The Passing of Perry Bruce

VirtualBoxwell is sad to announce the passing of Perry Bruce. Bruce’s history with Boxwell is long and complex. He attended Stahlman as a Scout in 1967 and joined the Parnell staff in 1971.  He served in the Commissioner system both as a program aid and as a Commissioner.  He did a year in the Trading Post as well, when the Parnell Commissary was still a wooden shack.  These years included brief stints at the newly created Camp Craig and Grimes Canoe Base.  In the fall of 1975, he joined the ranks of the professional Scouting staff, working as a DE for the Upper Cumberland district, serving Putnam, Jackson, Overton, and Clay County.  While the position was not a great fit and Bruce only stayed on for about seven months, his time not only overlapped with the end of the Akers era into the Hershel Tolbert years, but he established a good working relationship with Tom Willhite, who was his Field Director. Bruce helped with the 1976 Bicentennial Jamboree and Wood Badge that same year.  His troop in MT-18 included Steve Eubank, Russ Parham, Tom Young, and Bill Freeman. His relationship with Willhite brought him back to Parnell as Program Director in 1980 and his relationship with Eubank that brought him to Wood Badge staff, where he served on MT-33 through MT-37, the last as Scoutmaster in 1993.  Bruce returned to camp staff for the third time in 2012 as Craig’s Commissioner.  In 2018, he began his run as Craig’s Camp Director in 2018, running all the way through the 2023 summer camp season.  At assembly he was often greeted with chants of “Bruce, Bruce, strong as a moose!”

Outside of camp, he worked for the US Corps of Engineers, starting in 1980.  His Scouting experience proved helpful as much of the work he did with the Corps was in the same counties he served as a DE. He remained active in Scouting both officially and unofficially. Indeed, Bruce was part of a “renegade” group that dubbed themselves the “XDEs” (ex-District Executives) who were responsible for the first two staff reunions in 1983 and 1989.  These associations also brought Bruce into fold in 1994 to help with the sounding for a new Craig Waterfront.  In the 1980s and early 1990s, Bruce would return to camp with Troop 9 (of which he was Scoutmaster from 1976 until the troop folded in 2015) as the Bandito, a fictional character of his creation meant to harass the staff.  The mysterious “Ranger Willie’s Secret Police” was another such prank on then Program Director Jerry Barnett.  Bruce had a razor sharp wit and loved word play.  Some gentle harassment was not out of the question.

Bruce was an Eagle Scout and was awarded the Long Rifle Award and the Silver Beaver.

Perry Bruce passed away on July 21, 2023 after a long battle with cancer.  He leaves behind his wife Phyllis.

Funeral Service will be held on Monday July 31st at the Hermitage Funeral Home ( 535 Shute Ln, Old Hickory, TN 37138). Visitation is from 11 am-2 pm with the service to begin at 2pm, followed by burial at 3pm. Here is the official obituary:

Perry will be buried in his Scout uniform. Please Dress in Class A.

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