Dorothy Braden Bruce
June 11, 1920 – June 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 www.randolphcollege.edu/give). 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
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
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!