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Acacia Memorial Park & Funeral Home

14951 Bothell Way Ne, Seattle, WA

OBITUARY

Bruce Leven

June 12, 1938September 15, 2017

Bruce Leven June 12, 1938 - Sept. 15, 2017

(digital image attached, courtesy of ISC Archives & Research Center)

During the late 1970s and 1980s, Seattle businessman Bruce Leven pursued his dreams and competed at the top level of North American sports-car racing.

He was born in Chicago on June 12, 1938, and two years later moved with his family to Seattle.

In 1964 the ambitious entrepreneur bought Bayside Disposal as a one-truck, one-employee waste-and-scrap hauling business in Seattle, built it into a very successful concern and then sold the company in 1987 as a vertically integrated 400-truck, 500-employee, multi-state operation. Subsequently, he purchased several other disposal and landfill businesses and operated them until he died on Sept. 15.

His affinity to the Porsche marque began in the '70s when he owned and raced different Porsche models in local SCCA competition, earning the 1977 B-Improved Production-class regional championship. He subsequently raced in the Trans-Am Series and was the 1979 Rookie of the Year, then moved into IMSA Camel GT competition with an ex-Brumos Porsche 935.

As a gentleman racing driver, Leven surrounded himself with international stars that led to the success of his privately-entered Bayside Disposal Racing team - including three victories in the Twelve Hours of Sebring (1981, 1987, 1988). He enlisted such drivers as Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood, Al Holbert, Scott Pruett, Hans Stuck, Bob Wollek, and others to compete in the IMSA GT series in Porsche 935s and 962s, and Dominic Dobson and Jeff Andretti in Lola open-wheel racers in the CART Indy Car series.

In Leven's best-ever 1987 season his team earned six wins, with drivers Jochen Mass and Bobby Rahal finishing third and fifth in the championship despite entering only half the races. For good measure, three-time Le Mans winner Klaus Ludwig also contributed to that dream season with a solo win of his own. Leven was very proud that his small private team achieved such great success against major factory-backed efforts from Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar and Nissan.

Leven disbanded the racing team in the 1990s and turned his attention back to business. His love of cars and things mechanical led him into other new ventures as well. He founded the Bayside Automotive Group - consisting of several new-car dealerships in the Seattle area, including two Bayside Porsche franchises - and Lake Union Air, a commercial float plane business.

In his later years, Leven returned to his first love: building and showing customized cars and hot rods. Not surprisingly, he achieved great success in this endeavor as well, winning numerous prestigious awards, including multiple Best of Class wins at SEMA, the National Roadster Show, and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association national events. His last project, a custom 1951 Ford Club Coupe was chosen as the 2016 SEMA Grand Turismo Award winner and will appear in a future edition of Sony’s popular PlayStation video game. The Ford has continued to rack up accolades across the U.S. including the Gene Winfield Award, three Goodguys Builders Choice Awards, Custom Rod of the Year finalist (Scottsdale Goodguys), PPG Dream Car and will be featured on the Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube channel.

He was a true Renaissance man with multiple passions. In addition to his business and racing endeavors, he was also an avid boater, aviator, studied collector of Western American Art, outdoorsman and world hunter, amassing such achievements as the African “Big 5” and North American 29 "Super Slam."

Leven leaves behind many close friends in the racing and business community, along with four children - Bruce (Melinda) Leven II, Michael Leven (C. Roxanne Robbin), Scott (Debbie) Leven, and Cydnee Stockton - and nine grandchildren - Jansen Leven, Troy Leven, Morgan Leven, Miranda Stockton, Alex Leven, Jack Stockton, Adrian Leven, Chad Leven and Shay Leven.

There are no memorial services scheduled at this time.

Memories

Bruce Leven

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Jeff Phillips

August 2, 2018

Bruces son Bruce was one of my buddies growing up in Clyde Hill (late 60's to mid 70's) and although much younger than Bruce Sr. I was able to observe and learn from his life.

For years Bruce Sr's daily driver was a Pantera and we could hear him coming home from work each day from 3 blocks away. Us kids would watch in awe as he passed. Here was a real person living larger than life. My thoughts were, "I want to live like that".

As a young kid I learned from close up exposure to Bruce and his family that it is possible to dream big, live those dreams, accomplish many things both big and small and still be a high quality, regular guy. Knowing this I dreamed big, have lived those dreams and beyond.

Bruces love of cars rubbed off on me. Not just looking at them but working on them and owning them.

I thought of Bruce last night sitting at a car show with my latest prized muscle car.

Jerry Higgins

July 22, 2018

I remember his team racing at Road America in the 80s in a rain storm ,and a car spun on the main straight,hurley Haywood was driving and a car slowed up just ahead of him,and it was up the hill and he couldn't see it till it was too late and crashed into it,and Bruce was yelling at the starters stand ,why didn't you stop the race,,it was raining very hard,and he asked them,what are you afraid of Al Hilbert,I won't be back,it sounded like a bomb went off when the cars collided

John Scherer

March 20, 2018

Bruce....Thank you for those Great Race stories, competitive laps..and sense of humor suiting up in the hauler !
I will miss you in the grid, and those memorable fights to the checker.
I am honored to be called your friend.
JS

Kathleen Moss

February 14, 2018

I never knew Bruce....
I'm just here to thank him for his more than generous donation to Seattle Children's Hospital.

Your decision will help make so many lives better....hope all is well wherever you rode off to.

Kathleen Moss

February 13, 2018

I never knew Bruce....
I'm just here to thank him for his more than generous donation to Seattle Children's Hospital.

Your decision will help make so many lives better....hope all is well wherever you rode off to.

David Hellene

October 29, 2017

Bruce,

It was a pleasure to know you and watch you race.
You always took time out to socialize with friends and fans
and it did not go unnoticed.

You will be missed!

Dave Hellene

brenda stahl

October 26, 2017

So sorry for the families loss. I always enjoyed visiting with Bruce and worked for his company for 5 years

Brad and Debbie Briscoe

October 25, 2017

Bruce, you were a very energetic person for sure. Debbie and I really enjoyed getting to know you the past 10 years or so. We shared many stories about cars and racing. I still remember the day we were in line with our cars to receive a trophy at a car show. You got out of your car and walked over to mine and said, "I really like your car". Coming from you that meant a lot especially with all of the passion and attention to detail you had while working with your cars. RIP my friend.

Peter Remedios

October 18, 2017

I had the pleasure of knowing Bruce the past five years on a weekly basis. He was a proud man, full of advice, which he was certainly willing to share. This made him endearing, colorful and his stories will be remembered by those of us blessed enough to know this man. He was both private and larger than life. That's "Bruce".
He will be and already is missed.

Steve Ellingboe

October 13, 2017

Bruce was the most interesting person I have ever known. He was a customer, friend and adviser. We had many common interests. I truly enjoyed his company. I will miss you buddy.

FROM THE FAMILY