Bond Holds Familiar Roles, Chooses New Career

Bruce Bond has been a member of the Pearl River Board of Education and the Rotary Club of Pearl River for over 20 years, but he just left the insurance industry after over 30 years.

Bruce Bond understands the draw of staying in one place.

He grew up on E. Washington Avenue in Pearl River. He has since lived on Main St. and Ridge Street before moving in what used to be his grandparents' house on Main St. in 1976 and staying there.

"I don't move too far," Bond said with a laugh. "A few blocks. I only crossed Central Avenue once. Never Middletown Road or 304."

He is also in his 24th year on the Pearl River School District's Board of Education and he has over 20 years on the Rotary Club of Pearl River.

"I would say he is an institution and an institution in a good way," said Pearl River School District Director of Community Relations Sandra Cokeley, also a member of the rotary club. "He brings that rich sense of history that is so important to an organization, especially in times of transition. We have new leadership and changes in education in general."

That said, Bond also knows when to make a change. He recently left the insurance business after over 30 years at age 58 to follow a relatively new passion -- selling wine.

Bond began selling insurance for Sears in the 1970s, transferring to Allstate in the early '80s. He was there for over 30 years, the last 11 as an independent contractor with his office on Middletown Road, a business he recently sold.

"It was time to make a change," Bond said. "The industry is changing and not necessarily for the better."

Bond is now working for Station Plaza Wine in Bronxville with the goal of eventually working for a distributor selling wine.

"I'm fulfilling my passion for wine," Bond said. "It's going pretty well. I'm learning the wine trade."

Bond said he rarely even drank wine before being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2002. His system cannot tolerate wheat or gluten.

"No wine, pasta or beer," Bond said. "I was never much of a wine drinker before that. Since then, I went to Napa Valley (California). Went to Tuscany (Italy) with my cousins a few years back. I got bitten by the wine bug."

Bond said he did consider a run for the Orangetown Town Board this year, but that was after the Rockland County Republican Convention. He said the new job and family issues got in the way, so he decided to pass.

"I figured with two open seats, if I was ever going to do it, this was the time, but it wasn't right," Bruce said. "I will stick with the school board. My term is up next July, so I have an election in May."

Bond's mother worked for the Pearl River School District after he graduated high school and his wife, Jean, was involved in the PTA, so that led to his own involvement. Bond takes pride in the work that the district has done over the years he has been on the board.

"We've done a good job in the district," Bond said. "I guess the most rewarding thing is the system we have been able to put in place. WE are able to up the ante and increase standards no matter who the players are. (Dr. John Morgano) is the fifth superintendent (I have worked with). I was involved in hiring foru of them. With (former Superintendent Dr.) Frank (Auriemma) leaving, I'm probably the guy who has been there the longest in terms of the administration."

Bond was on the board while his three children, Doreen, Brian and Adrienne, attended Pearl River Schools.

"I was president for maybe 12 of the years I've been on the board," Bond said. "At one time, I probably knew more of the kid at the high school than the principal, or at least as many. I probably knew the whole district when my kids were in school.

"Now my role has changed. I don't know all of the kids any more. But I have history. My days of being president or vice president, in my opinion, I'd rather see that be somebody who has kids in the system so they are more on top of what is going on day-to-day."

Bond used to be involved in more community activities, such as running the alumni football game and working with the youth group at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. In addition to his work with Rotary club as a member of the scholarship committee, Bond is involved in the annual March of Dimes walk in Pearl River.

"I've always been involved," Bond said. "I guess that goes back to my boy scout days in Troop 36 in the Lutheran Church. I was an Eagle Scout. You can only do so much. I'm down to two major things."


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