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Margery's Story

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Margery May Bruce, 96, a resident of the Solon Assisted Living Village, passed away Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at Mercy Hospital in the care of Iowa City Hospice. Margery was born in Fruitdale, S.D., on Sept. 11, 1919, the daughter of Christian and Grace Anna (Hall) Brandsberg. The oldest of six siblings, she had a happy childhood on the family farm in Butte County, S.D., where she helped with the farm work (including driving wagon pulled by a team of horses), rode her horse, Sammy, and was active in 4-H. She attended Ingersoll Country School, graduated from Belle Fourche High School in Belle Fourche, S.D., and received her degree in Dental Hygiene in 1940 from the University of Minnesota. After graduation, she worked as a dental hygienist in Watertown, S.D.; Des Moines, and Fort Riley, Kan. While at Fort Riley, she met and married Vincent Robert Kovacic in 1944. After WW II, the couple lived in Chicago, Ill., with their two children until Vin’s death in 1949. Margery returned to the family farm to help her father with his dairy herd and to be at home with her children. In 1956 she moved to Knoxville, to return to work as a dental hygienist at the VA Hospital Dental Clinic, where she worked for 19 years. She married Vernon Russell Bruce in 1958 and they lived for many years in Knoxville. She was passionate about genealogy and wrote a book detailing the history of the Hall family. She enjoyed baking, crochet, rosemaling, ceramics, cribbage, reading, and watching basketball and football (closely following the Iowa State, Iowa and Minnesota teams). Margery was active in the First Presbyterian Church, Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Marion County Genealogical Society, the Knoxville Women’s Club, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, and Hospice of Central Iowa, which honored her volunteer work in 2004. She is survived by her two children, Roger Timothy Kovacic and Sue Ellen Kovacic Otto, both of Iowa City; her grandson Robert Vincent (Catharine) Otto of Iowa City; her brother George Thomas (Deanna) Brandsberg of Manhattan, Kan., her forever son-in-law Donald Phillip Otto and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husbands, her parents, her sister Mary Ellen Brandsberg Masek, and her brothers James Brandsberg, Robert Douglas Brandsberg, and John Wilbert (Jack) Brandsberg. A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, April 25, 2016, at the First Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. Memorials donations may be made to HCI (Hospice of Central Iowa) or to Iowa City Hospice.
Published on  April 7, 2016
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