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News Obituaries

J. Bruce Innes, health care executive

John Bruce Innes Jr., a former marketing executive for Genesis Health Ventures who was later a senior housing consultant, died July 22 of brain injuries suffered in a fall while he was vacationing in Greece. The Lutherville resident was 70.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Springfield, Pa., he was the son of John B. Innes Sr., a chemist, and Marion Rohrer Innes, a teacher.

A 1962 graduate of Springfield High School, where he was on the school's newspaper editing staff, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at George Washington University, where he belonged to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and was Inter-Fraternity Council president.

He also enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Iowa. He worked in 20th-century literary criticism and enjoyed the Irish poet, William Butler Yates.

"He was a natural writer from the time he was young," said his sister, Linda Troil, a Wernersville, Pa., resident. "He wrote stories that were amazing when he was 10 years old. He was also a natural caregiver and had a playful side, too. He could relate to both the elderly and the young."

Mr. Innes moved to Baltimore in early 1972 and lived in Charles Village and Radnor-Winston and later in Roland Springs.

He initially worked in public relations for Peterson, Howell and Heather, the auto-leasing firm, where he was later director of marketing.

In 1983, he and a colleague formed Douglas-Innes and Co. in downtown Baltimore. The firm did public relations and marketing, including annual reports for universities and hospitals. The company also did preparation and printing for stock and bond issues and served Baltimore's financial community

In 1989, he closed his business and joined Meridian Health Care. After its 1993 sale to Genesis Health Ventures, he served as its vice president of marketing.

"His years at Meridian were his peak," said his wife, Janet Ivins Innes, a retired business owner who lives in Cambridge, Mass. "He was productive and he developed truly innovative programs in elder care that bought him attention in The Wall Street Journal and 'Good Morning America.' He developed an arts program for Alzheimer's patients that allowed them to access memories that caregivers thought they had lost."

After retiring from Genesis in 2001, he worked for Shelter Properties.

Mr. Innes became a consultant and founded his own firm, Innes Works. His clients included the Augsburg Lutheran Home and Springwell Senior Living in Mount Washington. He also ran leadership training seminars throughout the country.

"He was a charismatic leader who could work with the janitor up to the company's president," said Maryann Timon, a Jacksonville, Fla., resident who was a business colleague and a close friend. "He was an amazing person who was a joy to work with. He was respected for his ability and his knowledge. He was an outstanding speech writer and an outstanding speaker himself."

She recalled him as a devoted father, grandfather and uncle.

"As a friend, Bruce was always there to lend an ear," she said.

For his 70th birthday, June 10, he planned a trip with friends to Turkey and Greece.

He was a regular patron at the Prime Rib, City Cafe and Gertrude's restaurants, among others.

"We talked at length before he left for Greece," said Gertrude's restaurateur, John Shields. "Bruce was such a kind, sweet man. He was one of my favorite guests. He was a great conversationalist and at the bar, he could engage all sorts of people. I would have liked to make him my host."

Friends said Mr. Innes enjoyed reading modern literature, science fiction and the literary classics. He also wrote poetry.

"Bruce was a voice of reason," said Robert Hammann, his life partner who owns the Collections shop at the Kenilworth Mall. "He was a good listener and people sought his advice. He often said, 'The universe will take care of you.'"

As a teenager, Mr Innes planted trees and shrubs at his family home and never lost his love of gardening. He kept his Lutherville home filled with hanging baskets and perennial borders. A cookie baker, he made sand tarts that he often took to his office and gave to his family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 13 at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1900 St. Paul St., where he had an active member, a lector and server.

In addition to his partner, his wife of 47 years and his sister, survivors include a son, Jason C. Innes of Cambridge, Mass.; and two grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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