Kenneth Bruce


In the late afternoon of Sunday, September the 3rd, our entire community was shocked at the news that Mr. Kenneth Bruce, president of the Florida Chautauqua Association, had passed away at Hot Springs, Virginia.

Mr. Bruce was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, December 28, 1876. He there attended Bisbee’s Military Academy. In 1889 when his father, the late, lamented Wallace Bruce, was appointed as Consul to Edinburgh, Scotland, he carried with him his family and there Kenneth was placed in Dr. Bryce’s Collegiate School for boys where for three years he proved himself a faithful and painstaking student. However, it was not the desire of the father that the son should be educated across the waters, but that he should complete his education in America, so after three years of study in Edinburgh, Mr. Kenneth Bruce returned to New York, one year prior to the return of his father and family. He then entered Williston Seminary and later PhilIips Andover where he prepared for entering Yale University. Even in these preparatory schools he received recognition for his literary attainments and other scholarly achievements, and was often awarded prizes in [various] debates. It was his desire to go to Yale University, the Institution from which his father had graduated in the years gone by, and it was his privilege, after completing his work in these preparatory schools, to enter this University from which he graduated in 1900. Mr. Bruce was a member of the Yale Literary Society and was editor of the Yale Literary Magazine.

It was while he was yet in the University that he began giving literary lectures, the first of which the people of DeFuniak Springs had the honor and the extreme fortune to hear, as it was from the Florida Chautauqua platform that he delivered his first literary lecture, “The Idylls of the King.” After graduation from the university, it was his desire to study law and he attended law schools in New York for some time. However; he was a loyal and devoted son and recognizing the vast assistance that he might be to his father who had assumed the burden of carrying on the Florida Chautauqua in addition to his publishing work in Brooklyn, New York, he abandoned the study of law and came to the assistance of his father in the Chautauqua work. From that day he devoted his attention to literature and the lecture platform. He was recognized as one of the most popular lecturers and was invited to various places, and wherever he lectured it was the desire of those who had the opportunity of hearing him, to have him return.

The [best] years of his life were given to the service of DeFuniak Springs as well as the rest of Western Florida. Since his father’s health failed him years ago, he has ably and successfully carried on the great Chautauqua work. He had unbounded confidence in the future of the Florida Chautauqua, and in his mind had greater things in store for this great Institution in the; coming years. May we not hope that these ideals which he had, will be carried out and that the same guiding providence which, moving in a mysterious way, removed him in this, the heyday of his life, will raise up some one who may in a measure at least carry out the plans he had formed and cherished.

Not only will he be missed by reason of his leadership in the Chautauqua and other great movements, but his unbounded christian charity which was so freely bestowed upon the needy will be sorely missed. None who were worthy of assistance and their need made known to him, ever failed to receive help from him.

He himself by his work and life erected a monument which will outlive a monument of granite or stone, for his memory will ever be held dear by those who knew him best — his friends and neighbors in DeFuniak Springs — and this memory will be handed down to the coming generations.

[Source: The Pensacola Journal, September 12, 1916, Page 4]

[Burial: Magnolia Cemetery, DeFuniak Springs]

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