leave.
And Bruce loved to spend time with the love of his life, Linda Belger, who encouraged him, heard, and saw him, and together they brought each other great comfort, support and joy. She was his partner in everything he did.
Bruce was considered the ultimate community person. He enjoyed working with the youth, and spoke highly of his time working with the youngsters at Rye Playland.
He was so committed in helping his community that I thought he would be an excellent fit for the Peekskill Rotary Club. He immersed himself in the Rotary Club, and soon became a Sergeant-at-Arms, then Secretary, and looked forward to his turn as President.
As I become President this year, he would have been right there with me as Vice President.
I will miss the enthusiasm and dedication he would have brought to the Club. He was very popular in the Club and very much liked by everyone.
As the Man on the Street for our political show, “Up and About with Peekskill United,” Bruce was the most identifiable member of the cast. He loved talking to the Peekskill residents about everything Peekskill.
Whether it was a businessperson highlighting their business, an event taking place in Peekskill, people who felt their voices were not being heard, or a politician looking to get their message across to a wider audience, Bruce was there listening and helping their voices be heard.
We had great times, conversations, bloops and blunders that would make us cry with laughter.
Bruce definitely made me a better person, he enhanced my life with his friendship and became family to me, my wife and my kids.
I will miss his daily calls, his twice a week stop–over at my office, and our weekly lunches.
Thank you, Bruce, for calling me your friend, or, as he would say it, his “guy.”
[Ed. Note — The family requests donations be made in Bruce Bellom’s name to Rotary Club of Peekskill (peekskillrotary.com].
Luis Segarra is a 27–year resident of Peekskill. He is a Principal and CFO of the Crescent Companies, which has had its main office in Peekskill since 2001. Luis is Chairman of the Peekskill Housing Authority, President-Elect of Peekskill Rotary Club, and an active and respected leader in the community.