Dorothy Braden Bruce

June 11, 1920June 25, 2019

Dorothy Braden Bruce, 99, of Midlothian, Va., beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother passed away June 25, 2019. She was born June 11, 1920, in Lynchburg, VA, the daughter of Virginia Sweeney Braden and Boyd E. Braden.

Dorothy (“Dot”) Bruce graduated from Randolph Macon Woman’s College with a degree in English. She taught public school for a year in Chatham, VA.

In 1942, the U.S. military recruited her, among more than 10,000 other women college graduates during the war, and secretly brought them to Arlington Hall, near Washington, D.C., to decipher Japanese and other enemy war messages from around the globe. Arlington Hall became the world’s largest recipient of tele-type messages with 7,000 young women in a vast decoding effort. Military officials and members of Congress later lauded their success, said to have shortened the war by two years, but never disclosed that more than half of the U.S. code breakers were women. Sworn to secrecy, the women never revealed their role in the war, until the National Security Agency recently declassified top secret war files and Liza Mundy published the book Code Girls in 2017, in which Dorothy is a central character.

In 1945, Dorothy married Lt. James T. Bruce, Jr., Army Air Corps, of Rice, VA. After the war they moved to Richmond, where he was a chemist for DuPont for 32 years until his retirement, and ultimately reached the rank of Major in the Air Force reserves. Dorothy and Jim were married for 62 years until his death.

She was a substitute teacher and theme reader at George Wythe High School and Huguenot High School, and sold real

estate for 20 years. Dorothy was especially proud of being a founding member of the Chesmond Woman’s Club, where she twice served as president, and as chair of various committees. A long-time member of Westover Baptist Church, Dot later attended Salisbury Presbyterian Church during her 6-year residency at Spring Arbor of Salisbury.

Her brothers were the late Boyd (“Bubba”) E. Braden, and the late John (“Teedy”) Braden. She is survived by her sister, Mary B. Crawley of Midlothian; her children: James T. Bruce III (Carol) of McLean; Virginia Bruce Evans (d. Richard) of Midlothian; and Nancy Bruce Robertson (Bill) of Midlothian; her grandchildren: Emily Holt (Scott) of New Orleans; James Graham Evans (Karen) of Arlington; James T. Bruce IV of Los Angeles; Sarah Herbert (Graham) of Virginia Beach; Sage Robertson of Midlothian; and Barbara Bruce of Washington, DC; and 8 great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends at the Huguenot Chapel, Woody Funeral Home, 1020 Huguenot Road from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. on Sunday, June 30. Funeral services are on Monday, July 1 at 11:00 am at Salisbury Presbyterian Church, 13621 West Salisbury, Rd, Midlothian, VA 23113. Following a reception at the church, there will be a private interment at Westhampton Cemetery, 10000 Patterson Ave, Richmond, VA.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Randolph College to establish the Dorothy Braden Bruce ’42 Scholarship Fund (Randolph College, P. O. Box 3215, Lynchburg, VA 24503; or online at In 2018 Dorothy received their Alumnae Achievement Award.


  • Visitation

    Sunday, June 30, 2019

  • Funeral Service

    Monday, July 1, 2019

  • Graveside Service

    Monday, July 1, 2019


Dorothy Braden Bruce

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sharon Taylor

January 29, 2020

Dear Braden-Bruce Family,

I too just finished listening to the audio book of Code Girls my granddaughter gave to me as a Christmas gift. It was the best book by far that I could have received. I am currently serving as the Regent (President) of our local DAR Chapter and the stories of your mother/grandmother/great grandmother and the other women are truly inspiring. My granddaughter and I are now listening to the audio book together. We both love history and I want her to know about your mom/grandmother/great grandmother and what they did to help the war efforts.

Much like "Hidden Figures" , I wish they would turn this into a movie so that everyone will know. There are so many that do not read books or listen to audio books and the only other way to enlighten and teach our history is through the video/movie venue. History is so important and so was "Dot".

My Chapter's next meeting is this Saturday (2/1/20) and all the members will hear my book report and be encouraged to check out my audio copy or the paperback book I bought to go with it so that they can now have a greater appreciation for these women and their service.

Again, thank you for her service and the legacy that she has left.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers as you proceed on this journey of grieving. God bless you all.

Karleen Kurys

August 2, 2019

To the family of Dorothy, today is Aug. 1st 2019 and I just finished the book "Code Girls" detailing Dot's amazing contributions towards code breaking during WWII. As a high school History teacher I loved hearing about these amazing ladies and wanted to thank Dot for her contributions leading us to victory. As I tried to find details on a way to contact her, I find that I have missed her passing by just over a month. I hope that her legacy, and love for her family help to bring comfort to all of you in your time of loss. What an amazing matriarch. We just don't find many women of her caliber in this day and age. I am glad she was able to finally share her story before she passed. God Bless Dorothy and all of you.

Jennifer Stine

July 29, 2019

I just finished reading the Code Girl book and searched to find more information on Dorothy. I’m so sorry for your loss but want to thank you for her service to our country. What an amazing woman and a true hero to me and my daughters. Young women need heroes like Dorothy and the other code girls. I am grateful that some of her story was shared. Thank you again.

Jo-Anne Galloway

July 22, 2019

I have just finished reading the book “Code Girls”, which I loved. Dot was one of the women in the book who I admired most. What an amazing woman! When I read the epilogue I was so pleased that she was still alive. As with the other major subjects of the book, I googled her. I’m so pleased that she lived to a ripe old age, but still sad to know that she’s passed on, that her brilliant mind has gone quiet. I offer my deepest sympathies to her family and friends. With much respect from a WW2 “book enthusiast” in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Renie Steves

June 30, 2019

The year 2018 was my 60th Reunion at Randolph College. Dot's presence and wonderful words made those of us in attendance in awe of her. Am so happy she received The Alumnae Achievement Award in 2018 so she knew how proud her college was of her.

Her family is so fortunate to have here for 99 years. But realistically I know that it is never long enough. I sat with Dot at the luncheon at the President's House a year ago. She was Adorable! God will smile broadly at her and maybe just maybe she will break his code for others. With love, Renie Ferguson Steves '58

Forrest Oglesby

June 29, 2019

Too many memories to recap from living and growing up on Cedar Lane in Richmond to attending church at Westover Baptist from the stone house in Forest Hill Park to the current building. Did not know about the code readers which I will now read. She was always very proud that Mr. (Major) Bruce had been in the Army Air Corps and subsequently the US Air Force. Together they raised a wonderful family along with my parents following WW II. What an exceptional life!