Celebration of life set for 'Press Gate Bruce'

Celebration of life set for 'Press Gate Bruce'

SAN DIEGO -- Friends and family of Bruce Ragland, known affectionately as "Press Gate Bruce," will pay tribute to him on Dec. 19 when his ashes will be scattered at sea during a celebration of life event off the Ocean Beach Pier.

Ragland, an employee of the Padres since August 1991, died unexpectedly Nov. 24. He was 55.

Ragland started as a guest service representative with the team when the Padres played at Jack Murphy Stadium, which later became Qualcomm Stadium. He then transitioned to Petco Park when it opened in 2004.

Ragland worked the VIP/media gate at Petco Park, where he greeted members of the media upon their arrival, always doing so with a smile.

"Bruce was the only man I've ever met who would make you grin or laugh every time you talked with him," said former San Diego Union-Tribune sportswriter Bill Center, now a Padres employee.

"[He] never had a bad word to say about anyone. His personality was admirable and infectious. I've never met anyone who didn't smile when his name was mentioned."

When the Padres played at Qualcomm Stadium, Ragland was best known for the kisses he would often blow to fans as he walked around the center walkway on the Plaza level.

A showman, for sure. Which makes sense since Ragland was an actor, too. He had bit roles in "Titanic" and "Angels in the Outfield."

At his celebration of life, his family will be taking a boat out to spread his ashes at sea. The boat will pass by the Ocean Beach Pier at around 10:30 a.m. PT.

The event was originally scheduled for Saturday but was canceled because the pier has been closed due to high surf.

The family has suggested bringing flowers and/or balloons to celebrate Ragland's life. The family is also encouraging front-office staff to wear Navy Padres gear. 

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.