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Bruce Welling

May 4, 2020

Passed away on Monday, May 4, 2020, after a brief illness. Bruce leaves behind his wife, Susan McCorquodale, as well as many friends and colleagues. Bruce held a BSc from the Royal Military College of Canada, where he excelled academically and athletically. He also held an LLB from the University of Western Ontario, an LLM from the University of London and a PhD from Bond University. Bruce was a professor at Western Law School for many years until his retirement in 2017. His colleagues and former students will remember his wit, humour and huge intellect. At Bruce’s request, there will be no service. Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Bruce are asked to consider an animal charity of your choice; it would be most appreciated. 

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I have been riling with this news for years and did not realize there was an avenue to express my sincere gratitude for Prof Welling's willingness to teach me. Professor Welling will remain one of my favourite and best professors I have come across in all my studies. I use skills Prof Welling taught me on a daily basis in my legal practice, and will have "who is "he"?" and "what is "it"?" engrained in my mind in perpetuity.

~ Justin Black

Saddened to learn Bruce had passed away. One of the great athletes of our Class at RMC, Bruce was a terrific leader and a brilliant student. I would drop in on him unannounced at Western Business School now and then and he always had time to share a joke with me.

~ Michael Blair

Hi Susan, we will all miss Bruce (or Aardvark as was his nickname many years ago). He was absolutely one of a kind. About 50+ years ago he was one of my best friends. We met in Kingston through our mutual friend Don Welstead and after I came back from a couple of years in Europe Bruce called and we got together at the Ottawa Rugby Club. He was living with Larry Hipfner in Ottawa at that time. Larry, Bruce and I all went off to Western together in '71. Larry and I married and Bruce was always a buddy for both of us. When our son Scott went to Western to finish off his undergrad degree he met Bruce, golfed with him and shared a beer or two with him at the Manor. Scott always thought highly of Bruce too. I am sorry to hear he died so relatively young. Our thoughts are with you.

~ Wendy Harper

I recently found myself contemplating the question of whether cows might, at least in the right circumstance, be land. (I am an income tax lawyer, was considering a farm sale). Later that same day, I read in the Globe & Mail that Professor Welling had died. I won't say "passed away", he would have hated that. I found this page just now when I took a look online to pass on the obituary to a classmate. Reading the comments here, I questioned whether I had in fact listened to an entire lecture on whether cows were land, or whether I was mixing it up with the lecture Elise Pulver refers to above on how you could endorse a cheque on a cow. I think he did both. As a student, I was mostly too callow to understand that Prof Welling was teaching us to be lawyers as that was far more useful than teaching the law. I did, however, eventually learn to open my mind and stop fighting him and even voluntarily took Conflicts with him in 3rd year, a great course. I did not get to take Company with him as he was on sabbatical in Australia that year which has reminded me of the cover of his first edition of Property in Things (which I believe he wrote on his sabbatical). Somehow he managed to convince the publisher of this sober legal text to include a large photo of him on the front cover emerging in his board shorts, shirtless, from the Australian surf.

~ James Murdoch

Dear Susan, I am so sorry to hear the news of Bruce's passing. As a professor, he was iconic. The comments written here speak well to that. After law school, I made a temporary move to Australia and reached out to him for some help, which he gladly and kindly gave me. He also told me to make sure I learned to surf on a Mal, which I did (and he was right). One of my favourite memories from law school and of "Prof. Welling" is of a Halloween where several members of our class dressed up like him in his honour. He never let on. He was always so cool. He was a great man. My heart and best wishes go out to you, and the many others who will miss Bruce.

~ Rebecca Dervaitis Loch - Western Law '06

Bruce was a good friend to me in Ottawa in the late sixties. He bought my beer when I was between jobs. He gave me rides in "Honest John". He excelled at Scrabble. He had a gathering of interesting friends at his and Larry's place all the time. I loved his sense of humour and his unique way of seeing the world. There were ongoing discussions of weighty topics, which everyone enjoyed. It is sad that he was so young. Susan, my sympathies

~ Sylvia White

"Never explain, never retract, never apologize. Just get the thing done and let them howl." Nellie McClung Bruce had that quote on his office wall. Bruce was one of those truly original minds & personalitys you run into all too rarely...

~ William Wallace Tooke

I just learned of Bruce's passing and I wanted to convey my condolences to his family and my respect for Bruce to the world. He was one of the most remarkable people that I've met, and I still smile when I think of his consistent, principled and thoughtful approach to legal issues and drafting. Once I adjusted my "lens" to his point of view, I found his teachings fascinating and helpful. He will be missed but not forgotten.

~ Jake Bullen - Western Law '97

Susan, I just leaned about Bruce's passing. I am so sorry for your loss. Bruce was definitely one of the most memorable and fascinating professors I had in law school; and he really made you think. I feel very lucky to have been in his class. Among other things, I still use the short form writing style he taught us (and have passed the tip on to my children). I hope you are doing ok.

~ Stephanie Vaccari

Susan, I just leaned about Bruce's passing. I am so sorry for your loss. Bruce was definitely one of the most memorable and fascinating professors I had in law school; and he really made you think. I feel very lucky to have been in his class. Among other things, I still use the short form writing style he taught us (and have passed the tip on to my children). I hope you are doing ok.

~ Stephanie Vaccari

I learned recently of Bruce's passing. I'm so sorry for your loss, Susan. Bruce made law school interesting and exciting. I had come from a philosophy background and he was a cool breeze of fresh air in what often felt like a confined and stuffy learning environment. Bruce challenged you to think and express yourself with care and precision, always with a mischievous grin and a glint in his eyes. I recall chats in his office about law, life and surfing (as an avid windsurfer, I was fascinated by his surfing exploits in California and Australia), surfboard propped up in the corner. Bruce's corporate law exam was bizarre, funny and ridiculously challenging. It has been the source of many stories over the years. In late 2017 I returned to the law school to deliver a talk to students on mediation, my area of practice. As luck would have it, Bruce was in his office that day. We had a great chat and shared a few laughs. He still had that mischievous grin. He seemed genuinely happy to see I had found my calling in the profession. He told me he was to retire at the end of that school year. Bruce was a one of a kind who touched many lives. He will be greatly missed.

~ Bernard Morrow, Western Law '85

(Donated to An animal charity of your choice)

~ Syd Usprich

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~ Faculty of Law

(Donated to An animal charity of your choice)

~ David Simpson

Susan, I just leaned about Bruce's passing. I am so sorry for your loss. Bruce was definitely one of the most memorable and fascinating professors I had in law school; and he really made you think. I feel very lucky to have been in his class. Among other things, I still use the short form writing style he taught us (and have passed the tip on to my children). I hope you are doing ok.

~ Stephanie Vaccari

(Donated to An animal charity of your choice)

~ Rande

Very sad to hear this. Bruce and I became buddies in 1981-82, when he did a sabbatical in San Diego. He and I would go surfing up every weekend, sometimes every day, up and down the coast. When my wife Christine and I moved into our first house in Pacific Beach Bruce came to live with us in the Granny flat. We had some memorable and wild trips down to Baja to search for surf spots, lobster BBQs, margaritas etc. I still have my two pair of "Bruce Welling white tie pants" that he convinced me to buy and that I still love wearing, which I'll do now with a tear in my eye. What a character, who enriched my life as well as that of so many others.

~ Bill Harris

I was sad to hear of Professor Welling's passing. He was my professor for property and company law. He was challenging and witty and left a lasting impression. I had a great deal of respect for him. He will be missed.

~ Kathryn Meehan

Very sad to hear of Bruce's passing. Spent 5 years with Bruce in military college as a friend and frequent sports teammate and for some years after, had frequent contact, including his being my best man. The drumbeat he marched to was always a little different but highly entertaining! He will be missed. My condolences to his family.

~ David Simpson

Dear Susan, my condolences to you and your family. I was shocked to read of Bruce's passing. Bruce was my small group prof in property law in first year law school. I never forgot his insistence on clear writing, he would wield his red pen on a memo and point out jumbled writing with a large PROLIX exclamation. I almost quit law school when my father died in first year, and he talked me out of it, and mentored me, and gave me a job doing research on his corporate law book when I was broke. He was brilliant and funny and original. And he used to buy a bunch of us beer at the Grad pub and tell us stories about surfing. What a great loss.

~ Victoria Reaume

I was a member of the Bruce's graduating class at Western Law in 1974. I cannot say I knew him well, but I distinctly remember him as someone who marched to the beat of his own drum. He accepted nothing that could not be justified by sound logic and was was particularly sceptical of any theory advanced by a professor who could not back it up with a well reasoned argument - a good attitude for both a law student and any lawyer as well I think. I was very pleased that he taught my son as part of the class of 2017. God Speed and Rest In Peace, Bruce.

~ Guy Wainwright

Stubborn, gifted, combative, devoted, exasperating, principled, obliging, inscrutable, witty, inspiring. Socrates new adversary and companion will be fondly and forever remembered by his grateful students and faithful friends.

~ John Collins

I was very sorry to hear about Bruce. He was my colleague at Western Law from 2006, when I joined the faculty from Dalhousie, until his retirement in 2017. As a teacher, his understanding and pedagogical use of professorial irony were simply masterful (and, I sensed, occasionally a little enigmatic for at least some of his students). As a scholar, his contribution to corporate law in Canada has, of course, been unparalleled. As a colleague, he was a rare find. He and I had somewhat different perspectives on many aspects of corporate law, and it was always a delight to discuss issues with him because one could count on the creativity of his analysis, his unfailing good humour, and his tireless insistence on doctrinal consistency. Bruce was a true original. Many colleagues and students of corporate law owe him a substantial debt indeed. He will be greatly missed.

~ Christopher Nicholls

Susan My condolences on Bruce's recent death. I knew Bruce in Kingston when he was at RMC as well as when he lived in Ottawa ( 1972) and London in 1977-78. He was a unique and amazingly intelligent person who was always fun with whom to share conversations, music and sports. He had a really quick wit and joy in living life to the fullest. I taught at Western also in the Nursing faculty and we shared stories about early teaching challenges. He was a great friend, but we totally lost touch after I left London. So sorry for your loss. He will be missed by many of his classmates , colleagues and friends.

~ Donna Mossman

Susan, my deepest condolences for your loss. I have many fond memories of Bruce, both while at UWO as his Tax and Conflicts student and afterwards at numerous "Greater Newfoundland" golf weekends. He will be greatly missed. Ed

~ Ed Heakes

Dear Susan, May memories bring you comfort during this time. My sincere condolences to you and your family, Hugs

~ Linda Robbins

I am very sorry to hear about the passing of Professor Welling. My best wishes go out to his entire family. I thoroughly enjoyed his classes during my first and second year of law school, and appreciate the interest he took in each of his students. I hope he will be keeping it in the fairway!

~ Peter Cimino

Susan, my condolences. Bruce was my student, colleague and friend for almost 50 years. He was principled, challenging and steadfast. He was truly a renaissance man and one of the most interesting men I have ever known. His demand for precision in the use of language was legendary but more importantly when he gave his word he kept it. Good by, my friend.

~ Wes Rayner

I am very saddened about Bruce's passing. I was very fortunate to have been one of Bruce's students at Western in the early 1980's (class of 1982). Bruce didn't want to teach you -- he wanted to instill in you the ability to learn and think by yourself. Great skills for not just lawyers, but for anyone in life. He was also a lot of fun to be around, whether it be on the football field or in a social setting. My condolences to his family.

~ Roger Ramonat

Dr. Welling taught me property law at Western. He was unique and way too intelligent for me. I changed careers soon after law school and Dr. Welling is one of the few professors I remember clearly. My condolences.

~ Dr. Larry Yelen

In 1972 Bruce , Larry and I lived in Granny's Lightouse in Ottawa. We lost touch, but I often quote him. "Annisifoot's lemna: There are no problems. If it has a solution it's not a problem. If it doesn't it's a fact of life." "Style warmth and comfort; not necessarily in that order." "Ignorance is no excuse, but nexcience isn't culpable." Never forgotten.

~ Ted Lightly

My deepest condolences for your loss. Bruce was an exceptional scholar and teacher. I only worked with him briefly but his wit and insight left a lasting memory. Bruce made an enormous contribution to corporate law scholarship and his work and memory will live on.

~ Jason Harris

Bruce will be missed. He was the best professor I ever had and his lessons will have a lasting impact on my life. My thoughts and prayers go out to Bruce and all those he has left behind.

~ Jonathan Lin

I want to offer my deepest condolences. I was blessed to have been Bruce's colleague for eleven years, and I am proud that we maintained contact afterwards. Bruce was one of the most courageous people I've ever met. We're all a little bit poorer for his loss. My thoughts are with you, Susan.

~ Ian Holloway

Dear Susan, I send my condolences on Bruce's death. He was a warm, funny, insightful, original, and iconoclastic person. He made a huge impression on me when I was a student, and I was glad to be able to stay in touch with him over the years and to produce some scholarship with him. Things he taught me still come back to me, especially when I am at the front of the classroom, even though I graduated 30 years ago. May your warm memories lift you up in difficult times.

~ Lionel Smith

My deepest condolences to Professor Welling's family and friends. He was the best professor I ever had. I'll never forget his patience and mentoring - I am forever thankful for the privilege of being his student. God rest his soul.

~ Don Bocchinfuso

For the twelve years we were colleagues at Western, it was always a refresh in the day to catch up with Bruce for a few chuckles or talk of surf. Our condolences.

~ Mark Perry

For the twelve years we were colleagues at Western, it was always a refresh in the day to catch up with Bruce for a few chuckles or talk of surf. Our condolences.

~ Mark Perry

Dear Susan, Bruce was a valued and principled colleague for many years at Western. I did not always agree with his positions, but I respected him for presenting them with conviction. After I retired and visited the law school, Bruce always welcomed me into his office and we'd spend a delightful 20 minutes or so reminiscing about our experiences there. He was one of a kind. I offer you my sincere condolences and hope you will receive strength and support from family and friends during this difficult time.

~ Albert Oosterhoff

Hello, Susan. We have never met, but Meredith Bateman sent your email to a group of family members. I am very sorry for your loss. Although Bruce's contact with the rest of us was limited over the past while, he was still my only brother, and a bit of a hero for me when I was a kid (7 years younger than Bruce). If there is ever anything I can do for you, let me know.

~ Linda Welling

One of my favourite law professors for he had the courage to tell students focused marks to go pound rocks and start thinking at the risk of looking stupid in order to grow. His class and seminal book on Property Law stand as one of my most rewarding parts of law school. He will be missed/

~ Phillip MIllar

Bruce was a wonderful person and teacher. Bruce touched the lives of many people and influenced many students with his teachings and humour. He was a spirited person who will be missed. I am sorry for your loss Susan.

~ Caroline Abela

Susan, we are sorry to hear about Bruce's death. I remember when Mom and I visited the two of you almost 20 years ago. It was nice to have reconnected with him and to have met you. If there i sanything I c an do for you or any information you need that I might have, feel free to ask.

~ Noreen Bateman

Susan, I am Bruce's big sister and wish I could have met you. I have so many good memories of him as a wee one, later as a univ. milt. student and being at his grad from Kingston. /we had many gabfests in Ottawa & North Bay as he would visit fairly often. We lost touch when I moved to Calgary & I have always hoped to see him again one day. I am glad he had you.

~ Irene {Welling} Smith

Susan, please accept my condolences at this difficult time. Bruce was my colleague for 39 years and he really was one of a kind. When I first joined the faculty, I was amazed at his athleticism. The faculty members had a touch football team that competed against students from across campus and Bruce could cover anyone who went deep. All through his career, he was conscientious, hardworking, and an original thinker. His wit and way with words was impressive, especially at faculty meetings.

~ Ben Hovius

Dear Susan: Nobody had a more sustained impact on me professionally than my late friend and mentor, Bruce Welling. He was incredibly generous with his time and spirit. I still hear his voice - "Hello Adam!" - generously welcoming me into his office when I would appear unannounced (as I often did). Bruce's message was consistently the same - poor expression ("adjectival analysis", he would lament) makes simple concepts needlessly difficult. No one made this point quite as often or quite like Bruce. Practically every lecture I have delivered has been influenced by Bruce's perspective on the value of clear expression. And he practiced what he preached. His writing is a clinic on simple expression. Bruce helped me become a better law teacher and communicator. I was saddened to hear of Bruce's passing. I was honoured to benefit from Bruce's friendship and mentorship. Bruce was truly one of a kind. And to prove it, I can feel him wincing at my use of the word "truly". He is missed already. Adam Parachin

~ Adam Parachin

I am terribly sorry to hear of Bruce's passing. He was simply one of the best teachers I ever had. Among many other things, he challenged you - in the best possible way, I am fortunate to have known him as well as I did.

~ Jeff Carhart

I was saddened to learn this news! My relationship with Prof. Welling was one I cherished. As a mature student living with a disability who had cancer during law school, and later as a human rights lawyer, Prof. Welling was an endless source of quiet encouragement to me. We bonded over our love of cats. :) I was ALWAYS welcomed to sit in his office for a chat whenever I visited the school. He encouraged me to speak and write my truth, advocating to make Canada more accessible for everyone. His unwavering belief in me was one I greatly cherished, and will carry with me always. May the memories bring all those who loved him much comfort, now and in the days ahead.

~ Lorin MacDonald, Class of 2009

My condolences Susan, I am a cousin of Bruce's from New Brunswick.

~ Deb Brando

Professor Welling was one of a kind. I was in his first year property class in 1999. I can still hear him say "does not compute" when he didn't like how I phrased a question. He taught us that a cheque could be endorsed on a cow and it would still be a cheque. He said a horse would still be a horse if you called it a cow. I remember listening to him saying "WTF" all of the time but now hearing that he has passed I wished I could have told him how much I learned from him. I have some weird memory of a mirror in his office for his cats?! He loved cars!! He was such a bright mind that I don't think I fully appreciated until now and it's too late to let him know. Thanks for your dedication to our profession. You will be missed.

~ Elise Pulver

Susan I am so shocked and saddened by the news of Bruce's passing. He will be sorely missed at the golf course as well as his amazing wit and many outings with Serge when I would see them both. My sincerest condolences and I know you will keep in your heart the wonderful memories you shared together. I hope you can find peace in that. With much sadness xojeanne

~ JEANNE Campanale

I am very sorry to hear of Bruce's passing. I had the great privilege to know Bruce as a student, a colleague, a friend, and an occasional golf partner. Bruce was an absolute delight to be with - witty, charming, intellectual, athletic, competitive, challenging, and honest. I am proud to say that I am a better person for having known Bruce, and I have very fond memories of the time we spent together. My deepest condolences.

~ Philip King

I too rank Bruce among my favourite professors. My approach to corporate law through my 35 year career was heavily influenced by Bruce's practical, logical, foundational and entertaining way of thinking and teaching. I have never allowed a corporate veil to be donned on any of my tough corporate clients! The example he set in injecting humour into legal writing, particularly the footnotes, opened the door for me to (try) to do the same. A number of Western grads practiced at the firm I was with and our appreciation for Bruce was certainly one of our bonds. He made his mark and was one of a kind. This is sad news indeed and I'm very sorry for your loss Susan.

~ Margaret Grottenthaler

We are so sad to hear the news of Bruce's passing. We will miss him at the golf course. Our sincerest condolences. You are all in our hearts and prayers.

~ Bill and Karen Merrylees

I was very sorry to learn today of Bruce's passing. I don't think that our paths ever crossed again after I graduated from UWO Law in 1982, but I still think about and actively implement principles that Bruce taught me in his corporate law and private international law courses, not just about the law, but also about how to think and express myself. I also fondly remember him from the touch football field and the spirited battles between Bruce, the professors squad, and our collection of student misfits, the Space Cadets! RIP.

~ Fraser McDonald

Very sorry indeed to hear the news and my sincere condolences to Susan and the rest of Bruce's family. We were colleagues for over 32 years and I always appreciated Bruce's keen wit, incisive comments and insistence on correct use of grammar! Bruce was always one of the fittest members of faculty and it was quite a shock to hear the news. He will be missed.

~ Winnie Holland

I will never forget his first year property law class. He was a good man, and in many ways a brilliant one. I am sorry to learn of his passing.

~ Paul Morrison

Susan, I know you and I have never met, but I was shocked and distressed to hear of Bruce's passing, and so I write. I was only his student for a year but, to be honest, it was his sociability and openness and willingness to try new things, think about new things, and to be open-minded in his thinking, and trying to make law school subjects just plain fun - just generally the way he did things that I remember! Everyone who has sent their condolences has captured some of the essence of his personality, which, like the others who have sent their condolences, I hope will recall some cherished and comforting and enjoyable memories for you. I am so sorry, not only for your profound loss, but for the loss that is clearly felt by those who knew him, however slightly. He did, indeed, touch all who knew him. He will be missed.

~ Valerie M'Garry

Hi Susan...I am so very sorry to hear of Bruce's was a pleasure knowing him all these years. Tony and I send you our sincerest and deepest condolences for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and wish you peace and comfort at this difficult time.

~ Sina Giugno

I was shocked and grieved to hear about the passing of this complicated, brilliant man, a rare iconoclast in a more conventional time and place. Although I have not seen or spoken to him in decades, his impact on me as a student, lawyer, and human being, was such that I think of him often. I still remember my first ever Personal Property class when Professor Welling strolled to the front of the room in his bare feet. I also recall his downright hilarious but demonical exam questions and the surfboard standing in his office. During my time at Western Law, I got to know Bruce quite well and was honoured to spend the occasional weekend looking after his house and feline baby when he was away. Susan, my heart goes out to you on the loss of a companion and partner whom I am sure kept life interesting.

~ Helena Birt - Class of 1983

I was shocked and saddened to hear Professor Welling passed away earlier this week. I was his research assistant on the 2nd edition of his Corporate Law book following my second year at Western Law. The application for that position was probably the most creative I have ever had to be for a job. He always called me by my last name and added "de" before it. He was a guiding force and strong mentor to me in the early stages of my legal career. His advice on my choice of articling position (discussed while I was in a phone booth at the corner of Queen and Bay in Toronto) - which I followed - was insightful, fortuitous and delivered with the same wit and intelligence that all our conversations had. Fortuitous as I met my spouse at the firm he told me to sign with. While I had not spoken to him in many years his impact on me both as my corporate professor and first employer in the legal field will stay with me always. My deepest condolences to you, Susan. May his memory be a blessing.

~ Sue Valencia, Class of 1991

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