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Bruce Petrie


1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
PETRIE

Bruce I. Petrie, Sr., prominent Cincinnati lawyer and civic leader, died of heart failure on December 6 at . He was 91. Bruce moved to Cincinnati from Florida in 1940 and began attending Withrow High School as a freshman. There, he made lifelong friendships and met the love of his life, Beverly Stevens. At the age of 19, toward the end of World War II, Bruce left the University of Cincinnati after his first year so he could enlist in the Marine Corps. Stationed on the U.S.S. Bremerton, Bruce served on the ship's missions in Shanghai and the Philippines. After discharge he returned to UC (via the GI Bill) and went on to UC Law School, where he graduated in 1950. He and Beverly were married that same year and were together until her death in 1993. After a short time at another law firm, he joined Graydon, Head & Ritchey and made partner in 1956. With a varied law practice, Bruce became involved in the Cincinnati Bar Association. He was president of the bar association in 1980-81 and was a founding member of the board that helped to establish the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation. Over a long career of commitment to Cincinnati through his legal and civic leadership, Bruce won a number of public service accolades, including: President's Award for Excellence, University of Cincinnati (1976); the Cincinnatus Association Special Award (1980); Distinguished Citizen Award from Citizens Forum/National Municipal League (1985); Ohio Bar Medal, Ohio State Bar Association (1988); the Charles P. Taft Civic Gumption Award (1988); and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UC College of Law (1995). As a long-time director of the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati, Bruce worked to keep local government free of partisan politics. For decades, he tried to do likewise in the judicial realm by working tirelessly, but ultimately failing to achieve merit selection of judges in Ohio. He served on the Ohio Ethics Commission, the Indian Hill School Board, and the Murray & Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation. He was also active at Knox Presbyterian Church, serving as an elder and deacon in the 1960s and 70s and was a long-time member of the Literary Club of Cincinnati. A man of many varied interests, Bruce was especially proud to have been a co-founder (with the late Daniel Ransohoff) of WGUC, Cincinnati's classical music station. He served as chairman of WGUC's community board in 1974-76. When his granddaughters began learning to play the violin, he decided to take lessons himself. He often joked that he was the only student who seemed to get worse with practice. But he went on to be the executive producer of Classical Quest, a video furnished to all Ohio school districts and designed to encourage teens to take greater interest in classical music. When he served as a Marine in China, Bruce was struck by the poverty he saw there and vowed to return one day. He made good on the promise after he retired, travelling five times to Jiaotong University in Xian, China to help graduate students with their conversational English. After retirement he also took up rowing at his beloved cottage on Torch Lake and became a fine woodworker. Bruce leaves three children: Laurie Roche (Daniel); and Bruce I. Petrie, Jr. (Mary (Mimi) Bennett) of Cincinnati; and Karen Medsger (Robert Medsger) of Kitchener, Ontario. He leaves ten grandchildren, five great-grandchildren; his brother, R. Douglas Petrie of Evanston, IL; and many nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife, Beverly, he was preceded in death by his sister, Marnie Frietsch Streit, of Cincinnati. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 at Knox Presbyterian Church, 3400 Erie Ave., Hyde Park. Spring Grove Elden Good Funeral Home is serving the family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Beverly Stevens Petrie Fund of the Cincinnati Art Museum, www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer on Dec. 10, 2017
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