Bruce Macklin John of Ithaca NY passed away peacefully at Cayuga Medical Center on Sunday March, 15, 2015 after a brief illness. He was born on April 17, 1932 in Iowa to Bernice and Macklin John.  

He obtained a BA in Economics from Penn State University, a Masters in Rural Sociology at the University of Kentucky, and worked towards a PhD in Rural Sociology (a field founded by his father and two fellow Cornell graduate students) at Cornell.  A lifelong activist in community affairs,  he marched in civil rights marches in the 1960’s and founded the Mountain Heritage Festival in West Virginia in the 1960’s, which still takes place annually to celebrate the culture and heritage of the poor and rural mountain folk of Appalachia.  Bruce was a founder of the not-for-profit Better Housing in Ithaca, which serves to keep low and middle income seniors in their homes.   He volunteered through Kiwanis, serving on the board as president several times.  He also volunteered on many domestic and foreign trips through St. Paul’s church and the Wesley Foundation at Cornell.  In the late 1960’s he was part of a USAID team to Tanzania to assist the Masai people.  Additionally, he was active in local politics, serving for a few times as Democratic Chairman of his town.   He greeted President Jimmy Carter on his trip to Ithaca for a campaign stop.  Bruce worked most of his career at Cornell in Cooperative Extension, creating and running a number of statewide programs.

Bruce John is survived by his second wife, Elinor; his two children Wesley John and Karen Armstrong; and his sister Marilyn Henniger.  Additionally, he has several living grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  His first wife, Charlotte, predeceased him in 1995.

Calling hours will be Thursday, March 19th from 5-7 PM at Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg.  A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 20th, at 2 PM at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Ithaca. 

Donations may be made to any of the following:  Better Housing, Ithaca NY, The Wesley Foundation, Cornell University, or The ME John Speaker Series at Penn State University Rural Sociology Department.