Thursday, June 9, 2022

Obituary - Jeffrey Wayne Bruce

Jeffrey Wayne Bruce of Belton, Missouri passed away on May 22, 2022. Born on July 6, 1957, in Belleville, Illinois, Jeff was the oldest child and only son of Ernie and Mary Bruce (deceased). His family moved to Belton in 1969, when Ernie was stationed at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base. After graduating first in his class from Belton High School in 1975, Jeff became the first member of his family to attend college. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Central Missouri State University in 1979, again graduating at the top of his class. In 1985, Jeff graduated second in his class from the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law, where he served as an editor of the UMKC Law Review. Following graduation, he clerked for Judge Pasco Bowman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and worked as an associate at several Kansas City-area law firms. 

Jeff started his solo practice, The Bruce Law Firm, in 1995, specializing in labor and employment law and civil rights litigation. He was a proud member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), whose members he counted among his closest friends and for whom he was always willing to lend a helping hand.

Jeff is survived by his wife, Peggy; their two children, Leslie and Matthew; his sister, Debbie Steiner, and her son, Jesse; as well as Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean Donley and their children, with special appreciation to cousin Scott. There are no services currently scheduled, but a Celebration of Life may be held in the future.

No father was more openly proud of his children and their accomplishments, whether in academics, sports, or public service. Jeff enjoyed playing golf with his son, especially at Pebble Beach; discussing legal doctrines with his daughter, who is currently studying to become a lawyer; and helping Peggy manage the farm, where they bred Clydesdales and threw unforgettable barn parties. He also loved the family dog, Rigby, like a third child and never turned away an animal in need. 

Among his favorite places to visit were Estes Park, Colorado; Crystal Lake, Michigan; Washington, DC; and Northern California. Jeff possessed a lifelong love of learning and would frequently share articles and facts he found interesting. His other hobbies included collecting sports and pop culture memorabilia, watching American Graffiti, and singing along to Don McLean’s “American Pie.”

Jeff was a man of tremendous generosity and wit, committed to making the world a more just and equal place. He lived a life that made a difference to a lot of people, and he will be dearly missed. In memory of Jeff, please consider donating to Legal Aid of Western Missouri or Journey to New Life.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Bruce family.

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