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Farewell to a Georgetown Icon

I am writing this about a friend we lost recently. Not just any friend, but one of those special ones. You know, the kind you love to hear from, and you hate it if you can’t take their call because you’re in a meeting, or getting a haircut, or any of the myriad things we do to navigate day to day life.

This friend, Bruce Barton, left us much too soon, without fanfare (which he would have liked), passing away from complications after a stroke.  I will never forget getting an unexpected text first thing in the morning from a good friend of both of ours. When I returned the call, he explained that Bruce had passed away the night before.

As that news sank in, I began to sort through my emotions of loss and assess my relationship with Bruce. One thing is for certain—to know Bruce was to like Bruce. I can’t remember the first time I met him, but I do remember that we hit it off right from the start. It wasn’t long before I started calling him any time I needed information about development; but then again, everyone called Bruce when they needed to know something about development.

There were a couple of things about Bruce that really stood out: he knew what he knew—which was about everything concerning building or bringing a business to town; he told you what he knew when you asked, but more importantly, he told you what he didn’t know as well. If you told him something in confidence, you never had to worry about hearing it come back around. You could trust him to a fault!

What I will remember most is his booming voice. Yet when I called him, hopping mad about something or someone, he would say in a quiet, deep voice, “Mike, calm down, tell me what’s up…” And when I did, his advice was always measured, thoughtful, and beneficial.

He was a fixture at Georgetown City Council meetings and had a large part in helping to make Georgetown what it is today.

Everyone who knew Bruce knows that he wasn’t a small man. Yet, he loved driving around in his (tiny) Fiat 500, which made an amusing visual as he was always on the go. We had many great lunches together, laughing, crying, discussing politics and development, and just enjoying our time together throughout the seven years I knew him. He will be missed, not only by his family, but literally hundreds, if not thousands of others whose lives he touched. Georgetown and Williamson County are better because of him, and his loss in our lives is profound. I am certain he is resting at home in Heaven in the arms of a loving GOD. Bruce, my friend, you are missed!

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