"Boogie" Bruce Engelhardt, who died May 2 after a battle with lung cancer, was a beloved musician and activist who touched a great many lives around Santa Cruz.
He has been memorialized on this page and people are adding poems and comments.
Here is the obit for him written by Pam O'Shaughnessy:
Santa Cruz lost one of its mainstay musicians and activists
with the passing on May 2, 2012, of Bruce Michael
Engelhardt, soon after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
“Boogie” Bruce was born on November 20, 1944, to
Frances and Lester Engelhardt in Hollywood California. He
grew up in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, Los
Angeles County. He graduated from Ulysses S. Grant High
School in Van Nuys and attended Valley Community College.
At San Francisco State College and Long Beach State College
(now Cal State University at Long Beach), Bruce received a
liberal arts education, graduating with a B. A. in English and
Journalism. During this time he developed strong interests in
calligraphy, drawing, and writing and entered into friend-
ships he kept throughout his life. Soon after, he moved to
the Santa Cruz, CA area and lived in Brookdale and in town
for almost 40 years.
Bruce came from a musical family. His Uncle Paul
Engelhardt was a trumpet player and violinist with the Big
Bands of the 30's and 40's. Bruce's first music lessons were
on the drums. He taught himself the piano and guitar in high
school. By college he was singing and playing professionally
in blues bands, becoming a master of barrelhouse piano and
the bottleneck slide guitar. Over the years, he performed
blues, zydeco, and old-timey “hokum” and other historic
American styles on piano, guitar, bass, and percussion, ac-
companying Albert Collins, Clifton Chenier, Elvin Bishop, Jill
Crosten, “Little” Joe Blue, Queen Ida, Steve Mann, and local
favorite bluesman Robert Lowery. “Boog” performed in ev-
ery imaginable venue big and small, from the New Orleans
Jazz and Heritage festival, the Ozark Mountain Folk Festival,
the Redwood Mountain Faire and the Santa Cruz Country
Fair to Club Zayante, Don Quixote's and Lulu's. The many
local bands Bruce performed in include the Yazoo Blues Re-
view, the Club Zayante Jug Stompers, the Dirty Butter Band,
The Tarantulas Jug Band and his regular Tuesday night
group, “DNR”. Due to his decades of dedication and his pas-
sion for the music, he played with an authenticity that few
Besides performing, Bruce had a vast knowledge of many
kinds of music, including gospel, cajun, and world music. He
knew hundreds of songs and had an amazing memory for
recordings and music history. He had many other interests
and joys: his recipe for Santa Cruz Jambolaya was published
in a cookbook; he loved to hike with his friend Harry Evans
at Pogonip, Gray Whale Ranch and Henry Cowell State Park,
and camp with his friends David and Leslie Howell; he was
a community activist, advocating for his neighborhood asso-
ciation, for street musicians, and many other progressive
causes; and he was a long-time NAACP and ACLU member.
Bruce continued to write and make his calligraphy through-
out his life. He had a special soft spot for New Orleans, his
musical and culinary heaven on earth.
His gold was his large circle of friends, which he called his
He leaves a grieving family, his sister and brother-in-law,
Bette and Terry Ogier-Smith of Santa Cruz; his first cousins,
Herb Engelhardt and Mitchell Kahn of Los Angeles County;
cousin Carole Katsouleas of Santa Barbara County; and his
god-daughter, Tracy Evans of Santa Cruz County.
Grateful thanks are extended to Dominican Hospital, Drift-
wood Health Care Center, and the Hospice of Santa Cruz for
their excellent care of Bruce during his illness.
Burial will be private.