Trace Daniel Bulger, 23, died on October 23, 2019, at home with his family in Noblesville, Indiana. Trace’s first name means courageous, battler, or brave, which are qualities that have always defined him. Now and forever, Trace will battle for his friends and family to join him in heaven.
Trace is survived by his parents, Dan and Amy, and younger sisters, Shaelen and Maris, as well as many beloved extended family members. He also leaves behind an indelible legacy on the Guerin Catholic High School, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, and Wabash College communities.
As a child, Trace was a lover of books and movies, often memorizing all the lines of favorite films like Elf or Shrek. He was called “Trace the Sword Man” or “Sport” as a boy because he loved to play with handcrafted toy swords and compete in team sports. He was proud of being on a youth football team that won the CYO City Championship in an undefeated season.
As a young man, Trace was gifted with many talents. He excelled as a student, athlete, artist, disciple, and leader.
Trace graduated with honors from Guerin Catholic High School and made the Dean’s List at Wabash College.
He was a varsity athlete in football and track & field in high school and a two-time sectional champion. He played both of these sports at the collegiate level at Wabash College as well.
An aspiring Renaissance man, Trace was majoring in Art at Wabash College, sang in the Golden Voice choir at Guerin Catholic, and created his own poetry website. He typically used his gifts in the arts to improve the lives of others, and many friends have artwork, poems, or letters created just for them by Trace. He even created a cooking club at Wabash called Trace’s Munch that invited students and faculty to foster community by joining together in a full meal prepared by Trace.
Inspired by his family, Trace was a deeply faithful young man. He was a Cross Bearer and Eucharistic Minister at his home parish, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, and helped at the Newman Center at Wabash College. As a high school student, he served as a leader and Mayor for EDGE, Our Lady of Grace’s junior high youth ministry, and was a part of numerous faith activities, including overnight retreats and the Living Way of the Cross.
In most of his pursuits, Trace was recognized as a leader. In addition to his many talents, he was strong and principled, as well as compassionate and personable. He thrived when others were counting on him and was brave in the face of challenge. He was a fierce but fair competitor. Others gravitated towards Trace because he was both mighty and magnanimous.
Trace also had a youthful innocence about him, and he was unafraid to share his exuberance for the simple things in life. He always looked forward to family vacations, holiday traditions, and cookouts or birthday parties. He loved a good game of cornhole at the lake. He sang in the shower...loudly. One year he called to tell his mom he was driving around the Noblesville Square with windows open, singing and blasting Christmas music. He loved his dog, Komet, a yellow lab he received as a First Communion gift; Trace would lay in the yard talking to him and taking his picture. He could be found painting or sketching frequently and the borders of his class notes were full of doodles. He was known for writing beautifully touching letters to family members on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and birthdays. He never seemed too busy to lend a helping hand.
Trace had an incredible experience at Wabash College. He made friends quickly and even became good friends with many of the visiting parents, siblings, and grandparents of his Wabash classmates. He was the type of person who would propose having a get-together for his parents to meet his friends’ parents. He was a proud member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity at Wabash, an avid volunteer on campus, and an honorary Sphinx Club Member. Trace loved everything about Wabash College and the brotherhood of that community.
Trace was handsome with striking, beautiful blue eyes, had a kind heart, and behaved with a respectful demeanor. He adored his two younger sisters and was a loving, protective, and extremely proud big brother. At many times, the three of them would be heard laughing heartily at silly jokes and antics together while snuggled on a couch. His parents loved him deeply and have been inspired by him again and again and again.
Trace spent the last few years of his life in a battle against a progressive, degenerative, neurological disease. He took on this illness with the same traits he did so many other parts of his life: with bravery, dignity, and faith. He never once complained about why it happened to him and always held out hope for a diagnosis, cure, or miracle recovery. He traveled the country and the world to seek a remedy - from the medical to the divine. Even the loss of motor functions and speech could not keep him from sharing powerful moments of humor, hope, and spirit with others. He inspired many to prayer and faith through the weekly Rosary at his home for over two and a half years during the illness.
Trace’s many communities rallied around him and his family during this challenging time. Those many acts of support stand as a testament to the spectacular man Trace was and was becoming. Now that Trace’s suffering has come to an end, he has nothing to hold him back from acting bravely and faithfully for all eternity.
Trace wrote these words to his Wabash brothers that echo for us all:
Do not be sad, brethren, for sadness itself is a disease.
Instead, be merry and enjoy each day, knowing that my heart is always with you and there it will forever stay.
Visitation will be from 1:00-3:00 pm and 5:00-7:30 pm, with a group Rosary being said at 7:30 pm, on Monday, October 28, 2019 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 9900 East 191st Street, in Noblesville. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at the church. Burial will immediately follow at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery in Indianapolis.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Trace Bulger Foundation, 18484 Mallery Road, Noblesville, IN 46060; or online at: tracebulgerfoundation.org