Maxie Henderson Bruce Sr., age 85, passed away June 7, 2011, at home in Mendenhall. He was born June 4, 1926, in Choctaw County, Mississippi to William Arnold and Jennie Lee Henderson Bruce. Mr. Bruce was a native of Ackerman, MS. He was a World War II veteran and served in the United States Navy. After WWII, he graduated from Holmes Community College and Mississippi State University, where he played football and received a degree in Agriculture. He then taught school and coached football at Shelby High School, before going on to work as a manager for Cal-Maine Foods where he eventually retired. Mr. Bruce remained fiercely loyal to Holmes and Mississippi State. Throughout his entire life, he loved all things maroon and white. His devotion to Holmes earned him recognition as Alumnus of the Year in 1977, and Alumnus of the Decade in 2000. An endowed scholarship that bears his name was established at Mississippi State by former students and friends, in honor of the difference he made in the lives of others. He received the MS Father of the Year in 1997 from the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Mr. Bruce and his wife, Sara Conerly Bruce, have made Simpson County their home for over 47 years. He was a member of Mendenhall United Methodist Church . Mr. Bruce exemplified a positive attitude and strong determination even though he suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years. He was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Mr. Bruce cherished his family, and they admired and respected him for his characte, sense of humor, and strong commitment to public education. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sara Conerly Bruce.
Children: son, Maxie Henderson, Jr. and wife Charlotte of Waynesboro; daughter, Dr. Melody Bruce Musgrove and husband Gov. Ronnie Musgrove of Madison.
Grandchildren: Stacie Bruce Scott and husband Will of Houston, MS; Ryan Bruce and wife Brandy of Hattiesburg; Brooke Bruce Ward and husband John Robert of Laurel; Brittney Bruce McAfee and husband Matt of Starkville; Michael Smith and wife Maggie of Madison; Erin Smith of Hattiesburg; Jordan Musgrove of Washington, DC; and Carmen Rae Musgrove of Oxford.
Great-grandchildren: Carter Scott, Lee Scott, Keagan Ward, Cole Ward, Gracie Bruce, Ava Reese McAfee, Sally Chase McAfee, and Evelyn Elizabeth Smith. Brothers: Dr. Thomas Bruce and wife Tecoah of Berkeley, CA; Boyce Bruce and wife Mary Alice of Ackerman, MS, many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and cherished neighbors, the Willie Johns family.
He was preceded in death by brothers, William (Bill) Bruce of Memphis, TN, Charles Bruce of Hood River , OR , and sister, Mary Louise Erwin of Ackerman.
Visitation and memorial service will be at Tutor Funeral Home in Mendenhall, with visitation Wednesday, June 8, 2011, from 5 pm to 8 pm; and service at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 9, 2011. Burial will be at Enon Cemetery in Ackerman.
The family requests that memorials by made to the Maxie Bruce Scholarship Fund, College of Agriculture, Mississippi State University or the Mendenhall United Methodist Church .