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Published: Sunday, 1/21/2001

Ex-teacher developed golf course

PETERSBURG - Mildred Bruce, formerly of Summerfield Township, a public school teacher and administrator for more than 30 years in Lenawee and Monroe counties, and co-developer of a popular Petersburg golf course, died Friday in Bedford Elderly Care Center, Temperance. She was 96.

Mrs. Bruce died of complications from pneumonia, her son, James, said. She had been a resident of the care center for about two years.

She grew up on a farm near Palmyra, Mich., received her early schooling in Jasper, Mich., and completed high school in Adrian.

Mrs. Bruce received her life teaching certificate in 1930 from Michigan State Normal College, now Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, where her son, Gene, said she received a bachelor of science degree in 1954, and a master of arts degree in 1958.

She began her teaching career in a rural, one-room school near Palmyra. After several years, she became an elementary school teacher with Summerfield Schools, where she taught third, fifth, and kindergarten pupils. She retired from Summerfield Schools in 1974 as the district's elementary school principal.

“Teaching was what she enjoyed the most,” her son, Gene, said. “Her greatest love was working with her kindergarten students in a classroom. She had a saying that, `Everything happens for the good.' She was a bedrock of family values.”

Mrs. Bruce, helped her husband, George, who died in 1988, with a 106-acre hog, dairy, and beef farm on Albain Road in Summerfield Township, about a half mile southeast of Petersburg. In 1962, they abandoned farming and developed their farm into Deme Acres Golf Course.

While she was teaching and administering, Mrs. Bruce helped her husband operate the 18-hole golf course. After her retirement, she helped her family operate the course until 1995, greeting golfers, many from the Toledo area, who had been using the golf course for many years.

Mrs. Bruce was an avid gardener, baker, and enjoyed feeding wild birds. Carol Bruce, her daughter-in-law, said her mother-in-law used to keep a bird book by her window to identify the birds who used her feeder.

“She loved to cook everything, especially pies. She was a pie baker,” the younger Mrs. Bruce said.

Her son, James, said he was impressed with his mother's grit and determination.

“She never gave up. She had spirit,” he said. “She cared for her family, taught schoiol, administered a school, helped my father run a farm, helped him run a golf course, and then helped us with the golf course. She also had time for a vegetable garden, and baked things for the holidays and birthdays.”

His wife, Carol, agreed: “Between her family, the school, the farm, and the golf course, she did it all. But, the thing that seemed to impress her most was technology. She had seen so many new things in her life, but she still could be surprised. One day she saw my husband, Jim, using a cell phone. She just couldn't get over the fact that her son was using a phone didn't need a wire connected to a wall.”

Surviving are her sons, Gene and James; sister, Claribel Hollinger; six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be at noon tomorrow in the Cover Funeral Home, Dundee, where the body will be two hours before services.

The family requests tributes to the Mildred Bruce Memorial Fund at Monroe Bank and Trust Co. to fund scholarships for students at Summerfield Schools.



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