As the Merry-Go-Round slowed to a stop on Saturday evening of the fair, so did the heart of the man who brought it to the Jefferson County Recreation Park.
Milton “Bruce” Gilmer, 73, of Boulder passed away at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, on Saturday, August 27, 2022.
Bruce was born August 13, 1949 in Kalispell to Milton “Bud” and Jean (Curtiss) Gilmer. He lived his early life in Basin making lots of memories with his Grandpa Kenny fishing, hunting and mining at the Morning Glory up Cataract. Later when the family moved to Boulder, Bruce worked weekends and summers for the McCauley Ranch where his practical jokes are still remembered.
He attended school in Basin and Boulder, graduating from Jefferson High School in 1968.
Bruce served in the U.S. Navy from 1969 until 1973 training in electronics and later becoming a repair diver. After his service he returned to the mountains of Montana. He married Becky Shaw and they had two sons, Ken and Sam, later they divorced. When Bruce married Donna McCauley in June 1989, her son, Ryan, became Bruce’s third son.
Bruce’s career was in heavy construction, working for several companies before starting into his own business of pumping concrete and finally, Boulder Crane & Piling. His work took him all over the state to build bridges and drive piling, always returning to spend time with his family on weekends. Many remember the years his crane donned lights to become the Christmas tree on Cap Hill.
Bruce enjoyed the outdoors and his seasons, be it fishing (Glenwood Lake), birds, antelope, deer or his favorite… elk season. The bugle of the elk sent him to Hadley Park to set up his hunting camp year after year. His favorite hunt was to Little Hadley from his camp. Several lifelong friends, family and young hunters from the valley would share his camp or stop by just to visit.
Bruce was member of the Boulder Fire Department and served as fire chief for a time. During his time on the fire department he rallied fellow firemen and longtime friend Jim Stout to move the Merry-Go-Round from the campus at the Montana Developmental Center to the Jefferson County Recreation Park. Bruce spent endless hours spear heading the molding of horses, promoting the renovation work of the Merry-Go-Round and building a structure to shelter the wonderful treasure you see today. Many a kid looked forward to grabbing a quarter from Bruce’s fingers as he stood near the deck enticing them.
In February 2011, after several months of declining health, Bruce was given new life by receiving a heart/double lung organ transplant. This gift of life gave him almost twelve “bonus” years with family and friends.
Bruce was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife Donna, sons Ken (Kei) Gilmer of Lake Forest, CA; Sam (Natalie) Gilmer of Bozeman; and Ryan Gilmer of Boulder; granddaughters Mira and Sola Gilmer of Lake Forest; grandsons Benjamin and Adam Gilmer of Bozeman; brother Steve (Flora) Gilmer of Soda Springs, ID; sister Barb (Steve) Shink of Mead, WA; sister Brenda Gilmer of Florence, OR; sister-in-law Lisa McCauley of San Clemente, CA; sister-in-law Debbie McCauley of San Diego, CA; brother-in-law Doug (Jackie) McCauley of Boulder. Also surviving are aunts Judy Gilmer of Fruitland, ID and Beverly Urbaniak of Red Lodge, MT; 4 nieces, 3 nephews and numerous cousins and extended family.
The family hopes you will join them at the Jefferson County Recreation Park on September 11th at 11 am as we pay tribute and celebrate his life.