Troy community saddened by ‘Booty’ Bruce’s passing

Published 6:48 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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The purpose of life is not to be happy but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all – Leo Rosten

The death of James Bruce on January 21, 2024, brought a cloak of sadness over all those who knew and loved him. And, the number was many, said Judy Morgan, Troy University football secretary.

James Bruce

“Booty” was a friend of a lifetime and special in so many ways,” Morgan said. “He never met a stranger; he never complained. No matter what was going on in his life, his comment was always, ‘Life is good.’”

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Morgan said Bruce’s death was a loss for all those who loved him.

“Booty” would walk up to everyone with a hug or a handshake. He was a ray of sunshine and you knew a special person was standing before you,” Morgan said. “He loved Troy University and everything about it and he loved sports, every one of them. He was always willing to do anything he could for Troy University. A light has gone out that we can never replace.”

Neal Brown former Troy University head football coach and current head football coach at West Virginia University, said there is not a better Troy man than Booty Bruce.

“He’s been a friend to myself and the Troy coaches that came before and after me,” Brown said. “He came to every radio show; he would seek me out even after losses. I think that’s how you tell a real, sincere person and people that really care.

“You hear from a lot of people after wins but only people you consider friends after losses. I think the other thing is he was so supportive of all Troy sports. He loved women’s basketball; he and Chanda Rigby had a really good relationship. I saw him at all the Olympic sports too. He was someone that supported Troy’s athletics as a whole, not just football.

Brown said the last time he spoke to Bruce was after West Virginia’s bowl win. He was so excited for us. It was a really sad day when I heard yesterday morning of his passing. I really feel for his wife and two daughters. He was so excited about being a new grandfather.”

Bruce was a 1977 graduate of Troy State University, a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and a Big Brother for Alpha Delta Pi.

He was a member of the Pike County Alumni Chapter of the Troy Alumni Association, a Trojan Warrior member and a great supporter of Troy University athletics and was a 2015 Distinguished Alumni of the Year.

Faith West Byrd, Troy University Alumni Director said Bruce was truly loved by so many and will be terribly missed by all who knew him.

“Booty poured his time, talent and treasure into the Troy Alumni Association and Troy University,” Byrd said. “We will forever be grateful to him for his unwavering generosity and support throughout the years.  The Trojan nation is indeed mourning a true Trojan!”

Keith Rolling, Troy Rotary Club, said Bruce was a great American and Rotarian.

James Bruce worked for Horn Beverage and quickly became the face of Horn Beverage. 

“Booty’s death seems unbelievable,” Donna Horn, his sister-in-law, said. “I’m numb. I miss his smile already and always will. I keep thinking how much Booty loved and cared for his family. It was first in everything.  He dearly loved his daughters and was thrilled with his grandchild.

“His death has left me numb. He will always be a special part of my life.”

Bruce worked Horn Beverage back in the during the 1970s and sold insurance and came back to Horn Beverage 15 years ago.

“It will different world without Booty coming in with a joke,” Horn said “How he will be missed by so many.”