The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, former Bishop of Western Louisiana and former president of the Living Church Foundation’s board of directors and trustees, died Dec. 21. He was 77.
Only days earlier, after suffering a fall, MacPherson was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and began receiving hospice care at his home in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Bishop MacPherson is survived by Susan, his wife of 59 years; daughters Bonnie and Heather; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
MacPherson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and his family moved to the United States when he was a teenager. He was a graduate of Cypress College and Bloy House, and was a manager in the books division of the Times Mirror Co. before pursuing ordination.
MacPherson was ordained deacon and priest in 1980 in the Diocese of Los Angeles. After ordination, he continued his corporate work for a time and served as a hospital chaplain. He served as canon to the ordinary in Los Angeles from 1988 to 1993.
He became canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Dallas in 1993. MacPherson was elected Suffragan Bishop of Dallas six years later, and was elected as the third Bishop of Western Louisiana in 2002. He retired as bishop 10 years later.
He served as president of Province VII of the Episcopal Church (2005-09), chairman of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice (2002-09), and national chaplain of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew (2006-12).
One demanding aspect of his time in Louisiana came from hurricanes.
“Hurricane Katrina affected our diocese quite seriously, and that was followed by Hurricane Rita,” MacPherson told the monthly newspaper Cenla Focus as he was retiring. “At one point, we had 300 people — New Orleans refugees — housed at our camp and conference center.”
The MacPhersons lived at Camp Hardtner during that time as he coordinated relief work.
While Bishop of Western Louisiana, MacPherson also oversaw restoration of Mount Olivet Chapel in Pineville, a Gothic Revival structure built in 1858. The diocese’s office is based in Mount Olivet’s former parish house.
“Mount Olivet Chapel survived the war when Alexandria was burned down because the Northern troops used it as a hospital and field office,” MacPherson said.
After retiring as Bishop of Western Louisiana, MacPherson served as an assisting bishop in the Diocese of Oklahoma, based at All Souls’ Church in Oklahoma City. He provided delegated Episcopal pastoral oversight to churches in Accokeek, Maryland, and Darien, Connecticut.
Two of MacPherson’s fellow bishops paid tribute to him on the day of his death.
“This news catches many of us off-guard,” wrote the Rt. Rev. Jacob Owensby, who succeeded MacPherson in 2012. “The news of his death simply seems too soon. Even though we share his faith in eternal life and are grateful that his suffering was brief, we will miss our friend’s good humor, unmistakable deep voice, and his tireless attention to the well-being of the people of God in his care.”
Grace Sears, who served with MacPherson on the TLC’s board, praised his decisiveness: “It seemed to me he was always looking just ahead of the rest of us, ready to move on to the next decision or action we needed to consider. I can imagine him these last few weeks, even as he said farewell to those he loved on earth, looking ahead, anticipating the glory of seeing his Savior.”
“I am grateful … for his friendship and all he contributed to our common life and ministry, especially over many years in our diocese,” wrote the Rt. Rev. George Sumner, Bishop of Dallas. “Now he stands before the throne, where his Lord says, ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’”
Donations may be made in memory of Bishop MacPherson to the youth program at All Souls’.