Cover photo for William Baker Bru's Obituary
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William Baker Bru

d. May 25, 2024

Fairhope, AL

William Baker Bru passed away peacefully on May 25, 2024 surrounded by friends and family.

“Billy” was born on February 11, 1937 in Mobile, Alabama to William Vivian Bru and Carolyn Sorrell.   His education began at Leinkoff School continued at Murphy High School and ultimately led him to Auburn University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration .  While attending Auburn he met the love of his life, AnnaBell Armbrecht and decided while still in school to ask her father for her hand in marriage.  Her father, a wise and prominent lawyer in Mobile, answered the young man’s question by stating he could marry her on one condition; that he finish his education.   This proved to be sound advice and the two were married in the chapel at St. Paul’s Church in Mobile on August 26, 1960. Billy was called to serve in the army during the Berlin Crisis and the couple moved for the first of many moves to Fort Benning, Georgia for the beginning of their marriage. The couple celebrated 64 years of marriage, moved 11 times, had 4 children, 11 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

For the next 30 years, Billy pursued a career in the shipping industry starting at Sea Land, Inc in 1962.   The growing family lived in Jacksonville, Florida, Summit, New Jersey and New Orleans, Louisiana during the Sea Land years.   In 1974, Billy left Sea Land to become the Chairman and CEO of Diamond Head Corporation; however, Billy returned to the shipping industry in 1978 to become the President and CEO of US Lines.  The family moved back to Summit, New Jersey and spent the next 10 years there.

Perhaps the most interesting and rewarding move the couple made was to Fribourg, Switzerland.  While in Switzerland, Billy learned that the former Czechoslovakia was being liberated from the communist party.  Billy and some investors seized the opportunities that the new Czech Republic offered. The investors purchased properties and several operating companies in the Czech Republic.

In 2000, after a stint living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the couple moved back home to the shores of Mobile Bay while still commuting to Prague.  During these years the married children returned also to their roots in Mobile and Baldwin Counties.  The family gathered often in the house in Daphne, Alabama.  They enjoyed entertaining friends that they had made near and far along the shores of Mobile Bay and the house was always full of love, laughter and good food! 

It was also during these years when most men were retiring that Billy stepped into what was to be his most rewarding position yet as the Executive Director at the Waterfront Rescue Mission.  It was here that Billy met the Godly men and women that served the homeless of Mobile.   Billy often said that he was walking on “Holy Ground” when he walked in the Mission.

Billy was involved in many civic and religious organizations including serving two terms on the Board of Alabama Port Authority, served on the Board of The Trinity Forum, was a member of New Orleans and New York chapters of YPO, Rotary of Point Clear and he and his wife were involved in the planning of the annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast and served as hosts of The Cedars in Washington, DC.

Billy is survived by his wife of 64 years AnnaBell Bru, children Will, Ginna (Inge), Katie (Taul) and Greg and their spouses Clif, Mac and Tiffany; grandchildren Baker (Lindsey), AnnaBell (Ryan), Sophie (James), James (engaged to Abbie), Clifton (Hartley), Conrad, McRae, Mae, Paterson and Audrey; great grandchildren Riley, Tucker and Carson; and brother Danny (Irma).

Above all, Billy was known for his strong faith in Jesus Christ which he daily expressed by word and deed. He was a man of integrity, perseverance, strength, devotion, hard work and humor. He will be missed by his family and many friends.

The Memorial Service for William Baker Bru will be held at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairhope on Saturday, June 8 at 10:00 AM with reception to follow in Fellowship Hall.  In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Waterfront Rescue Mission of Mobile, NEST of Mobile or Amistad Mission.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Baker Bru, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, June 8, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Reception to follow in Fellowship Hall.

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