Dr. Bruce Edward Fleury, 69, of New Orleans, died suddenly on Friday morning, January 3, 2020 of a heart attack. Born and raised in Malone, he was the son of Esther and Camille Fleury.
Bruce was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Ursuline Academy. He attended the University of Rochester and went on to earn graduate degrees from the University of South Florida and the University of Tulane, where he received his PhD. He spent his career as an educator. For the first half, he worked in academic libraries, including Cornell University, the Florida Institute of Technology and Tulane University, where he was the head of the library’s science and engineering division for seven years. He then began teaching biology at Tulane and Loyola Universities, and retired from Tulane in 2016 as a Professor Emeritus. His specialties were ornithology and dinosaur biology, however he also taught the freshman introductory biology classes, where he was known for wearing his red Converse All-Star sneakers and one of his large collection of colorful tee shirts themed to the day’s lecture, such as, crustaceans, birds, reptiles or amphibians.
Bruce laced his lectures with humor and was known for his beautiful and humorous accompanying slide shows. At the start and end of every lecture, his students were initially surprised to hear music coming from the classroom. Other students and staff, including janitors could be seen gathered outside the classroom just to listen. His classes were so popular that they filled up as soon as registration opened. Over the years, he has taught over 11,000 students. He was recognized twice as Teacher of the Year by the Tulane Chapter of the Mortar Board National Honor Society, and in 2008 was invited to give their annual “Last Lecture” where a favorite professor gives a lecture as if it were his last.
Because of his stellar reputation as a teacher, Bruce was invited by The Teaching Company in Virginia to lecture for two digitally recoded classes in their Great Courses Series: Mysteries of the Microscopic World and The Scientific Wonder of Birds. He also wrote and published three children’s books, a set of which was donated to the Malone Wead Library.
Bruce also had many hobbies, including birdwatching, of course. He also played the autoharp and developed a method that allowed him to perform both melody and rhythm with only his one functional hand. He was a model railroader, his trains fun through “Benville,” a fictitious town inspired by his fond memories of growing up in Malone.
In retirement, prompted by his mother Esther, Bruce started a small family genealogy, which has since grown to a very extended family tree on Ancestry.com with over 46,000 people. He also had a large collection of superhero comic books, which unfortunately were lost in Hurricane Katrina. However, they gave him the expertise to snag a job as an advisor on Warner Brothers’ Green Lantern film in 2011, his favorite part-time gig.
Bruce is survived by his mother, Esther Fleury of Malone; his wife of 40 years, Mary Ellen of New Orleans; a son, Benjamin Fleury of New Orleans; a sister and brother-in-law, Linda and John McElwain of North Bangor; two brothers and sister-in-law, Faron and Darlene Fleury of North Bangor, Paul Huebner of Colorado; as well as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, many living in the Malone Area.
He was predeceased by his father, Camille; an infant brother, Aaron John; and infant twin daughters.
Calling hours will be held at St. Mary-Murphy-Wilcox Funeral Home on Saturday, February 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. A prayer service will immediately follow in the funeral home chapel at noon.
Burial will take place at Notre Dame Cemetery, Malone.
A reception will be held at the Malone Elks Club on Elm Street.
Online condolences may be offered at www.chateaugayfuneralhome.com.