James H. "Jimbo" Bruton of Owensboro passed away Monday, Jan. 25,
2016, at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital at the age of 90.
Born in Burkesville, a son of the late Michael and Georgia Tuggle
Bruton, Jimbo was a graduate of Bowling Green High School where he
lettered four years in football, basketball and baseball.
Too tall for the Navy or the Army Air Corps, he joined the U.S.
Army in 1943 and went to jump school with the 82nd Airborne for the
$50 hazardous duty pay.
On Sept. 17, 1944, the 508th Parachute Regiment of the 82nd jumped into
Holland. His squad shortly found itself in Germany behind enemy
lines. Left there as a rear guard, the squad of 12 was cresting a
hill while working its way back to friendly lines. Attacked by the
SS, the first six were killed and the remaining six, of which Bruton
was next-to-last, were wounded except the last one who didn't get a
scratch. Out of ammunition, they were captured and impounded in a
POW work camp. The group escaped as the Russian army drew near and
traveled with them before rejoining their unit. Following
hospitalization in Camp Lucky Strike at Cherbourg, France, they were
repatriated to Miami, Florida.
Following his discharge, Jim returned to Bowling Green where he met
his future bride. There he set utility poles using dynamite before
moving to Detroit to work in the steel mills. He returned to
Owensboro to become the first non-management employee of Green River
Steel, from which he retired as assistant superintendent of
Jim was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 696.
His many roles there included working with the reorganization of the
VFW Honor Squad, with which he participated in well over 130
services for veterans. He was committed to children, both his own and those of the community. His
activities in the Masonic Lodge, the Shrine and its clown troupe as
Jimbo the Clown, were directed toward aiding crippled children. Jim
was a supporter of Daviess County High School Athletics, having
served as president of the Booster Club.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Basham Bruton in 1997;
his son, Steven Michael Bruton in 2001; and his great-granddaughter,
Elizabeth Christine Bruton in 2013. He is survived by his sons,
James Bruton and his wife, Pam, of Fruitland Park, Florida, and
Kevin Bruton and his wife, Sharon, of Owensboro; his grandchildren,
James Walter Bruton of Lebanon, Kimberly Marie Cheeks of Georgetown,
Michael Joseph Bruton of Charlotte, North Carolina, Nicholas Reagan
Bruton of Owensboro, Ethan Alexander Bruton of Newburgh, Indiana,
Sean Michael Bruton of Owensboro, Stephanie Maire Nunn of Bowling
Green and Matthew Ryan Bruton of Owensboro; and his
great-grandchildren, Victoria Abigail Bruton, Edward James Bruton
and Brooklyn Noel Bruton, all of Owensboro, and Andrew Cheeks of
The funeral service will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Glenn Funeral Home
and Crematory, where visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and
after 8:30 a.m. Saturday. A Veterans Final Salute will be Friday at
5 p.m. and Masonic Rites at 7 p.m. Burial with full military honors
afforded by the Honor Guard of VFW Post 696 will be in Rosehill
Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions
to VFW Post 696 or the Shriners Hospital for Children, 1900 Richmond
Road, Lexington, KY 40502-1204.
James enlisted in the Army at Evansville, IN 27 November
On 10 August 1944 Pvt Bruton was transferred
from the 11th Replace Depot to Co B, 508th PIR.
He was reported as missing in action as of 119
September 1944 and was later determined to have been taken as a
prisoner of war.
Pvt Bruton was liberated from Stalag 7A after the
He died on January 25, 2016 and is buried in
Rosehill Elmwood Cemetery, Owensboro (Daviess county), Kentucky
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