By Amanda Sangster - March 31, 2023
At the end of Loyce Mackey’s life, she told her husband, Bruce, “I want you to spend the rest of your life paying it back. You really haven’t done that, and it’s time.” Following her passing in 2012, Bruce relocated to Tampa, Florida, intent on fulfilling his wife’s wish. He would spend the rest of his life volunteering at Moffitt Cancer Center with the Patient and Family Advisory Program (PFAP).
When Bruce passed away at 90 years old on March 25, he had served more than 2,300 hours at the cancer center and contributed to countless initiatives aimed at improving the lives of those living with cancer and their loved ones. The Bruce and Loyce Mackey Patient and Family Advisory Program Volunteer of the Year Award was created in the couple’s honor and is awarded annually. Bruce was the honorary first recipient of the award. Bruce also served as chair of the Moffitt Foundation’s Legacy of Life Society.
As a volunteer patient advisor with Moffitt, Bruce assisted with the design of Moffitt McKinley Hospital and served on numerous committees. He was a longtime advocate for nursing education, social work services, senior adult oncology, Alzheimer’s research and under privileged students. He touched countless lives with his generosity, and he will be remembered as a champion for patient advocacy.
Patti Halula, co-chair of the Patient and Family Advisory program and longtime friend of Bruce, credits him with inspiring her own advocacy. They served on the Patient and Family Advisory Council together for years.
“He leaves behind a life that was well-lived and one that inspired us all,” Halula said. “He was so many things to all of us. Bruce motivated me to do more than I ever thought I would do or could do. I’m grateful that he is now reunited with ‘his girl,’ what he called his wife Loyce.”
Along with the countless volunteer hours and tireless efforts he has contributed to Moffitt, in 2021 Bruce committed to an estate gift of $1.6 million. The Bruce E. and Loyce A. Mackey endowed gift will provide $1 million in funds for nursing, $300,000 for senior adult oncology and $300,000 for social work, all programs that helped the Mackeys during their time at the cancer center.
Bruce also planned for his endowed gift to support nursing education, adding that the nurses do a terrific job and while we honor them during National Nurses Week, it’s important to continue to recognize their hard work.
Bruce rose from humble beginnings to achieve the American dream. He lost both his parents at a young age. He grew up on a ranch in Nebraska and served in the U.S. Army before embarking on a 42-year career as an insurance broker. After meeting on a blind date, Bruce and Loyce were married for 55 years. Moffitt Cancer Center is eternally grateful for Bruce’s contributions to its mission.
“While we will greatly miss Bruce, his energy, zeal and generosity will guide us to continue to advance our mission and advocate for our patients,” said Sabi Singh, Moffitt’s chief operating officer and hospital president.
Notes of Remembrance
“In addition to partnering with Moffitt on numerous committees, Bruce also connected with patients and caregivers as a peer visitor at Coffee Connection and during inpatient rounding. He said that Coffee Connection was his favorite part of volunteering. He helped patients and caregivers by giving them the opportunity to talk to someone who’s been though similar life experiences. He gave caregivers a glimpse of hope that life does go on after losing a loved one. He was a living example of someone thriving after loss.”
– Anne Bidelman, Manager, Patient and Family Advisory Program
“When I was first diagnosed with cancer, my clergy shared this perspective with me: While there may not be an afterlife, a life well-lived is measured by how people remember you when you pass. It’s fair to say our friend has checked this box of a life well-lived. So long, dear friend! I will have fond memories of you and your boundless energy.”
– David Dauman, Co-Chair, Patient and Family Advisory Council
“He was always kind and generous, but also demanded accountability. His legacy will carry and guide PFAC as we continue his dream of preventing and curing cancer.”
– Matt Bednar, Vice President, Ambulatory and Virtual Care Operations
“Bruce inspired us all with his grace, compassion and his example that even after suffering great tragedy, one can still live a purposeful life.”
– Mark Pizzo, Moffitt Patient Advisor
“I feel very fortunate to have known Bruce. He was always generous with his time, his knowledge, and his skills. Bruce was an exemplary advocate for patients and their families.”
– Dr. Susan Vadaparampil, Associate Center Director, Community Outreach, Engagement & Equity
“Bruce was truly a remarkable man with a big heart. I will miss him dearly.”
– Shani Parkin, Moffitt Patient Advisor
“I had the honor of serving on the Patient and Family Advisory Committee and several other workgroups with Bruce. You could tell he loved every minute he was at Moffitt. His contributions were always positive and ensured patients and families were always first. Whenever there was a discussion of two opposing viewpoints, Bruce had a beautiful way of finding the middle ground that was both artful and respectful.”
– Sean Powell, Senior Director, Case Management
“Bruce was not only a patient advocate but a nursing advocate as well. He participated in many committees that helped improve the nursing care delivered to our patients. He was a friend to me, personally, but also to nursing. He will be missed but forever in our hearts.”
– Jane Fusilero, Senior Strategic Advisor, Nursing
“Bruce was always up for taking on any task given to him because he passionately believed in the mission. People like Bruce live on at Moffitt through the influence they’ve had on so many patients, families and staff.”
– Dr. Bob Keenan, Chief Medical Officer, Vice President of Quality and Medical Affairs
“Bruce was an amazing man. He was always full of life and always ‘in a hurry.’ When he visited the office of Volunteer Services, he would never stay long, but just long enough to brighten our day and head off to his next assignment at Moffitt. We marveled at his weekly walks to and from Moffitt, and at his generosity and commitment to the cancer center. Bruce was the first volunteer honored as an emeritus member of the Volunteer Services Advisory Committee and continued to serve until the advent of COVID. Bruce was a beloved and respected volunteer, who will be so deeply missed. The voices of a million angels could not express our gratitude for Bruce. We are so blessed to have known him and we are all better because of his example and his legacy. We will always remember and will always love you, Bruce! Rest well.”
– Lawanda Byrd, Director, Volunteer Services
“Bruce joined our Fall and Injury Prevention Team in 2014, sharing his insight from a late in life fall that his wife experienced. After that he became an advisor to the Senior Adult Program and other geriatric initiatives. I am forever grateful to have been able to call him friend.”
– Cassandra Vonnes, Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric Oncology
“I had the honor of partnering with Bruce for many years. He was dedicated to improving the patient experience. He was generous with his time and contributed to so many Moffitt improvements. He was uplifting and kept us on task. I will forever remember Bruce for reminding us about the essence of life. ‘To serve others and to do good.’ Bruce did that with everyone he encountered. Bruce, rest in peace. You will forever be remembered.”
– Cristina Perez, Director, Patient Experience
“It’s a supreme honor to have had the blessing of knowing this remarkable man. And through him, and all he endeavored to do to honor her, I feel I knew his beloved Loyce. I treasure the gift it was to brush ever so briefly up against his magnificent benevolence, humility and steadfast determination to honor Loyce greatly. What a lifetime honor to have this award in their name bestowed upon me. I will ever strive to honor them both to the best of my ability and I know they absolutely will have an impactful and lasting legacy at Moffitt, USF and the other important organizations they endowed.”
– Amy Bondon, Moffitt Patient Advisor, Recipient of the Bruce and Loyce Mackey PFAP Volunteer of the Year Award
“I met Bruce through PFAC. We discovered that we had a common interest. We both lost our wives to cancer, and we were private pilots. Through our conversations we became very close. We enjoyed the Coffee Connections. He also opened the door for me to become a member of the government advocate committee Speak Out for Moffitt. We love going to Moffitt Day at the capitol. I am greatly going to miss him, but I am confident he will love being together with his wife in heaven.”
– Ken Susalla, Moffitt Patient Advisor
Humble, soft spoken
A man of values
A heart of loving-
A high character
Not afraid of life
Unshaken by death
An eye toward others
Patient and Family Advisory Program