Bruce Philpott, former Pasadena Police Chief and Glendale City Council candidate, dies

Former Pasadena Police Chief and Glendale City Council candidate Bruce Philpott died this week after about 14 years of battling throat and tongue cancer.

Philpott, who was known for being outspoken and tenacious, died on Tuesday in his Pasadena home, surrounded by family.

The 70-year-old was once active in Glendale politics and well-known for his critiques of the Glendale Fire Department, which he believed could be more efficient and enact cost savings if it reduced staffing on fire engines.

When he was 21, he joined the Pasadena Police Department, moving up the ranks to chief of police. He retired from the police force in 1991.

He ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2009 and for state Assembly in 1994. He ran as a Democrat for the state Assembly seat in the 44th district, which, at the time, included cities such as Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena and San Marino.

"He had a passion for social issues around fairness and equity and that's what we grew up talking about our whole lives," said his daughter, Kris Strong, adding that he instilled his passion for social justice in her and her siblings.

Philpott, who raised his three children in Glendale, moved to Pasadena about six years ago.

He was also involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena, Planned Parenthood and other organizations that addressed social issues.

He loved tackling controversial topics and coming up with solutions, Strong said.

"He loved controversy. It was interesting to him," she said.

He also had a passion for classic cars and enjoyed driving around in his beloved 1938 Studebaker, which he called "Commander." He would frequent car shows in Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena and adored long road trips.

In addition, Philpott was known for his giving nature. He took care of his parents as they grew older and his grandmother lived with him for some time when she could no longer be independent. He also was quick to help his nieces and nephews pay for college, Strong said.

"He was very generous," she said.

A celebration of life is expected to be scheduled for a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena, 3230 E. Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena, 91107, in Philpott's honor. To contact the club, visit

Besides Strong, Philpott is survived by his other children, Kelly Sturgeon and Greg Philpott, his brother, Kent Philpott, and his five grandchildren.

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