“Tee Bruce” Broussard
John Loyd “Tee Bruce” Broussard, 81, of China, died Thursday, March 18, 2010, at Baptist Beaumont Hospital. His funeral service will be 10 a.m. Monday, March 22, at Broussard’s Mortuary, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. A graveside service will be 1 p.m., Monday at Beech Creek Cemetery in Spurger. A gathering of his family and friends will be from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., Sunday, at the funeral home.
He has not only lived the life and history of the Cajun segment of our combined American fabric but had also proudly broadcast the unique music of his culture, every Sunday, for over 46 years, to millions of Cajuns and converts alike. The commitment to Cajun Music on KLVI was past to Tee-Bruce from the late Johnny Janot.
For over four decades at the KLVI studios in Beaumont at 6 a.m. every Sunday, a humble, later white haired, Tee Bruce awakened the normally quiet AM airways with “Well, all right!!” and the request phone lines lit up to start the Cajun Jamboree. The callers range from old friends, musicians past and present, the famous and the infamous, to strangers and first time listeners as well. As an observer, the calls that so much touched this veteran broadcaster the most are the families who call and relay the passing in death of a dedicated listener or friend and they request he play that person’s favorite song in memory of them. After 46 years, the Cajun Jamboree was as much a part of families’ Sunday morning ritual as getting ready for church and dinner at the grandparents. It really was his culture, that of his extended family of listeners. He understood his influence and his responsibility to preserve and carry on the Cajun legacy and values.
He was born in Port Arthur on Feb. 25, 1929, to Mr. and Mrs. Loyd Broussard, who were second generation Acadian French. Tee Bruce grew up and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High in Port Arthur in 1947 and served in the Air Force for two and a half years as an aircraft repair specialist working on B-29s and converted B-50s, and trained on the then “new” generation of jet aircraft at Biggs Air Force Base. He traveled around the country training in at least 12 specialties that “kept our boys flying safely.”
Through his love of Cajun music and natural wood working abilities, Tee Bruce began making and repairing accordions while working for Texaco Refinery in Port Arthur. He heard of an accordion stashed in an attic of an elderly Cajun woman, and went to her door and asked if he could retrieve it. Given permission, Tee Bruce climbed into the attic and found the skeletal remains of that accordion, retrieved the “works” and gently brought them home and replicated each part. That first accordion now belongs to his son, Johnny Broussard. Then in 1959 while listening to Cajun music on radio station KPLC in Port Arthur, a request was made that if anyone had any 78-RPM Cajun records and could bring them down to the station, it would be appreciated. That’s where it all began. Immediately Tee Bruce was answering the phone for KPLC and after a year, they moved to KOLE in Port Arthur for the next two years.
Recognizing a talented disc jockey, Ed Lovelace of station KOGT in Orange offered Tee Bruce his own show and on April 21, 1963, the “Cajun Jamboree” was born and ran for 16 years before returning to Port Arthur at KPAC and running for 10 more years. There with the help of Jay Broussard and Floyd Reeves who, at that time, cued the turntables with vinyl records and answered the dial phone. During this time Tee Bruce was promoted, produced and emceed the Texas Folk Life Festival for 11 years, the Orangefield Festival for 10 years, started and sponsored the Cajun Queen Festival for eight years as well as being among the 10 founders of the Golden Triangle Cajun French Music Association (GTCFMA).
It was also during this time Tee Bruce started his own recording company called Cajun Jamboree and produced over 38 records for such Cajun legends as Joe Bonsall, Blackie Forestier, Milford Simon, Geno Thibodeaux, Tim Broussard, Walter Mouton, Jude Moreaux and Allen Thibodeaux. All this while still repairing or building custom accordions on 9th Avenue in Port Arthur for other such Cajun luminaries as Doug Kershaw, who had several hits at the time including Louisiana Man and Diggy Liggy Lo. All the while he enjoyed the hospitality of sitting at his table and enjoying meals and swapping lies!
In May of 1990 Tee Bruce was inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame in Lake Charles, La., which was an incredible honor for this proud Port Arthur native. Then on Aug. 15 of 2003, Tee Bruce was invited to Lafayette, La. by the Cajun French Music Association, which is the global organization representing the Cajun music genre, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in Eunice, La. In addition, he has been honored with several declared “Tee Bruce Days” in both Texas and Louisiana.
Tee is survived by his wife, Bonnie Broussard of China; his first wife and mother of his children, Ethel; daughters, Mary Ann Broussard of Dallas and Barbara Clark and her husband Joe of Beaumont; sons, Johnny Broussard of Port Arthur and Mike Broussard and his wife, Sylvia of Groves; brother, Stanley Broussard of Port Arthur; grandchildren, Christy Marceaux, Joshua Marceaux and his wife, Betty, April Harris and her husband, Mike, D. J. Broussard and Johnny James Broussard; great-grandchildren, Matthew Marceaux, Elijah Harris, Ian Harris and Sean Harris; step children, Dickey Stapleton and Dena Holmes and her husband, Ira; stepgrandchildren, Lauren Perez, Alexa Armstreet, Aceson Holmes, Trace Holmes, Stacey Rayner, Ruby Balsano and Elisa Garrison; stepgreat-grandchildren, Gracie Armstreet and Johna Armstreet; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to American Heart Association, P.O. Box 7015, Beaumont, Texas 77726.