Cover photo for Bruce Eakle's Obituary
1942 Bruce 2023

Bruce Eakle

July 24, 1942 — October 30, 2023

Col Bruce F. Eakle, USAF, Retired, age 81, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away peacefully on October 30, 2023, surrounded by family.

Bruce was born on July 24, 1942, in Charleston, West Virginia, to Earl Eakle and Hazel (Linhart) Eakle. He was raised on a small farm in Clay, West Virginia, as his father was a farmer and part time lawyer. Bruce, however, hated farming because the work never ended. He preferred the academic lifestyle. Out of a senior class of 140 students, Bruce was among only three that went on to college. He graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering from the Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His oldest brother, Burke (who had enlisted in the Navy following the bombing of Pearl Harbor), was a great influence on him. Burke urged Bruce to join a military reserve unit while in college since he was vulnerable to the draft. Bruce took his oldest brother's advice and served in the Navy Reserves for four years while in college. Upon graduating in 1964, Bruce joined the Air Force and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. While serving in the Air Force, Bruce earned a Master of Science in R&D Management from Southern Methodist University and also graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Bruce was a very proud veteran, having served in the military for over 28 years. He spent his entire Air Force career in all facets of research and development, testing, and procurement of a large number of highly advanced weapons systems. He worked on many highly classified projects such as the Short Range Attack Missile, bunker-busting bombs, laser-guided and satellite-guided bombs, Peacekeeper and Minuteman missiles, and the world's first operational stealth attack aircraft, the F-117 Nighthawk. During his long career, Bruce served at 14 different military installations and was awarded numerous medals of commendation, including 3 Air Force Commendation Medals, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 2 Legion of Merit Medals, and the Defense Superior Service Medal, which is the highest non-combatant award in the Department of Defense. Bruce retired as a Colonel in 1990.

After retirement, Bruce spent many years as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America. His accolades continued as he was awarded numerous honors including being inducted into the Order of the Arrow and receiving the Silver Beaver Award. His son, Scott, became an Eagle Scout, which he was very proud of. Throughout the Scouting organization, he was often regarded as kind, generous and humorous.

Bruce is survived by his wife of over 45 years, Nancy (Hopkins) Eakle. They met while he was stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Station, where she also happened to work. They were married on 5-6-78. He is also survived by his son, Scott Eakle of San Antonio, Texas; daughter, Katherine Johnson and husband Lawrence of Edgewood, New Mexico; grandchildren, Natalie, Neil and Norah Eakle; and a son from a previous marriage, Robert (R.B.) Eakle and wife Cindy and their son William.

In addition to his parents, Bruce was preceded in death by his brothers, Burke Eakle and Allan Eakle and his sister, Dawn Davis.

Bruce’s family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the staff of Buena Vista Senior Care and Hospice De La Luz for the compassionate, loving and attentive care he received during the final time of his life.

Memorial service will be held on Monday, November 27, 2023, 3:00 p.m., at FRENCH – Wyoming, with a reception to follow.  Interment with military honors will be the following day, Tuesday, November 28, 2023, 11:00 a.m., at Santa Fe National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to:

East Mountain Companion Animal Project                                                                                                                                   code 9338$EastMountCAP


or a veteran’s charity or charity of your choice.


To send flowers to the family in memory of Bruce Eakle, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Monday, November 27, 2023

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Monday, November 27, 2023

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

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