East Texas business icon, Bruce Brookshire, dies at 81

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Bruce Brookshire, Chairman Emeritus of Brookshire's Grocery Company died Friday night, leaving behind much more than the store chain he built.

"He had such character, integrity, and he loved people," said lifelong friend Herb Buie,"For 64 years we were friends. He was always happy always smiling."

Herb Buie says his friend, Bruce Brookshire, was always there, eager to help a friend or make a new one. Even in Tyler High School's 1946 yearbook, signs of success were present. As a senior, Bruce got presidential experience young, leading his class every year.

"[He] always tried to make you feel better when he walked away from you and you parted his company," says Buie, "You'd say wow I feel better right now than I did because of knowing Bruce Brookshire....that's the kind of guy he was."

The man he grew into wasn't any different. Bruce returned to the family business in 1950, and managed his first store in Corsicana, spreading a philosophy if you put people first profits will follow.

"Never did he forget his purpose in life and that was to be successful in his business and to help other people." said Buie.

It didn't take long for Bruce to succeed in both, named company president in 1969, he worked to expand the chain to 156 stores in four states. East Texas Food Bank and Southside Bank were founded with Bruce's help. The Salvation Army and All-Saints School benefited also as did hundreds of others Bruce helped anonymously.

"Bruce was just an unbelievable man that Tyler and East Texas will miss so very much," said Buie, "I just have to tell you that I believe the lights went brighter in Heaven as he drew his last breath."

A life showing a man is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.

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