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SALEM, Ore. – Lorrell Bruce is being remembered by the World Council of Credit Unions and those he worked with at the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions for his dedication to expand the credit union movement and to leverage credit unions to improve the value of people’s lives. Bruce died from a massive heart attack July 7 at the age of 87. Bruce was born in Port Limon, Costa Rica, but he lived most of his life in Jamaica before he moved to the U.S. Bruce became a U.S. citizen in 1998, but he retained his Jamaican citizenship. Bruce’s credit union titles make him a one man’s `who’s who’ in credit unions from the 1960s-1990s. He was a WOCCU board member from 1974-1979 and vice president of the organization from 1975-1978. He was also the first president of WOCCU’s Caribbean affiliate, Caribbean Confederation of CUs; president and treasurer of the Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League; and founder, member, treasurer, and board member of the Lands Clerks Cooperative Credit Society in Jamaica. Rev. James Oswald Thorbourne, himself a recent recipient of WOCCU’s 2003 Distinguished Service Award, said Bruce started off working in a supervisory role in a small Jamaican credit union because he wanted to make sure the CU’s books were being properly handled. Thorbourne recalled that Bruce would sit up nights making sure everything was in balance. Thorbourne cited Bruce’s “passion to expand the movement while keeping the values of cooperativism despite necessary changes of modernization. He was a people’s person.” When Bruce first got involved with the international credit union movement, CUNA International -the predecessor of WOCCU – had eight U.S. districts, three Canadian and “the rest of the world,” as Thorbourne described it. “The rest of the world included big Australia and little Jamaica, and that needed to be changed. Bruce was involved with that change,” he said. Bruce’s career in Jamaica was not limited to credit unions. He was also a career civil servant in the Jamaican Government where he held the titles of Special Assistant to Deputy Prime Minister Sir Donald Sangster, as well as being the Personal Assistant to Prime Ministers the Rt. Hon. Hugh L. Shearer and the Rt. Hon. Michael Manley. When Bruce retired from government work in Jamaica, he moved to Madison, Wis. where he continued to work for credit unions as a board member of University of Wisconsin Credit union. He also worked in the financial area at CUNA Mutual Insurance and `retired’ again after two years. His so-called retirement wound up being short-lived. In 1981, the Jamaican Government appointed Bruce Consul-General in New York. Bruce held that position for the next eight years. In New York, Bruce acted as Dean of the Commonwealth Consular Corps, President of the Association of Consuls of the Americas, and First Vice President and President of the Society of Foreign Consuls. Aside from his credit union work, Bruce was a man of many interests. His friends said he loved poetry, could quote Shakespeare, the Bible, and other great literary references, he was fascinated by international affairs, was a life-long fan of cricket and other sports, and enjoyed the performing arts. He earned his Bachelor of Science – Economics Degree (Honors) from London University, and he was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to study university financing in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. He was also a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI-Distinction) and a Fellow of the Institute of Bookkeepers. In addition to his wife Linda, Bruce is survived by his children, a stepdaughter, a granddaughter, and other relatives. The family requests that those wishing to express their condolences to contribute to the Jamaica Co-op Credit Union League Lorrell S. Bruce Scholarship Fund or First United Methodist Church/Jamaican Ministry. Contributions may be sent c/o First United Methodist Church, 600 State St., Salem, Ore. 97301, or c/o Linda Bruce, 880 Alvina St. SE, Salem, Ore. 97306. All contributions will be forwarded to the appropriate recipient. -

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