In memory of Bruce Luster:
Bruce Luster was born February 23, 1911 in East Caney (Sulphur Springs), Texas, in Hopkins County to the late Elder Joe Luster and Henrietta Wilson Luster. He passed away on Sunday, November 20, 2011, surrounded by family at McKinney Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in McKinney, Texas.
Homegoing Service for Bruce Luster on Friday, November 25, 2011. Arrangements entrusted to Charles W. Smith & Sons, 601 S Tennessee Street, McKinney, TX 75069, (972) 562-7788 , Visitation from 1-2, Homegoing Service from 2-4.
Bruce accepted Christ at a young age and joined the Church of God in Christ under the leadership of his father, Elder Joe Luster. The second born child of 14 children, he was preceded in death by his parents, 5 sisters – Verdlene, Sallie, Clovis, Goldie Mae, Zepher, and 5 brothers – Cleatus ‘Son‘, Joe (Boomer), Albert (Jack), Bertnell, and L.A. Bruce is survived by his loving sisters Jewell Oliphant of McKinney, Texas; Bobbie L. Luster of Los Angeles, California and Janie Hargraves of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Bruce was most beloved by a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
In 1925, at the age of 14, Bruce and his family moved on the first day of January to McKinney, Texas. McKinney was never the same! With the Luster name to match the profession, Bruce started shining shoes at The Palace Barbershop in McKinney at the age of 16. He opened his own business, Bruce’s Shine Place, and was self-employed for more than 50 years.
At the age of 85, February 23, 1996 was declared Bruce Luster Day by Mayor John E. Gay. Bruce has also been recognized by the Texas House of Representatives, honored for his “dedication to the welfare of others.” He received his proclamation from Representative Brian McCall. On his Centennial Birthday, February 23, 2011, another Bruce Luster Day was declared by Mayor Brian Loughmiller. More recently, Bruce was honored with the first Collin County Black Chamber of Commerce Trailblazer Award for his pioneering efforts in his community and profession.
Many residents of McKinney hold Bruce dear. In many instances, he shined shoes for four generations of family members. A staple of the community, he exercised a firm work ethic and perfected the art of shining shoes in McKinney for more than 75 years. He’ll always be remembered for the great privilege of crossing the century mark. He’ll forever be remembered for his quick wit and countless stories of days of old. He’ll never be forgotten for his Sunday suits and mid-day cruising. Without a doubt, there will never be a shine like a Bruce Luster shine. Shine on, Bruce! Shine on!
Tidbits about Bruce Luster – The Shoe Shine Man – as Shared in TownSquareBuzz
I grew to like and, ultimately, deeply respect this rock of a person over the course of countless visits to his shoe shine shop over 20 years. The first thing that hit you was the heat coming from his somewhat smelly gas stove he always had on. They warmed the brick walls on which hung insurance calendars and not much else. There was always the first few polite moments of conversation until he remembered who I was. That would allow me access to some of the more interesting stories about McKinney’s past as witnessed by Mr. Bruce.
There were stories about former Mayor John Gay, viewed by many contemporary citizens as the respected and retired mayor, but remembered by Mr. Bruce as a shoeless kid running through the fields. Or Robbie Clark, longtime McKinney citizen, as a youngster crying to get out of the barber chair. But from these wonderful tidbits of living history, his story emerged.
The shoe shine experience with Mr. Bruce was a study in itself—a study in professionalism, standards, pride. If you were in a hurry, he would tell you to go someplace else. He was only going to provide his standard, first-class shine. And don’t even think about dropping a pair of shoes off. A proper shoe shine is given with a person in the shoes. His hands were strong and sure and he never compromised on quality. They always took the same amount of time and produced the same great results. And whatever tip was given to Mr. Bruce, from 50 cents to 50 dollars, produced the same smile of surprise and joyful “Thank you” from him. – Anonymous