Many and terrible are the tales of starvation and deprivation along the Mormon Trail from Nauvoo to the Great Basin, but none are more poignant than those of the Martin and Willie Handcart companies that were caught by a early winter blizard and decimated as food ran out in the high plains of Wyoming before rescuers sent by President Brigham Young arrived with food suppies. Elder H. Bruce Stucki is a descendant of stalwart pioneers of the Martin Company and perhaps in gratitude for the aid given his ancestors has found the opportunity to rescue many himself.
H. Bruce Stucki was born in Saint George, Utah December 1, 1937. Born to Harvey Stucki and Anna Hilda Wittwer, his father was descended from John S. Stucki, who was but a lad when he crossed the plains with the Martin Handcart Company in 1856. Bruce was raised in a gospel centered family in a strong LDS community. He was baptized as a child and received the Aaronic Priesthood as a youth. Raised in the farming community of Santa Clara, Utah, Bruce developed a strong work ethic at an early age as he learned to bail hay, irrigate orchards, and drive tractors.
Bruce married Cheryl Cox in 1955 in Saint George. Two years later they were sealed in the Saint George Temple. They would have six children. At the time of his call into the Second Quorum of the Seventy they had seventeen grandchildren.
After high school Bruce was awarded an Associate's Degree from Dixie College, then moved to Salt Lake City where he enrolled in the University of Utah and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management.
Bruce built on his degree and his childhood experience as he became the Chief Executive Officer of RMC Foods, a food distribution business, and later the Managing General Partner of the Rocky Mountain Company, a real estate development company.
In the Church, Elder Stucki has been called to serve as a Bishop, a Stake President, Regional Representative of the Twelve, and Area Authority for the Utah South Area before being called to full-time service to the Lord as President of the England Manchester Mission in 1997. He was still in the mission field when he received his five-year call as a General Authority. He was ordained a Seventy and set apart to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in Spring of 1999.
Several times in his life, the Lord placed Elder Stucki in a position to provide succor to others. One one occasion the family was boating on Lake Powell. Rounding a bend in the canyon they noticed what appeared to be a buoy but which proved to be the tip of a capsized boat. They were able to save four adults and one small child. Sister Stucki explained the special circumstances of the rescue to a reporter from the Church News: "What's interesting about that event," said Sister Stucki, "is what happened beforehand to make the rescue possible. With our family of six, there was no room to carry extra items. But on this occasion, after packing our prepared meals at home as we did, we had extra food, so we packed it. Then, just before leaving, I decided to take cloth diapers and pins. The children thought it was rather strange since they were older and out of diapers." The Stuckis were able to share the extra food with the young family and provide diapers for the little child.
On another occasion Elder Stucki and his son-in-law were flying from Salt Lake to Saint George. Qualified to fly under instrument conditions they took off despite snow which was beginning to fall. They soon climbed above the clouds and were headed south in the vicinity of Delta, Utah when they heard a distress call from another aircraft. The other pilot was not instument qualified and was trapped above the clouds, with low fuel and no way to get down to land. Elder Stucki was requested by an Air Traffic Controller to provide such assistance as he could. Dropping his nose, Elder Stucki found that the clouds broke up at an altitude of some two thousand feet and was able to talk the other pilot down through the cloud cover.
Elder H. Bruce Stucki was granted a release from the Second Quorum in October, 2006, and given a vote of thanks by a grateful Church in General Conference assembled.