The Passing Of Bruce Rouse

Last Sunday night, I was hugging Bruce and we were laughing about something personal.

He was so vibrant, so present. I am in shock. I just don’t know what to say.

Please read about this dear man and know that he was very special to many, many people. God Bless you, Bruce. And God Bless Liz as she struggles to understand this loss beyond loss.

His family, and the folk music community, lost a leading light, Bruce Rouse, on the afternoon of February 26, 2005. Even if you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Bruce personally, as a fan of acoustic music your life was touched by what he and Liz accomplished.

Bruce Rouse was born on September 17, 1942, in Sault Ste Marie, Canada. He married his life-long dance partner, Liz Deans, on February 14, 1962, and they came to the United States in 1966.

Bruce earned his BS at the University of Guelph, Canada, in 1966, and a Master’s in Zoology, at New Mexico State University, in 1969. He gained a Phd. in Zoology at the University of Texas at Austin in 1972.

As a Research Scientist, overseeing UT’s Petroleum Engineering Laboratories, Bruce worked to solve the tough questions of ecology and soil reclaimation. He continued this invaluable work even after his retirement from UT in August, 2004. As a passionate devotee of acoustic music, who had gotten so much from the music community, Bruce labored joyfully to give back to that community, by supporting his favorite artists, known and unknown, and fostering an ever-expanding acoustic music scene, here in Texas and across North America.

Bruce and Liz hosted concerts in their North Austin home for 15 years, until their recent move to Sun City, Georgetown. Over the years, hundreds of artists and thousands of folk music fans gathered at the Rouse House Concerts, to enjoy and celebrate music and friendships.

Bruce also mentored other acoustic concert promoters, encouraged novice songwriters and performers, and proselytized for folk music, whenever and wherever he could. He served on the Folk Alliance’s Board of Directors and directed seminars on house concerts at the world-famous Kerrville Folk Festivals, where he and Liz were always in attendance. Together, they sponsored a regular Songwriters’ Breakfast Circle, and last year created Canadian Day at the Festival.

Bruce was a well-rounded man, avidly supporting Longhorn sports, interested in politics, literature, photography, cultures, and people. He was a personable, gregarious man, with an open heart, a winning smile, and an impish sense of humor. He and Liz loved to dance, to travel, to visit and brag about their grandchildren.

Bruce leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Liz; his daughter, Deb Rouse, and son-in-law, Lindsey Lee; his daughter, Janet Kisler, son-in-law, Bron Kisler, and beloved grandchildren, Bella and Gabriel; and a huge host of friends.

A celebration of Bruce’s life is being planned for the afternoon of Wednesday, March 2, 2005. Details will appear in the Austin American-Statesman on Tuesday.

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