Obituary of Bruce Vinal Haskell
Bruce Vinal Haskell (1943-2023)
Bruce Haskell, a wonderful husband, devoted father, loyal friend, and revered educator, passed away on Thursday, March 30, 2023. Bruce touched countless lives and was described by many as a “true gentleman”. Bruce was a generous and loving man, whose kindness knew no bounds. He will be remembered for his smile, charm, humor, incredible voice, and brilliance.
Bruce was born in Portland, Maine on October 15, 1943. In 1944, his parents moved the family to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he lived the rest of his life. He attended his family’s school, Shorecrest Day School, from ages three to ten, and Lealman Junior High for his middle school years. Bruce attended Northeast High for one year before receiving a scholarship to Phillip’s Exeter Academy, from which he graduated in 1960. He was then accepted into Duke University, graduating in 1965 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Economics.
After graduation, Bruce was on his way to a finance job in New York when his mother, Headmistress Carleen Haskell, asked him to come to Shorecrest to fill in for a teacher temporarily. From his first day teaching, he sensed that this path was his genuine calling. Two weeks of filling in at Shorecrest became 20 years and a Master’s in Education from the University of South Florida, leading to Bruce becoming Shorecrest’s Headmaster. During Bruce’s career at Shorecrest, his commitment to education and his dedication to excellence significantly impacted the lives of thousands of students. He stayed involved long after his “retirement” by teaching occasional classes (including his favorite subject of Latin), as the iconic ‘Voice of the Chargers’ for more than 25 years, and as a dad for all three daughters while they attended Shorecrest.
Upon retiring from Shorecrest, Bruce continued his commitment to service by joining Northwestern Mutual Life in 1985 as a financial advisor. After 31 years of helping others reach their retirement goals, Bruce himself retired in 2016.
Bruce had an intense love of the game of golf. He started playing at only eight years old, and soon went on to win many National Junior events. Bruce’s other passions and hobbies included music, almost every sport, Jeopardy, his beloved dogs through the years, and community involvement. He stayed connected with classmates from Exeter and Duke, and he also loved regularly visiting New England, particularly his birthplace of Maine.
Bruce is survived by the “love of his life” and wife of 25 years, Diana Haskell; his daughters, Jennifer Haskell Scott, Katie Haskell, and Shannon Haskell; and his grandchildren, Matthew Scott and Ruby Scott. Bruce is predeceased by his parents, Carleen Haskell Hodgdon and Ralph Haskell, his brother Craig Haskell, and his first wife Madie Haskell.
The family will be holding private services. The community is invited to honor Bruce at a Celebration of Life on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. in the Janet Root Theatre at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL. Visit www.shorecrest.org/haskell for more information.
For those who wish to remember Bruce, donations may be made in his memory to Shorecrest Preparatory School (www.shorecrest.org), Suncoast Hospice (www.circleofcaring.org), or The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (www.theaftd.org).