(1920 - 2009)
A native of Bryson City, North Carolina, Bruce's career was based in Asheville from which he was a prominent member of the Western North Carolina and state-wide legal community for over half a century. He attended Mars Hill College where he played football for two years, transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was on the boxing team.
On December 7, 1941, Bruce hitchhiked from Chapel Hill to Washington, DC and was in the Congressional Gallery on December 8, 1941, when war was declared on Japan. He immediately dropped out of law school and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After WWII, Bruce returned to UNC Law School and while a student there he was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly where he served in the State House.
After establishing his law practice, Bruce obtained the first million-dollar verdict in North Carolina, which was the 18th verdict of that size in the nation at that time.
In the late 1970s Bruce was nominated by President Carter to the United States District Court for Western North Carolina, but the recent loss of his wife and his desire to stay in private practice in Asheville caused him to decline that Presidential appointment.
Bruce was a charter member of the Inner Circle in 1972, and was "a real gentleman, a fine lawyer, and a person of character."