Bruce Rouse Dies

Unbelievable. Another folk music friend has died. The email came in yesterday that Bruce Rouse died over the weekend. I talked with his family some in the past few hours, and they have asked me to help lead the funeral on Wednesday. It’s an honor, but one I’d rather not have. What a shock. Apparently, he had a heart attack while driving around the Austin area on Sunday. From what I can tell, he never had a heart problem before…

Bruce and his wife Liz are two of the kindest people I know in the folk music world. They hosted a very successful and celebrated house concert series in Austin for 15 years. And they hosted a breakfast at a Kerrville during the weekends. That’s the place I remember Bruce the best…always hovering around, making sure everyone had fresh coffee and a new bagel.
Hosting all sorts of songwriters, to play an early morning song, and share a story. In many ways, Bruce and Liz were like surrogate parents to a whole lot of folks.

I’ll be heading down there tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, and help with the service on Wednesday.

That night, there’ll be a song gathering at Live Oak UU Church (home of the Live Oak Coffeehouse) where folks will be invited to play and share stories.

Still, quite an unbelievable shock. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a several-week period where so many people I know have died. (see below). It’s been very strange and surreal, and this is yet another piece of the strangeness of it.

Bruce will be sorely missed by many. I’ll write more once I’m back.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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