Karl Bruce Zellers
A Renaissance man and artist, Karl Bruce Zellers, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at Stamford Hospital after a brief illness. He was surrounded by his wife and life partner of over 49 years, Christine Belich, and their children, Zoe Paris and Zakary Hudson, who were each the true loves of his life.
As the founder and designer of Zellers Design, Bruce thoughtfully committed his creative eye and refined sense of design to beautify the world around us through his landscape designs and masterplans. He leaves behind an incredible portfolio of estate gardens and exterior designs for discerning clients throughout Fairfield County, Conn., the U.S., and extending to the Caribbean. Bruce cared deeply about environmental conservation and coastal preservation, and was also a free-willed and conscientious vegetarian for nearly his whole life. Guided by his personal integrity, Bruce planted thousands of trees during his career — a reflection of his genuine dedication to nurturing the world around him.
A true family man, Bruce loved to spend time on his porch at his Shippan Point home, sharing stories about his childhood growing up in Salem, Ohio. He was born there on Jan. 7, 1954, the son of Karl Bruce Zellers, an accomplished athletic coach and professor, and Lois Ann DeWalt, also a teacher, and loving brother to Deborah, Chesney and Kirk. Bruce’s love of going to concerts with his sister Debi blossomed into a lifelong passion for music which he shared with his children, friends, and the many strangers he welcomed on his porch.
Bruce will be remembered by all as a patient, wise, honest, generous, and kind soul who made everyone feel welcome. He always believed in supporting small business, tipping extra, and went out of his way to offer landscaping consulting to many over the years. He believed in paying it forward and employed several neighborhood kids throughout summers, coached Stamford basketball for both his children’s teams, helped an Eagle Scout earn his badge, and provided design consultation for community projects.
Having grown up just blocks apart in Salem, Christine and Bruce’s lives were forever intertwined, taking them through college at Kent State University, to their travels together throughout Europe, Morocco, and Mexico, and to Houston, where they restored their first home together and Bruce learned fluent Spanish. They moved to New York City, before settling in Stamford, Conn. to raise their children. A dynamic couple, Bruce and Christine enjoyed partnering on various design projects, but none best represents their distinct aesthetic and appreciation for antiques and art than the carefully curated early 20 th century home in Shippan where they raised Zoe and Zak and their two standard poodles, Elvis and Balthazar.
Bruce loved sharing memorable meals with friends and family, especially in Cape Cod, where he enjoyed summer sunsets and homemade apple pies with his parents, whom he greatly admired, his siblings, and later, with his own family.
A calm and gentle figure, who always stopped to smell the roses, Bruce believed the glass was half-full in life. Lovingly regarded by many as “the world’s most interesting man,” he found great pleasure in the simple art of telling stories about past adventures, music, basketball, games of pool, his latest grill recipes, antiques, books, architecture, and the history of just about anything. The greatest way to honor Bruce’s legacy is to let the incredible way he lived his life guide and inspire your own — he led with patience and open arms, always saw the bright side of life, was ever willing to lend a helping hand, and found deep satisfaction in life’s greatest gifts: nature’s beauty, a good song, and the company of his friends and family.
Bruce leaves behind lifelong friends, from Ohio to New Orleans to Connecticut to Australia, and is survived by his wife, Christine Belich; daughter, Zoe Paris Zellers (Christine Lyons); son, Zakary Hudson Zellers; sisters Deborah Meduri (Umberto Meduri) and Chesney Gulas (John Gulas); sisters-in-law, Cathy Belich and Laura Zellers; brother-in-law Dan Belich; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and brother Kirk.
The family will hold a private service and scatter his ashes at the Cape Cod National Seashore.
If you would like to leave a condolence message online, please visit the family guestbook to share memories at www.bosakfuneralhome.com.