www.irishtribute.com - lost person
irish tribute home proudly brought to you by Irish Abroad



Bruce Reynolds
Age: 41
Occupation: Police Officer
Worked for: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Originally from: Inwood, Manhattan
Resided in: New Jersey
College: Fashion Institute of Technology

He was on his way home when he found out about the attacks on the WTC. He returned to help. He has not been found. His wife came from the same small town as my cousins who died in the attacks. They are Patrick Sullivan & Peter Melano.
Submitted by: Lorraine Conroy ()

Other links:
 More Tributes

From NY Times Dec 5, 2001

'New Daffodils for Garden That Outlived a Creator'

J. A. Reynolds knew that a mesh bag of daffodil bulbs had been sitting under a tree at the corner of his block since October, awaiting him, his trowel and his bent back. A Dutch businessman had sent a million bulbs to New York residents, a gift that has kept hands busy across the city during an anxious season.

Although the ration of bulbs for Isham Park was only a two-minute walk from the home of Mr. Reynolds, the master of his community garden, he just could not face it. "I'm surprised that I am able to sit in the apartment all day and not be bored, just B just melancholy," Mr. Reynolds said. "I've been avoiding people. When I go out, naturally, everybody wants to talk about him."

That would be his son, Bruce Reynolds, who died Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center. The whole neighborhood knew him.

The Reynoldses were probably the first black family to move to the Park Terrace section of Inwood, at the northern end of Manhattan. They arrived in 1965 from Pittsburgh and loved how the streets rolled high and low along the Hudson, against parkland, in sight of the Palisades.

"I felt it was the perfect playground, the perfect community for my son," Mr. Reynolds said.

Yet he worried for his young son, as the first of his race and an only child.

"If we didn't get involved in the community, it wouldn't be an ideal place for Bruce to go out and play, considering the singular position he was in," Mr. Reynolds said.

So the Reynoldses set their eyes on a trashed lot in a northeastern corner of Isham Park, at the end of their street. All the benches had been burned. Teenagers drank beer, smoked, cursed. Mr. Reynolds, a social worker, had a plan. He organized the children, nearly all Irish-Americans.

"Little by little, we cleared the rubble," he said. "Then we began planting. Once they were organized and directed, like any group of kids, they responded beautifully."
-- anon ()
05 Dec 2001


Bruce Reynolds worked the garden with his father. His parents sent him to private schools. Mr. Reynolds worked for the city, then for the Fashion Institute of Technology. His wife, Geri Reynolds, also a social worker, worked with the elderly, wrote a column for the neighborhood paper and helped administer the business of the garden.

"Even though Bruce was younger, they knew who he was," Mr. Reynolds said. "They respected what my wife and I did. The neighborhood is fabulous, as far as we're concerned. We had no bad incidents. As a result of the garden, Bruce became very well known."

In the apartment, they built a cage to the ceiling for lovebirds. The floor in Bruce's room was left bare of carpet so that he could run Matchbox cars along it. They built a loft, so their only child could have two friends sleep over.

When Bruce Reynolds was very young, his father took him to the woods in autumn to collect leaves. They brought them home in bouquets, and compared their colors to the skin tones of the family.

"We would compare the oak leaves to each other, and we could compare them to his mother's coloring and to mine," Mr. Reynolds recalled. "He was totally unintimidated about being African-American, about being black or being Negro. He never felt he had to apologize for being a man of color."

When money for seeds was scarce, Bruce Reynolds propagated ivy by putting the cuttings into jars of water until the roots grew. Then he laid them as ground cover beneath the tall trees. With his own earnings, he bought cherry plum trees. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, studied advertising and communications, then became a ranger in the city parks. He joined the Port Authority police force in 1986.

"I didn't want him to go into law enforcement," Mr. Reynolds said. "We had spent all that money on education, but that's what he wanted."
-- anon ()
05 Dec 2001


Then love brought him to peat bogs in Ireland. He met Marian McBride, an immigrant from County Donegal. They married and bought a house in western New Jersey, where he could fish in the streams and they could raise their children in the country. He joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Hudson County. The family traveled often to Donegal, and Officer Reynolds sang in the pubs, drank Guinness and walked the bog with his father-in-law, Patrick McBride. In July, the couple celebrated the first birthday of their son, Michael. On Sept. 8, they had a party for their daughter Brianna's fourth birthday.

Assigned to patrol the George Washington Bridge, he and his partners sped to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. He was last seen helping a woman burned by flaming jet fuel. Then he was lost, along with 36 other Port Authority police officers. He had turned 41 in July.

"I feel anger and bitterness because of what the world has done," said Mr. Reynolds, 78. "A world we thought we really were not part of."

Since then, the days have run across him, usually with great tenderness, at times mercilessly. He cannot bear the word "hero." Mrs. Reynolds has had surgery for a difficult case of arthritis. Thousands of people went to memorials in New Jersey and Donegal for their son. At a diner in Fort Lee, he and Marian Reynolds discovered that a cheeseburger special had been named for Officer Bruce Reynolds, bringing them to tears. He worries that he did not fully grasp the breadth of his son's life.

"Now I have a different perspective on him," he said. "I would rather have my son. I wish I had a lot more children now. I guess it wouldn't have made any difference. Bruce is Bruce. I pray that one day, I am able to let go, to enjoy his memories, to keep his life everlasting."

He has started to leave the house. The other day, Mr. Reynolds took his granddaughter, Brianna, to Inwood Hill Park. They found a bouquet of oak leaves in autumn browns. At home, they compared them to the tones in a picture of her father. "I want her to be aware of how beautiful color is," Mr. Reynolds said.

The thought came to him this week that the Isham Park share of daffodil bulbs, part of the vast shipment to the Parks Department from Hans van Waardenburg of B & K Flowerbulbs, would soon begin to rot if they were not put in the ground. So yesterday afternoon, he headed for the garden they started so long ago, father, son and friends, back when they set out to grow good things in a good place.

Through the steady misting drizzle, he toted his pick, his shovel and his trowel. He has no son to bury, but he had flowers to plant.
-- anon ()
05 Dec 2001

The Irish Echo has a wonderful feature story on officer Bruce Reynolds.
-- Kathleen (Friend {})
11 Jan 2002

If you would like to add a message ...  [ Add a message ]   

[All Tributes]

Irish Tribute Merchandise.  All profits go to InnisFree Fund

Innishfree Fund

Irish Tribute is proudly brought to you by