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SIKESTON, Mo. -- Arthur O. Bruce, 91, of Sikeston died Tuesday, June 1, 2010, at his home.
He was born Aug. 5, 1918, in Morehouse, Mo., to the late Orville and Nellie Payne Bruce. He attended First Baptist Church in Bertrand, Mo.
Bruce served in the U.S. Army from 1934 to 1937 during peacetime and re-enlisted from 1942 to 1946 to battle in the South Pacific during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946 as a staff sergeant.
He returned to Sikeston, drove a cab and did contract painting. He decided on a career in law enforcement and joined the Sikeston Police Department in 1953. He was elected to the position of chief of police in 1956 and held that position until 1973. He served on Gov. Warren Hearnes' Crime Commission along with Sen. John Danforth. He served as President Harry Truman's personal bodyguard when he visited the Southeast Missouri area. To all who knew him he was respectfully addressed as "Chief" to this day.
He received the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He was instrumental in the building of the John Dancler Ball Field in Sunset for the area youths. He was the first individual to receive a bronze plaque mounted on the Complex Honor Board for his involvement in the building of the Sikeston Complex and for his dedication to the thousands of children in the Little League programs.
He coached and managed teams in Little League, Junior Babe Ruth, Senior Babe Ruth, Connie Mack and independent baseball and girls softball teams. He served as commissioner of the Junior Babe Ruth League, vice president of the Girls Softball League and was elected to the SEMO Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.
He received the Daily Standard Volunteer of the Year Award. He was a 50-year member of American Legion Post 114 and served as commander of the post 22 years. He held two terms as 14th District commander and was currently judge advocate of the 14th District. He was vice commander of the Sikeston Veterans of Foreign Wars.
He married Dorothy "Dottie" Robert, who survives of the home.
Also surviving is a daughter and son-in-law, Laurie and Tom Romas of Oran, Mo.; four grandsons, Michael Romas of Oran, Christopher Romas of Kelso, Mo., Cody Romas of Slidell, La., Nicholas Romas of Oran; and two great-grandchildren, Landon Romas of Oran and Rylan Romas of Slidell.
The funeral was held Saturday at Nunnelee Funeral Chapel in Sikeston, with the Rev. Tom Ayers of Sikeston officiating. Police chief Drew Juden delivered the eulogy. Burial was in Memorial Park Cemetery, with military honors presented by Missouri Military Funeral Honor Guard Unit.
Active pallbearers were Capt. Ken Dicus, Sgt. James McMillen, DPS officers Daniel Adams, Matt Dennis, Joey Henry, Frankie Adams and Brent Mullin.
Honorary pallbearers were Jim Greene, Fred Brockmeyer, Will Bucher, Fred Neal, Don Ables, Mike Bartlett, Larry Tetley, Bill Ferrell, Mike Jensen, Michael Romas, Christopher Romas, Cody Romas, Nicholas Romas and Shad Old.