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4-1-22, Bruce David Tomkinson, 87

Bruce David Tomkinson, 87, of Ojai, California, passed away surrounded by family at his home on April 1, 2022.

Bruce is predeceased by his two sisters, Joyce and Barbara. He leaves behind his loving daughter, Christine; sons Brian and Scott; granddaughter
Gemma; and former wife Candace, to cherish his memory.

Born May 22, 1934, Bruce grew up in Los Angeles, California, fathered by Francis John Tomkinson of Staffordshire, born 1891, a Hollywood set painter, and mothered by Olive Muriel Tomkinson of Melbourne, born 1898, a catalogue artist; he was surrounded by a creative spirit growing up.

He went on to attain his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, studying under internationally acclaimed ceramist, Laura Andreson.

Bruce spent his years after college pursuing his passion of crafting and teaching ceramics, eventually working as a professor for Santa Monica City College, from 1969 up until 2012.

Known for his rustic style influenced by his world travels, he would become particularly inspired while on sabbatical by the torii gates of Japan, representing a transition from the mundane to the sacred.

He incorporated this sentiment, using classical or utilitarian forms, juxtaposed by freeform sculptural and animalia elements.

Moving to Ojai in the 1990s, he was a longtime member of the Ojai Studio Artists and the Ventura County Potters’ Guild.

An ardent supporter of the arts, Bruce often donated his work to local charity auctions and continued to teach as professor emeritus well into his seventies.

Bruce most enjoyed spending time with his family and pets, always prioritizing those he loved above himself. He would often show his affection through acts of service, always ready to build, paint, or sand anything, to enhance the world he shared with those around him.

From humble beginnings in a Los Angeles bungalow, Bruce would live an intrepid life full of waterskiing on the Salton Sea, to sailing the Santa Barbara Channel. He walked under the towering redwoods and atop of the Great Wall of China, yet he never lost his innate sense of humility. Eternal persistence and determination afforded him the ability to provide a stable and loving environment to those he cared for, and he will be missed dearly.

A collection of Bruce’s early works will soon be on display, while those who knew him and his family can mingle over refreshments at the upcoming memorial event. All are welcome on this day of remembrance for a local artist, teacher, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and all-around tremendous man.

His life will be celebrated on Saturday, May 21, 2022, from 2 to 5 p.m., at The Ojai Art Center, located at 113 South Montgomery Street, Ojai, California.

Obit Tomkinson photo

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