OBITUARY

Leonard John Bruce

February 29, 1920July 11, 2012

Leonard J. Bruce, 92, passed away peacefully in his home on the 11th of July 2012. Leonard was a leading entrepreneur and innovator in the safety and health distribution and manufacturing industry as well as a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Leonard was born in Chicago, Illinois on the 29th of February 1920. After marrying Valerie Olsen in 1942, the two followed Leonard's keen marketing instincts and moved to Houston in 1947 to pioneer the industrial safety equipment distribution industry in the Gulf Coast region. With limited funding, a sharp intellect and relentless determination, Leonard founded Guardian Safety Equipment Company, later changing the company name to "Vallen" as a representation of Valerie and Leonard's joint venture. They continued to build their dream in Houston and were blessed with five children. By 1995, the years of perseverance had come to fruition. With the help of the unparalleled dedication of the Vallen family of associates, Leonard had grown the company from a small office space in downtown Houston to an internationally-recognized corporation and a true American success story. Leonard served as founder, chairman and CEO until Vallen Corporation was sold in 1999. In 2003, Leonard and Valerie established an endowed chair within the School of Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in addition to a previously established scholarship fund. Leonard will be remembered by his constant example and entrepreneurial spirit.

Leonard was preceded in death by his loving wife of 62 years, Valerie Olsen Bruce; son, Leonard "Lenny" J. Bruce, Jr.; and siblings, Fred, Estella and Mary. He is survived by his children, daughter, Robin Valerie Bruce; son, Robert William Bruce and wife Janice; daughter, Christine Louise and her husband John Hilliard; and son, Carter Matthew Bruce. Leonard also leaves behind six grandchildren, James ("J.T."), Lauren, Amanda, Christina, Elizabeth ("Lizzie") and Mitchell, as well as five great-grandchildren, Wyatt, Madeleine, Jake, Samuel and Allie. Leonard was also blessed with four devoted caregivers, Connie, Sandra, Lucy and LiLiana.

The memorial service is to be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Monday, the 16th of July, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 717 Sage Road in Houston, where the Rev. Katherine F. Picot, Associate Rector for Pastoral Care, is to officiate. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Bagby Parish Hall.

In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions in Mr. Bruce's name may be directed to St. Martin's Episcopal Church Building for Life, 717 Sage Rd, Houston, TX, 77056; the Alzheimer's Association , Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter, 2242 W. Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX, 77030; or to the Leonard and Valerie Bruce Endowed Scholarship at Texas A&M University, Engineering Development Office, attention: Kathy Moss, at 334 WERC, 3126 TAMU, College Station, TX, 77843-3126

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Monday, July 16, 2012

Memories

Leonard John Bruce

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Angel Baasch

September 24, 2019

As a little girl I would cling to my Uncle Leonard at my Aunt Amanda's home in Chicago. He was loving.. funny. Kind. I can still see his Viw oy hat and remember being so sad when he & Aunt Valerie moved to Texas. I remember Kenny Jr. Blond curly hair. Adorable. I wrote Uncle often and called on occasion. He remembered me always. ♥️🙏🌹😘

July 18, 2012

He was always gracious and kind to me when I visited you and Janice and made me truly welcome to the family. I will miss seeing his smiling face.
Love always.
Dorothy Hennessy and family

Lynn Fortier

July 18, 2012

Our prayers go out to Robin and her family. Stay strong and keep the faith.

Lisa and David Benefield

July 17, 2012

Like you said, Bob, he was a great American success story, both publicly and privately. Your pride in him is well-deserved. Your love for him will never die. God Bless.

L.D. BLACKWELL

July 16, 2012

MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY OF THIS WONDERFUL MAN, AND MY GREAT FREIND HE WILL BE MISSED VERY MUCH.
L.D. BLACKWELL

David Gant

July 16, 2012

My heart goes'out to the Bruce family. So sorry for your loss. He sounds like a person I would have love to have known and learned from. Bless the family of Mr L.J. Bruce during these times.

Harry Neff

July 15, 2012

One of the true gentlemen in the early years of safety business. RIP Leonard.

July 15, 2012

I barely knew Leonard Bruce; but I have told his story many times to illustrate how a hard working entrepeneur can be successful in this country. I first knew Leonard Bruce in 1954 when I was working for a chemical company in Pasadena. Leonard was a one man safety supply company, doing every aspect of work - buying, selling, delivering etc. At the time he was delivering safety equipment in the trunk of his car at the same time he was making sales calls. It was great to watch his company grow and expand and I was happy for the family when he sold the business for a huge amount of money . His story is one every young person in this country should hear. And on top of all that, he was a heck of a nice guy. My sympathies go out to his family.

John D. Mark

Fred & Hedda Meyer

July 15, 2012

It is a hopeless task to try to express our feelings by mere words, but we do want you to know how much we sympathize with you in your time of sorrow. We are humble in our sorrow in the passing of our longtime friend Leonard. Please accept our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to your family in grief.

Rick Skinner

July 14, 2012

Mr. Bruce was such a fine gentleman and leader. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to work for him for 21 years. He helped start so many people's careers in the safety industry and was always a positive influence and consummate professional in all ways. He will be greatly missed. Our prayers go out to all of his family.

Rick and Liz Skinner

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY