You never know when reality will come around and hit you in the face, causing whatever was important just moments before to quickly fade into the background. Such was the case for me this morning as I received a text message in the middle of my radio show telling me of the sudden and unexpected passing of one my law partner and great friend’s father, Bill Bruce. Some of you reading this knew Bill and if you did, you knew one of the more gregarious and generous people that I have ever had the fortune to be around. Bill never met a stranger, and spent most of his time reaching out to others and making them feel welcome no matter what the circumstances. He was the type of person who would look in a group of people and find the one person who was the quietest or seemed to know the fewest people, and would immediately reach out to them and engage them in conversation. He was genuinely loved by all who knew him and his kind heart and giving nature will be remembered long after today.
In addition to his wonderful qualities, he is survived by his wonderful wife Janice, two great sons in Cary and Johnny and two beautiful grandaughters, all of whom have treated me as family over the years. Johnny and I became friends when I first moved to Louisville and then started a law practice together three years ago. During that period, no one was more supportive of our endeavor than Bill Bruce and he loved watching the growth of the firm, and secondarily KSR. Bill would read the site and then comment on what he liked, particularly when we would go after the mainstream media. Many times I would see Bill, only to be greeted by a smile and him saying, “you sure do give ’em hell Matt…I love it!” His love of UK sports was contagious and the picture above was taken after one of his favorite moments, the comeback win in Nashville last year as Kentucky beat Mississippi State for the SEC Tournament Championship. His UK football tailgates (especially for the Louisville game) were legendary and if you ever stopped by, chances are you were greeted by Bill with a drink and a cup of burgoo, ready to welcome…even if you were wearing the dreaded color red. He lived life to the fullest and his love of UK sports and all that went with it, was a big part of that life.
If the measure of a man’s life is in what he leaves behind, Bill can be very proud. There are no better four people than Bill, Janice, Cary and Johnny and I ache today thinking of how difficult this must be for those left behind. My prayers go out to them for the difficulties they will face not only today, but in the weeks ahead. Even with all of this sadness, I take solace in this thought. Heaven sure got a lot more friendly and definitely a great deal more interesting this morning, when Bill Bruce made his first appearance.