TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas philanthropist leaves his legacy behind. Bruce Brookshire, the chairman emeritus of Brookshire's Grocery Company, lost his battle with cancer at age 81. He was known across East Texas not only as a distinguished business man, but a man who put his customer's needs first. His family says Brookshire instilled his benevolent spirit in those he loved and those he barely knew.
A plaque in his office says it best: "Brookshire's first priority: Pay obsessive attention to each customer."
Anyone who has stepped foot in one of his grocery stores, can see his mark.
"He used to always talk about how the customers were just the most important thing in business," said Ross Brookshire, Bruce Brookshire's grandson.
His grand kids called him "Poppa". They say he ran his business much like he raised his family' faith first, people second, him last.
"He was the most honest, generous man, really, that you could ever meet," said grandson Chad Brookshire.
"He didn't see distinction in gender or race or nationality," said Ross Brookshire.
A hard working man, Brookshire passed these qualities down generation to generation. His sons, Britt and Tim, worked as courtesy clerks. His nine grand kids also learned to work in the family business.
"We'd mop floors," said Ross Brookshire
"Really, it wasn't, 'You have to go work at the grocery store,'" explained Chad Brookshire. "It was really, 'I want to be part of the family legacy.'"
When he was not working, he enjoyed the great outdoors.
"As a kid, people would go hunting and fishing with their grandpa and I never stopped," said Ross Brookshire. "I'd come back from college and go fishing with him."
Brookshire's legacy will be carried on by his family, the multiple East Texas organizations he helped, and of course his grocery stores where customer service is not an option, but a condition of employment.
The funeral for Bruce Brookshire will take place tTesday at 2 p.m. at Green Acres Baptist Church. Monday night the family will receive friends until 8 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home in Tyler.