On Monday, March 11, 2019, Ronald Lewis Bruce, loving father of three, passed away at age 83. Ron was born in his grandmother’s house in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma on March 1, 1936 to Walter S. and Ethel (Talley) Bruce. He graduated from Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City in 1954 and went on to receive a BS in Business Administration with a minor in Economics and English in 1965 from Central University in Edmond, Oklahoma. Ron served in the Oklahoma Air National Guard from 1958 to 1964. He worked for the Defense Contract Management Agency for 33 years as an Administrative Contracting Officer and later a Corporate Contracting Officer. He retired on October 2, 1998.
As a child in Oklahoma, Ron formed deep friendships through school and the youth group at South Lindsay Baptist Church. These childhood friends enriched his life, and he delighted in the many emails, phone calls and visits over the years, retelling adventures gone by with much enjoyment and laughter. Ron was also blessed with strong family mentors and role models. He had three uncles and one aunt who were so very special to him. His uncles served in World War II and the Korean War, and the respect and admiration Ron felt for their service and sacrifice knew no bounds. His many visits with these uncles, two of whom survive today, were an anchor and connection to his roots that he treasured deeply. Ron spent much time during childhood exploring the outdoors. He enjoyed camping, fishing, and hiking and loved to tell stories of his adventures exploring the Kiamichi Mountains and other parts of southeastern Oklahoma, all of which fostered a lifelong love of nature.
Ron’s work for the federal government eventually brought him to Texas. He spent his early years in Texas being a gentle and affectionate father to his three daughters. However, he also found a new love – Dallas Cowboys football. He and Trene had season tickets for years – through thick and thin, he would say. And while he always loved and rooted for his Sooners, he enjoyed sports so much that you could often find him at a Longhorn basketball game, just for the sheer joy of the game.
Retirement brought time for new joys – grandchildren and birdwatching. Ron would regale anyone who would listen with stories of both! He was so proud of his granddaughters and grandson and watched them perform in their various sports and activities as much as he possibly could. The only rival they had for his attention was birds. Spring migration was his favorite time of year and he often took off for the Texas coast at a moment’s notice when he got word through his “birdmail” that the warblers had landed on High Island. His ever-present binoculars and bird books made any encounter with Ron a potential educational moment. He was known to make trips to the store multiple times a week to buy more seed for the speciality birds he fed in his backyard – painted buntings, finches, and hummingbirds. His family has no doubt that as the birds begin to arrive in his yard this spring, they will miss their yearly buffet greatly.
Ron was a loving caretaker of his wife, Trene, during her almost 10 year battle with cancer. He was by her side through chemo, radiation, a stem cell transplant and innumerable daily battles as she fought to survive 3 different cancers. He always said that she was his hero. Her tenacious spirit inspired him for his own short battle.
Ron was affectionately described as “quirky” by his daughters and known to all for his humor – his mastery of puns was unparallelled, even punishing, he would say. He enjoyed jokes and funny stories, many of which he told so many times that his audience could deliver the punchline before he got there. He had a deep love of music, particularly jazz, and loved to go see live shows. He was generally kind, positive and gentle, but definitely showed fire on the subjects of social politics and water conservation.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Ethel, siblings Bennie Max Bruce and Joyce Ray Mock, and his wife of almost 40 years, Trene. He is survived by his daughter Kimberly Bruce and wife Jan Crawley, daughter Shelly Wilson and husband Stephen, daughter Karen Shelton and husband Ryan, and grandchildren Skylar and Sadie Wilson and Luke and Drew Shelton, as well as the countless songbirds who flocked to his home to feast on his benevolence.
In lieu of flowers, Ron’s family feels certain he would prefer people to feed the birds, plant a tree, or protect the Edwards Aquifer. Memorial contributions can be made to CHHS Alumni Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 850958, Yukon, OK 73085.