Dec 23, 1923 ~ Jun 30, 2015
Bruce was born in Madera December 23, 1923 the son of Frank and Caralou Oneto. He was raised in Madera, Sebastopol, San Francisco, and Fresno, California Bruce graduated in 1941 from Fresno High. Bruce then served as a corporal in the Army during World War II stationed in the Pacific with 593rd Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO). He received 4 battle stars for his service on the islands of Leyte, Luzon, and Okinawa, and received a presidential unit citation and was honorably discharged in 1945.
Returning to civilian life Bruce then attended college at Stanford and Santa Clara Universities receiving a law degree from Santa Clara in 1956. As a lawyer, Bruce became a partner at the Ruffo Law firm in San Jose, California. Bruce next began his own practice in San Jose and Brookdale, California.
In 1974 Bruce retired from the law, became an employee and manager of Park Mutual Water Company in Boulder Creek, California, and began his lifelong advocacy of sustainable water policy. Bruce became involved in a wide range of organizations to further his passion for sensible and sustainable management of our natural resources. Among them: Water Advisory Commission for State of California and Santa Cruz County, and Watershed Institute Advisor for San Lorenzo Valley High District.
In addition, Bruce held the position of Fair Director for the 14th district Santa Cruz County Fair from 2001. A position appointed by governors Davis, Schwarzenegger, and Brown. In his later years, Bruce dedicated himself to promoting the principles of sustainable agriculture and became a member of the Watsonville Ag History Project and the Santa Cruz County Fair Heritage Foundation. He and his wife Jeri would frequently promote and contribute to fundraising events, graciously offering their abundant talent at preparing home cooked meals, prepared with dedication and lots of love.
Bruce and his wife Jeri were recipients of the 2013 Hammer-Marcum award honoring those residents of San Lorenzo Valley who have given hundreds of hours of volunteer time to improve the quality of life of local residents.
Bruce was a member in the following organizations: San Lorenzo Valley Museum, Valley Women’s Club, and Sons in Retirement. His interests and hobbies included golf, bowling, and woodworking. Bruce loved to teach his family and friends how to prepare homemade ravioli, which he learned from his grandmother Nona. And Bruce would often provide demonstrations in how to prepare ravioli at the Santa Cruz County Fair.
Bruce was also a volunteer groundskeeper for his grandson’s little league team. He did this because he wanted to be sure the kids had a safe field to play on. He kept the field up for four generations of little leaguers. Bruce liked to work with his hands and was very proud of the work he did to remodel his home, using reclaimed wood from redwood water tanks. He was proud of his military service and was active in Veterans Day celebrations and in veteran’s organizations.
Above all else Bruce embraced the importance of family and the joy that he received from his wife Jeri and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. To him, they were the bread of life.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Jeri (Green) Oneto, and sisters Jane (Chuck Irwin) and Marilou Ellis, daughter Laura Hamill, sons Michael Oneto (Lisa) and Robert Oneto (Karen), step-daughter Jackie Jones (Mike), grandchildren Tim Jones (Amber), Suzie (Jake Palmer), Roy, Simone, Brook and Mikaela Oneto, and five great grandchildren: Colton, Kyla, Kendall Jones, and Landen and Grady Palmer. Bruce was preceded in death by stepson Jeff Green.
Family and friends are invited to join in a celebration of Bruce’s life on Saturday August 15, from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Scopazzi’s Restaurant, 13300 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, California. An additional public celebration will be planned at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, date to be announced.
Donations can be made to the Boulder Creek Fire District, the Ag History Project, or JDRF.