BRUCE EDWARD FLEURY
Bruce Edward Fleury, 69, of New Orleans, retired university professor, naturalist, and librarian, died unexpectedly Friday morning, January 3rd, of a heart attack.
Bruce was born and raised in Malone, New York. He attended the University of Rochester and went on to earn graduate degrees from the University of South Florida, and Tulane University, receiving his Ph.D. in biology from Tulane. He spent his career as an educator. Initially, he worked in academic libraries, including Cornell University, Florida Institute of Technology, and Tulane University, where he was head of the library’s science and engineering division for seven years. In 1990, he began teaching biology at both Tulane and Loyola universities, retiring in 2016 from Tulane as Professor Emeritus. His specialties were ornithology and dinosaur biology. However, he also taught introductory biology classes, where he was known for wearing his red Converse All-Star sneakers and a colorful tee-shirt illustrating the topic of the day’s lecture, such as, crustaceans, birds, reptiles, or amphibians. He laced his lectures with humor and was known also for his beautiful (and frequently humorous) accompanying slide shows. At the start and end of every lecture, his students were (initially) surprised to hear music coming from the science classroom. Other students and passers-by in the hallway, including the janitorial staff, 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 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 Fall 2008, was invited to give their Last Lecture, where a favorite professor gives a lecture as if it were his last. Bruce’s topic: “Creationism and Intelligent Design: Old Wine in New Bottles.”
Bruce’s stellar reputation brought him to the attention of The Teaching Company in Virginia, and he was invited to lecture for two digitally recorded classes in their Great Courses series: Mysteries of the Microscopic World and The Scientific Wonder of Birds.
Bruce had many hobbies including birdwatching. He also played the autoharp and developed a method that allowed him to perform both melody and rhythm with only one functional hand. He wrote and published three children’s books. He was a model railroader. His trains run through “Benville,” a fictitious town inspired by his fond memories of growing up in Malone. In retirement, prompted by his mother, Bruce started a small family genealogy which has since grown into 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, was lost in Hurricane Katrina, but nonetheless gave him the expertise to snag a job as an advisor on Warner Brothers’ Green Lantern filmed in New Orleans 2011 – his favorite part-time gig.
Bruce is survived by his wife of 40 years, the former Mary Ellen Wallace, and son Benjamin Fleury, New Orleans; his mother, Esther Lamere Fleury, Malone; a sister and her husband Linda and John McElwain, a brother and his wife Faron and Darlene Fleury, all of North Bangor, New York; and a brother, Paul Huebner, Fort Collins, Colorado. He was predeceased by his father Camille Fleury.
Arrangements are being handled by JACOB SCHOEN & SON FUNERAL HOME, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans 70119. A memorial service will be held in New Orleans at a future date. Condolences may be expressed at www.schoenfh.com