Guiness record holder receives key to the city

Frances Bruce is a Bartlett resident who wrote a book in 1985, entered the Guinness Book of World records on November 29, 2010, and is receiving a key to the city of Bartlett in 2012.  If Bruce is not a household name, it certainly isn’t because she hasn’t lived long enough to make a name for herself.  Bruce turns 100 years old this year.

The book that she wrote is a story of her life, growing up in Alamo, TN and traveling with her husband in the military.  Her daughter, Leanne J. Braddock has instructions to publish it after her death.  The book is filled with family history, antidotes and a history of Americana that unfolds before the reader’s eyes.

Bruce and her twin brother, Benjamin Franklin Colvett, were deemed the oldest living boy/girl twins two years ago and earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records.  Colvett passed away last year.  Bruce, however, will receive a key to the city at her residence in Elmcroft Senior Living facility, 3345 Kirby Whitten Road, during a birthday celebration on August 22.   Special guest, Mayor Keith McDonald, will be presenting the key to Bruce.

“Oh I don’t know what the secret is to longevity,” said Frances Bruce.  “For me it was eating garden food and pork.  Father killed five hogs a year.  We ate a lot of pork and not much beef.”

Bruce eats very little beef, if any, to this day.  She says that she just has very little taste for it.  The family farm where she grew up was a hog farm.  Bruce recalls the day in 1923 when family life changed for the Colvett family.

“Father was wanting to visit family in the Nance community located about four miles from our home in Alamo.  Mother did not want to go.  So Father asked me if I’d like to go visit and attend church services that Sunday with him,” recalls Bruce.  “He hitched up the horse and buggy and off we went.  I was so proud to go with him, just the two of us.”

Bruce has the dress she was wearing that day preserved in a frame in her room at Elmcroft.  A linen white dress with a black ribbon sash just below the waist and a skirt filled with pleats.  The happy day ended tragically when her father had a heart attack and died.  Bruce recalls the heartbreak of losing her beloved father.

Bruce’s mother and father were both school teachers along with the farm, so that once her father passed, her mother sold the farm and kept teaching.  Bruce graduated from Alamo High School in 1932 and completed her college at Nashville Business College on April 21, 1941. and secured a job with Goodman Seed and Hogan in Memphis until she received a phone call from her hometown with a job offer.  She returned to Alamo and married in 1946.

Her husband was in the Navy and from that point forward Bruce used her secretarial skills to land jobs where ever they were stationed.  She worked in Texas and Indiana.  Once stationed in Millington, her husband went off to sea and she again returned home to Alamo to be near family while he was gone.

Bruce now boasts one daughter, Leanne Braddock, who works as a civilian in Navy as a counselor to returning veterans and has been a Bartlett resident for 17 years.  She also has two grandchildren and six great grand children.  Bruce keeps up her social life by traveling back to Alamo every two or three months to play Bridge.  Her family and recreation keeps her busy.

Colvett family 1919
[Colvett] Frances Bruce, seven years old at the time, stands on the porch watching her twin brother Cliff handle brother handle Jonah, the service horse (left) and her older brother Lynn handle the plow mule, Midnight, at the family farm in Alamo, TN.