Services for gunfighter, investigator set for Wednesday |

Services for gunfighter, investigator set for Wednesday

by Kurt Hildebrand
Bruce Royce dressed as Capt. John L. Blackburn, Nevada's first peace officer killed in the line of duty.

Carson City gunfighter Bruce Alex Royce died with his boots on Saturday. Family members and friends will say farewell to the 50-year-old investigator at a 6 p.m. Wednesday funeral service at FitzHenry’s Chapel of Faith.

Mary Royce said Bruce had just finished working on the town set gunfighters use when he came into the house, sat down on the couch, and died.

“He worked all day, drank lots of water, and wore his big floppy hat,” she said. “He sat down on the couch to rest, and I couldn’t bring him back.”

Members of the Nevada Gunfighters and Carson City’s Search and Rescue will serve as honor guard at Royce’s funeral.

“Kenny Furlong held me while they tried to bring him back” Mary Royce said.

The Royces had been married for 28 years.

“Our birthdays are the same,” she said. “We had two boys, and this man taught them everything he knew.”

Royce came to Carson City in 1995, after he retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served 24 years as an investigator.

When he arrived, Mary Royce said, he became fascinated by Nevada’s Old West history.

“He had always been interested in history, and when he moved here, the history was so intriguing to him it lead him to the gunfighters,” she said.

“He wanted to do a group that was very authentic. Each member is a character from history.”

Royce chose Capt. John L. Blackburn, Nevada’s first peace officer killed in the line of duty. Blackburn’s name appears on the Peace Officer’s Memorial.

Royce retired from his position as a Gaming Control Board investigator last summer and was starting his own private investigator firm.

“He was only licensed last month,” Mary Royce said on Tuesday.

The couple raised two sons. James is a deputy in Bozeman, Mont. Andrew, 22, works at Chromalloy and recently purchased his own home in Dayton.

“They were both Eagle Scouts,” she said.

Royce spent nine years with Carson City Search and Rescue.

“He has just done so many things,” Mary Royce said.

Contact Kurt Hildebrand at or 881-1215.