Marie Bruce remembered as loving mother, bright mind

Hundreds gathered this morning, following what a pastor called a “dark tragedy,” to remember former Augustan Marie Bruce.

Addressing a crowd of family and friends at Ms. Bruce’s funeral at Warren Baptist Church, senior pastor David McKinley spoke of a life well lived and a “bright mind” taken too suddenly by a senseless action. Ms. Bruce, 47, and two friends were fatally shot Saturday in Athens. Her husband is a suspect.

“No one ever imagined this moment,” Dr. McKinley said, acknowledging how the day brought such great grief to many, but offered hope, as well.

“This is a room that is filled with hurt because it is filled with love,” he said, later adding “We need the grace of God to mend us.”

He recalled a happier day just weeks before when Ms. Bruce and her family were in Augusta at her mother’s house nearby to celebrate Easter with a traditional egg hunt.

“It was a great family day, and one I know they will always remember,” he said.

At that Easter celebration was George Zinkhan, Ms. Bruce’s husband -- a University of Georgia professor who remains the focus of a nationwide manhunt.

For that reason, many sheriff’s deputies were present, as well as plain-clothed officers.

The funeral included soloists singing such songs as It Is Well With My Soul and How Great Thou Art. Following that, Dr. McKinley talked about how Ms. Bruce was an honor roll student as a child and went on to become an English teacher and then graduate from law school at the University of Georgia after just two years, passing the bar on the first try.

“Marie was a high achiever,” he said. “...She was smart, she was intelligent and she used it in a great way.”

The pastor then noted how justice is understandably wanted, but added “it does not take away the brokenness of life.”

He mentioned how more lies ahead beyond this life: “It is this hope and this truth that leads us beyond this moment.”

The pastor then prayed for the families, not only of the shooting victims, but also for the family of the man accused in the killings, “knowing they are wrestling with and needing your (God’s) strength also.”

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