Cover photo for Bruce Peterson's Obituary
Bruce Peterson Profile Photo
1947 Bruce 2020

Bruce Peterson

November 21, 1947 — May 22, 2020

Bruce Peterson was exactly 72 ½ years old when he took his last breath on earth on May 22, 2020, and was reunited in heaven with his wife Marilyn and daughter Jill. He was first and foremost a man who calls Jesus Lord, understanding that his salvation had nothing to do with his works, but was a gift from God that he eagerly accepted. Bruce was a kind and loving dad, brother, papa, friend, and teacher who encouraged and inspired many people. He was a trumpet player, a jazz man, and had known a few brass quintets. He was a band director who taught hundreds of kids to play and appreciate music, and he loved those band kids and treated them like his own. He loved his three grandsons fiercely as well, and his favorite pastimes were song composing and crappie fishing. I picture him in heaven now still dancing around with mom and Jill, dramatically grabbing his heart as he hears the music of heaven and asking his buddy Gene where to find a trumpet, a band, and a crappie hole. Love you dad. See you soon! We will have a graveside service for Bruce at Resthaven Cemetery just off I-35 near Salado, Texas, on Thursday, June 4th at 10am. Because of the Covid situation, we are trying to keep the service to a small gathering of family and close friends. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Samaritan's Purse at samaritanspurse.org/donate. Equally valued would be a story about my dad posted on his Facebook page. Thank you so much. Life of Bruce - Early Years by Brother, Brady Bruce was born in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma on November 21, 1947. My earliest memories are from our living in base housing there. Bruce's crib is in the corner of the room when I wake up one morning. I am almost three, and he is almost two. From that scene, he is the first person I can remember being aware of. We had a dog, Bow Wow. There was a story my mother told about Bruce biting the dog. The dog yelps. ""Why did you bite the dog,"" my mothers ask. ""He bit me first,"" Bruce responded. It wasn't the only time he used that defense. Here's another. ""Brady hit me back first."" We were brothers, thirteen months apart. We did everything together. Which also meant wrestling, sword fighting, first with wooden knives our uncle Butch made for us, then later when our mother took the wooden knives from us, with her steel knives we liberated from the kitchen drawer. We were jungle boys in Nashville, Arkansas waiting for our father to come back from the Korean war. There is a story about Bruce going to the neighborhood store when I was sick with the measles and buying a pint of strawberry ice cream and charging it. In those days you could just do that. The store owner keeping a running account on a sheet of paper. But Bruce was only three years old. He ate the strawberry ice cream while sitting on the porch steps and went back to the store, charging another pint. Then another. ""I just couldn't turn down those big brown eyes,"" the storekeeper told my mother. Then he traded his watch, something my father had sent from Japan, for a dime store toy trumpet. A foreshadowing. My mother sent him back to retrieve the watch. We spent three years in Puerto Rico. There we climbed puma rosas trees and ate the red fruit growing on the limbs. We were still talking about that delicious fruit sixty years later. We also played baseball year-round on the island. I wonder how many hundreds of time, Bruce and I played catch. We moved to California, and there we started band. That's where Bruce learned to play the trumpet, in fourth grade. He was natural. The best trumpet player I ever knew. But being a natural was only part of it. There was also the hours and hours of practice. ""You have to practice even when you don't feel like it,"" he would tell me. In some ways, the trumpet and music help define my brother. Especially Jazz. But there was so much more. There's High School, College, the army. More than I can tell you here. Life of Bruce - Later Years by Son, Jeff After the Petersons found their way to central Texas, Bruce finished high school in Killeen and went to Abilene Christian College where he excelled at playing the trumpet for the Big Purple Band. He completed his degree in Music, married his childhood sweetheart, Marilyn, and headed back to central Texas for his first band directing job. He and Marilyn had their first-born son Jeff, and Bruce was drafted into the army for the Vietnam War. He was sent to Hawaii to be part of the army band where he had his daughter Jill. After a few more stops in Killeen and Abilene, the Peterson family found themselves in Harlingen, Texas. They found a great church home at Eighth and Harrison Church of Christ where Bruce served as the song leader. There were many South Padre beach trips with the family along with numerous Port Isabel fishing trips with Jeff. Life was good and comfortable until Marilyn was diagnosed with MS and Bruce had to put his band directing career on hold to take on various sales jobs to make ends meet. Bruce learned in this tough stretch to unconditionally love and serve Marilyn. After moving to San Antonio and putting Jeff and Jill through college, Bruce and Marilyn moved back to their roots in Belton, TX, and joined his brother Brady to take over the family business of building homes. It was here that Bruce was able to slow down and start reconnecting with his brother Brady, his best friends Gene and Pam, and his life-long fishing partner, Dale. It was during this timeframe that Bruce and Marilyn lost their daughter Jill in an automobile accident. They never lost their faith, and they clung to God and to each other to make it through. Over the next twenty years, they spent many good times with Jeff as he met his beautiful wife, Shawna, and had three sons. Bruce was able to finish his career as a band director in Killeen at Liberty Hill Middle School. He had an incredible final farewell performance that can still be seen on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Seh_UXdlEag&t=34s. Marilyn and Bruce were both diagnosed with cancer around the same time. His was more severe, and he was told to retire (which he did) because he might have three months to live. He knew that Marilyn still might have years of life, and he wanted so desperately to take care of her. God answered the prayers of many, and Bruce's cancer miraculously went into remission for seven years. He was able to care for Marilyn in her final years and spend another five years peacefully at home watching his grandkids grow up and spending good time with close friends and family. Bruce lived a full life of service, love and faith. He was ready to meet his Lord Jesus and eager to be with loved ones. He died peacefully listening to How Great Thou Art holding his son's hand. Bruce is survived by son Jeff, daughter-in-law Shawna, and their three sons Micah, Joel and Jesse, and by his siblings Brady and Laura and their wonderful families. Bruce is reunited with his beloved wife Marilyn and their daughter Jill. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Bruce Peterson please visit our Sympathy Store.

Cemetery Details

Resthaven Cemetery
Shanklin Road
Belton, TX

Graveside Service

JUN 4. 10:00 AM (CST)

Resthaven Cemetery

Shanklin Road

Belton, TX

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