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Margo Story

Sweet Pat, my sincere condolences to you & your family. Joe was such a great guy, he will be lovingly missed. May the eternal light shine upon him.

Ken Clements

So sorry to hear that “Mr Joe” passed. I’ve been friends since 1996 when I met him at the Amelia Island Yacht Basin. A great inspirational man for sure and he will be missed. Fair Winds and Following Seas my friend !!!

Jackie Barnes Rushton

My Heart Felt Condolences to Mrs. Pat and Family, Joe was always a friendly voice when he called the office (State Farm) he always asked about my Family and how I was doing, just a very kind Soul. God Bless Y'all and RIP Joe

Clayton Kirby

Joe will be sadly missed by his family, the community, and his SKA fishing Buddies. I could always count on Joe, during my time as the Fountain Teams SKA Rep. and his knowledge and expertise was a huge asset to Fountain's success. JOE, you will be sorely MISSED. May you catch the largest and most awe inspiring fish while spending eternity in heaven.

Kenneth R Lardie, Maj USMC Ret

Although our paths crossed for a short period of time while you were in Tampa, your mentorship and fishing stories will always be remembered. Rest in Peace MARINE. YATYAS! Regards Ken


God Bless you Joe. You were my landlord for almost 10 years but became a friend. I will miss you and our short funny talks....God Bless John Herron

Eudin y Alyson Ruiz

Mr. Bruce mi viejo amigo por 11 largos años !! Te voy a extrañar mucho! gracias por todo lo que hiciste por mi y mi familia ,fuiste una persona muy amable con nosotros, mis hijos y mi esposa y yo te recordaremos con mucho cariño ! Vuelta alto amigo !

Craig & Carol Cannon

While we did not personally know Lt. Col. (ret) Bruce, we know his amazing, caring family of Mike & Gena. This young couple & their 3 daughters are treasures in our community so we know the influence must have come from a loving parent. May Lt. Col Bruce's memory always be a blessing.

James Joseph (Joe) Bruce


LT Col James Joseph (Joe) Bruce, USMC(ret), 86, passed away peacefully on the morning of December 29, 2022, surrounded by his family at Warner Center for Caring. He was born on June 6, 1936, in Nashville, Tennessee, to the late Frederick Derwood and Margaret Hibbett Bruce.
Joe attended Father Ryan High School in Nashville where he played football. After graduation he attended Texas Tech and played football there one year. He transferred to Middle Tennessee State University and played on the championship team of the late 50’s where he played as part of a team which won the Ohio Valley Conference for 4 years straight. While he considered an option to play professionally for the Detroit Lions, he chose the US Marine Corps instead.
Upon graduation from MTSU in 1959, Joe was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps. He and his bride, Patricia Griffith of Watertown, Tennessee, married August 8, 1959, and went to Quantico, Virginia, for the start of a 25-year USMC career.
Some highlights of his military career include two years on the USS Forrestal as head of the Marine Detachment; a two-year tour at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, where he was Director of Drill Instructor School; commanding the LVT Company at 2nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion at Camp Lejeune for two years where he launched the LVTP-7 amphibious landing vehicle for the Marine Corps in 1972; attending the Naval War College in Newport, RI; commanding the 2nd ANGLICO (Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company), Force Troops at Camp Lejeune (1977-1978), for which he had to go to Army Airborne basic paratrooper training at the age of 40; commanding the 1st Tracked Vehicle Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa 1978-1979; and serving for four years as Inspector-Instructor for the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion at the Marine Corps Reserve Training Center in Tampa, Fl. Joe had also served as an advisor for both the South Vietnamese in 1969 during his tour in Vietnam, and in 1974 he was stationed for two years with his family in Tsoying, Taiwan as an advisor to the Taiwanese Marines.
After his 1984 retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in Tampa, where he had enjoyed some saltwater fishing, the family chose to relocate to Amelia Island in 1988.
Joe had a passion for saltwater fishing and was active in the SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) fishing circuit. As “elder statesman of the SKA”, he was instrumental in shaping it into the largest saltwater fishing organization in the world. He accomplished many goals in the sport of fishing including winning the prestigious “Top Angler of the Year” title in 1992. He then won the saltwater fishing’s most coveted title again in 2003. In October of 2007 Joe was the SKA’s Hall of Fame Inductee. Joe, a longtime fishing mentor generous with his fishing expertise, won many, many tournaments during his 35 years of competitive fishing, along with Senior Angler titles in the Association in later years and held an unbroken kingfish record for more than 20 years.
He is survived by his bride of 63 years, Patricia Griffith Bruce, his son, James Michael Bruce and wife, Georgina, of Beaufort, NC, daughter Maria Michelle Bruce – Alonso and husband John, of Ontario, Canada, and daughter Kathryn Lori Lynch, and husband Daniel of Lake City, Fl. He was blessed to have 10 grandchildren within 8 years: Natalie, Alyssa, and Georgia Bruce, Kate, Jaci, Genna, and Jack Alonso, and Nathan, Bella, and Dean Lynch.
He was a devoted and loving husband and father who dedicated his life to his family, Marine Corps, fishing, and friends. To know him was to have a lifelong, dependable friend. He was kind, witty, and generous with sharing the experiences of the incredible life he lived. His big presence will be greatly missed. As we have heard from his friends in the past few days, he was “one of a kind indeed!”
A memorial service will be held in the Burgess Chapel of Oxley-Heard on Friday, January 6th, 2023. The family will receive friends at 9:30 AM with the service following at 10:30 AM. Joe will be laid to rest at Bosque Bello Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in his name to American Cancer Society, Cats Angels of Fernandina, or Wounded Warriors Project.


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