May 4, 1927 - October 23, 2018
Ethel Lunsford Bruce went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. A Florida native, she was born in Lakeland and later made her home in Lake Wales, which she considered her hometown. It was there she met Charles Bruce, a young radio broadcaster, whom she married on January 18, 1957. A child of the Great Depression, she rose from her circumstances with the help of a Florida pioneer, Frances Riggins. “Aunt Fanny” was more than a mentor to Ethel: she taught her about Christ and instructed her about so many fine things that would eventually bring her out of the crushing poverty of her childhood. During World War II, Ethel went to work with a group of women in the tobacco fields of Connecticut as her part in the war effort. She also volunteered for the USO, jitterbugging with soldiers in USO dance halls before their deployment. After her marriage, she helped her husband to articulate his call into ordained ministry, and supported him as he finished his undergraduate work at Florida Southern College and his seminary education at Emory University, all while raising two young children. After his graduation from Candler School of Theology and ordination as an elder in full connection with the Florida United Methodist Conference, she accompanied him in his ministry at White Temple Methodist Church (now First United Methodist Church of Miami); Riverview United Methodist Church, Ormond Beach; Reeves Memorial United Methodist Church, Orlando; Trinity United Methodist Church, North Port; First United Methodist Church, St. Augustine; St. Andrews United Methodist Church, Brandon; and First United Methodist Church, St. Cloud. Every appointment gave her the challenge of turning a parsonage into a home for her family, which she always did with great style. She took her responsibilities as a clergy spouse very seriously, and volunteered in many ministries over the years including United Methodist Women, the Florida Conference Clergy Spouses, and many committees and work teams. Her true conversion to Christianity came during a trip to the Holy Land in December, 1972. It was there she felt her heart “strangely warmed” and finally understood that Jesus Christ died on the cross for her sins. That experience made her finally understand what a deep personal relationship with Christ meant. She went to the Holy Land several more times, twice accompanying her husband. Ethel Lunsford Bruce was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Robert Bruce; parents, George Clark Lunsford and Katie Gertrude Lunsford; her brother Robert E. Lunsford, Rufus N. “Bud” Lunsford, and Jesse Lunsford; sister Grace Lunsford Hargroves; nephew Tommy Lunsford; niece Debra Jo Hargroves; and two great-nephews, Michael Lunsford and Shane Lunsford. She is survived by her children, Robert Whitaker Bruce (Katherine), Julia Bruce Rang (Chuck), Clark O’Kelley Bruce, and Amelia Bruce Wines (Terry); grandchildren Stephen Allen Rang, Clarissa Louise Rang, Miriam Rang Maloy (Shane), and Charles Alexander Rang. Funeral services will be Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 11:00 AM, at Community Hope Center (formerly Shingle Creek United Methodist Church, Kissimmee) and internment will follow at the Lake Wales Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund at Florida Restores https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/FLRestores.
Ethel Lunsford Bruce went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. A Florida native, she was born in Lakeland and later made her home in Lake Wales, which she considered her hometown. It was there she met Charles Bruce, a young... View Obituary & Service Information
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