(12/13/2007)
A new scholarship fund has been established with the Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation (LKACF).

The new fund is the Chester H. Bruce Memorial Scholarship Fund, established by Jim Bruce, Chester's son, in memory of his father.

This scholarship was established to support graduates of Wirt County High School who are currently or planning to be full time students in a certificate or vocational program, a two-year program or associates degree, a four-year college or university, or graduate school.

The recipient must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5, show financial need, and be majoring in vocational and/or trade studies or in Christian ministry and service.

This scholarship can be found on Our Community's Foundation General Scholarship Application Form by visiting www.pacfwv.com or by contacting the Wirt County High School Guidance Counselor.

Chester H. Bruce

Chester H. Bruce was born October 18, 1913, to William and Harriet Bruce of Summerfield, Ohio. He had three brothers and six sisters. His mother died when he was four years old, and his father raised him and his siblings. His father operated a mill in Watertown, OH.

Chester graduated from Summerfield High School in 1930. Growing up during the depression, he took work wherever he could find it. One winter, he drove a coal truck in Chicago.

He was truly a "jack of all trades," and could work at just about any trade, but he was specifically a mechanic.

He was married to Mary K. Ruble of Elizabeth, WV, on February 1, 1941, and lived most of his life in Wirt County. They had three sons: Duane of Lake Worth, FL, a retired ordained minister; Jim of Elizabeth, WV, a retired businessman and ordained minister, and; Mark of Elizabeth, WV, an associate professor at WVU-Parkersburg.

Chester worked at many different jobs when work was available. He farmed a little and worked in industry at The American Viscose, Rig and Reel, Peerless Mill and E.I. DuPont. During the 1940's, when work was hard to find, he wired several houses on the Munday Road when electricity was made available to that area.

He could do a little plumbing, was a pretty good carpenter, and even laid a few blocks when needed.

He loved sawmills, and after he retired from DuPont, he bought a small mill and planner, and did some custom milling. Chester was also an avid outdoorsman and an excellent marksman. He could hit a squirrel in the eye at 30 yards with his .22 rifle using a peep sight.

When he practiced shooting, he would set an empty .22 casing on a fence post, and hit it regularly. He would also shoot at sycamore balls and walnuts just to keep in shape.

He loved to hunt and fish, and often provided meat for the table using these skills.

He also loved the children of Wirt County, and served several years on the Board of Education. He believed in higher education, and wanted to see that everyone who had a desire to go to school had the chance.

The greatest love of his life was the Lord. He was a member of the Guthrie United Methodist Church, where he often led the singing and taught the adult Sunday School class for several years.

Occasionally, Chester would forget the date of a board meeting, but could usually be found by fellow board members at one of the local churches.

This fund is held with the Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation (LKACF), an affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF).

LKACF was established as an affiliate in 2004, and currently has approximately $80,000 in six different charitable funds. LKACF serves Calhoun and Wirt Counties.


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