A native Californian, Bruce Burleson was born to Benjamin and Jonnie Burleson March 7, 1942, In Los Angeles California. He graduated from San Gabriel High School, served with the United States Air Force, where he met the love of his life, Rita Aylesworth Burleson on December 20, 1961. He attended East Los Angeles College, majoring in Criminal Justice. He embarked on his career in law enforcement with the Alhambra Police Department in 1964, and 4 years later transferred to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and was assigned to the Transportation Bureau. In November of 1968, he was transferred to the Patrol Station in East Los Angeles where he worked both Patrol and Detective assignments and received many commendations.
In 1971, he was assigned to the Antelope Valley, where during his off duty time he was active in the community through his involvement in youth sports, as well as volunteering his time to Quartz Hill High School through the Student and Law program. He was also a volunteer coach of football and wrestling, and touched the lives of many young people through foreign exchange student programs. During the summer of 1984, Bruce was assigned to the Summer Olympics as a convey commander and was responsible for the safe movement of "at risk" Olympic participants. In 1985, Bruce volunteered for a test program called Forest Enforcement Detail that was so successful that it was adopted as a regular assignment in patrol stations that have mountain areas. In 1988 he was appointed to the North County Correctional Facility Transition Team as a Project Supervisor for the Vocational Industries Programs, and in August 1991 he received the Sheriff's Exemplary Service Award for his efforts in preparing and initiating the Vocational Industries Program.
In 1990, Bruce was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and was assigned to Transit Bureau, Antelope Valley station, and Lancaster Station until his retirement in March of 1997, having served for 32 years. Bruce received a degree in Administration of Justice from Antelope Valley College, received Advanced and Supervisory Certificates from the California Peace Officer Standards and Training commission, and taught Advanced Officer Training classes. He also held a life-long California State Teaching credential.
After retirement, Bruce and Rita moved to Denton, Texas, where their children and grandchildren had recently relocated. Bruce said, "We have come home." Though their location had changed, Bruce's devotion to serving his community never did. He volunteered his time with the TAG Arts Auction, Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton Rotary Club, Denton County GOP, and the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. He was a member of The American Legion, the Denton Country Club, and a "Mean Green" fan.
Bruce is survived by his wife Rita Burleson; daughter Debra Brooks, husband Russ Brooks, children Amanda, Robby, Jesse, and Coleman; son Robert Burleson, wife Carolyn Burleson, children Kelly, Ryan, and Caytlin; adopted son Bruce, wife Marti, children Nicole and Renee.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you honor Bruce's commitment to community service with contributions to Denton Rotary Club, to the Greater Denton Arts Council Educational Programs, or to the FUMC-Mission Trip Scholarships.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church of Denton with Pastor Don Lee officiating.