Bruce Eide: My Illegitimate Absentee Father

What follows is entirely my personal opinion on what history I have been able to piece together from my mother and a little bit of information from Bruce Eide and Brian Eide as of Feb 28, 2021. I reached out to each party (my mother, Randall Gross, Bruce Eide, and Brian Eide) for corrections and clarifications. I have not yet heard back.


My mother, told me when I was in middle school that she had an affair with a man she thought was my father – Bruce Eide in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I did not take her very seriously at the time as she was using meth and alcohol. When I was 20 or 21, and she was clean-ish, she told me she still thought that either Bruce Eide or his brother Brian Eide could be my father. She told me that she had a one year affair with Bruce Eide, and a one night stand at some point with his younger brother Brian Eide. Bizarrely, I think they may have all gone to church together. According to her, Randall Gross (the dad I grew up with) cheated on her off and on throughout their marriage including while she was working to put him through college. When they moved to South Dakota, they became close friends with Bruce Eide and his wife. Bruce Eide and her began an affair that lasted a year and ended Bruce Eide’s first marriage. Brian Eide apparently went to some sort of alcohol-soaked party with my mother and took her back to his place afterwards where they had sex. My mother said she told Randall Gross about Bruce Eide and the affair and that they both knew I was Bruce Eide’s son as soon as I was born as I looked just like him.
I contacted Bruce Eide when I was a sophomore or a junior at the University of Washington. He said he was going to be in Seattle for some business deal, so we arranged to meet up at a bar for a drink in the U District. I remember being pretty excited and nervous to meet him. I don’t remember all that much since it was 15 years ago, but I do remember he said he’d had an affair with my mom at that time. He said that he did not think he would be able to talk to me much as his wife didn’t want him to since they had been unable to have children and had an adopted daughter. I guess she was jealous or concerned he might be less interested in their adopted daughter because of me. I also recall he said that he had had a poor relationship with his father Vern Eide for years but had recently made up with him so that inspired him to talk to me. After that, Bruce Eide went AWOL till now and did not respond to calls or Facebook messages, though he did occasionally leave weird comments on random posts.
A couple of years ago, I did an DNA test and it turned up I was a relative to a bunch of Eides and first cousins with someone named Milt Sommers who had built a big family tree showing he was closely related to Bruce Eide and Brian Eide. For me, this scientifically confirmed that either Bruce Eide or Brian Eide was my father. I found Brian Eide on Facebook and messaged him. Brian was a lot better at communicating with me than Bruce had been. He agreed to do an Ancestry DNA test too, so I bought one and sent it to him. It showed him as being “Close Family – First Cousin”… this was the same status as my biological grandmother, and brothers. Brian and I share 1578 centiMorgans (my brother Josh has 1581 centiMorgans in common with me) whereas a parent would have around 3000 centiMorgans. My understanding is that Ancestry will show biological parents status as such, so by process of elimination it seems clear that Bruce Eide is my biological father.
Brian asked me to give him time to process this and to talk with his family as he was ashamed about having had some sort of one night stand with a married woman, so I have not shared this for the last couple of years. I recently contacted Brian again to let him know I planned to write this blog post as I do believe sunlight is the best disinfectant and honesty is the best policy.
What is my reaction to all of this?
It changed my perspective a bit on the father who raised me, Randall Gross. I would not have stayed if my wife had an affair and a child by another man, that could not have been easy. He mostly treated my brothers, who are his biological sons, the same as he treated me and never let on that I was not his son. However, he was by no means a model father as he kicked me out of the house at 14 and each of my brothers out at ages between 14-16. I wrote a blog post about Randall Gross fourteen years ago when I was angry with how he was treating my youngest brother who still lived with him.
I am disappointed by the reaction of Bruce Eide in going AWOL and not responding to any calls or messages. Now that I have children of my own, it is very hard for me to relate to people who don’t take responsibility for their actions and are bad parents. I have had a lot more lessons in how NOT to parent than how to parent from all of these people!
I actually kind of liked having years of not really knowing who my father was… it sort of made me feel that I could be anyone. I am curious to meet some of the other relatives I haven’t met, it looks like I have a lot of relatives according to Ancestry. I am deeply saddened that I was never able to meet my biological grandfather Vern Eide before he passed away, but I do understand that my biological grandmother is still alive and probably has no idea that I exist. I really hope to meet her and the two first cousins I have. Meeting my biological relatives is why I wrote this post up; I was road blocked for years by Bruce Eide and more recently Brian Eide because of their embarrassment and shame, but now hopefully my other relatives will be able to find me and understand the history.
Bruce Eide and Brian Eide each told me that they have changed since these events took place. My opinion is that these events were caused by selfish behavior, and that that selfish behavior continues to this day in their continued attempts to avoid responsibility and hide this history from public knowledge. I feel that Bruce Eide, given that he made a series of decisions that led to my existence, would have felt an obligation to try to have a relationship and to introduce me to my family. I feel that given the nature of Brian Eide’s involvement, and status as my uncle, would have felt an obligation to step up when Bruce Eide failed. Shame is a powerful force. Now my only way to meet my family is to put up my blog post and attempt to go around their roadblock. Beyond that, I think my children should understand their ancestry and relations and hopefully this provides that context for them when they are older.
I am extraordinarily fortunate to have the wonderful grandparents that I have on both sides of the family that raised me. Papa, Grandma, Bestemor and Grandpa have all been wonderful. I also am very grateful for all of my wonderful cousins I have and that I’ve grown up with. I am just hopeful to meet the relatives I have been denied.

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Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.