The honourable James Michael Edward Bruce, of Dron House near Balmanno, has died following a lengthy illness.
He was aged 85. A staunch supporter of forestry development all his life, he was awarded the CBE in 1992, having dedicated more than four decades to the forestry industry including the founding of Scottish Woodlands.
Mr Bruce was born in August 1927 to Edward Bruce, the Earl of Elgin of Broomhall Dunfermline and Katherine Bruce.
He was educated at Scaitcliffe, Surrey and at Eton College before conscription in 1945 saw him sent to RMA Sandhurst for training.
Following in the footsteps of brother Andrew, he joined the Scot’s Guards, but while Andrew saw action in Normandy he missed the war though he did suffer damage to his hearing during training, which affected him for the rest of his life.
After completing National Service he undertook training at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, though he was spending much of his free time in Oxford, where he had met Jean Coats, who was studying there.
The couple married in July 1950, at his wife’s family home in Glen Tanar, Aberdeenshire.
A marital home was found at Balmanno Castle and as the couple developed a successful farm during the times of austerity after the war, four children Robert, Clare, John and Michael were all born.
In 1967 he launched a business plan to provide professional forest management services to forest owners. The concept took off and grew into a significant industry before he eventually retired in 1993.
During that period various associated firms were formed, foremost among them Scottish Woodlands, which now employs 151 people, has an annual turnover of £63.9 million and manages 200,000 hectares of land.
Mr Bruce divorced in 1974 and married Morven Anne Macdonald in 1975, setting-up home at Dron House, East Dron, where Alexander, Simon, Katie and Emma were born and raised.
During the 1970s his passion for music had settled on the emerging Scottish Opera and a huge effort was made to make the opera sustainable and to establish it in Theatre Royal in Glasgow, with Mr Bruce undertaking considerable fundraising.
Also during the 1980s and 90s he supported and often chaired elements of the Game Conservancy in Scotland, The Scottish Committee, The Scottish Lowland Research Committee, he was a Scottish Research Trustee and one of the stalwarts who assisted in securing a future for the Game Conservancy in Scotland, most notably at the now annual Scone Fair.
Mr Bruce lost his beloved wife Morven Anne in 1994 and the void in his personal life was not filled until he and Mary Elizabeth Hamilton married in 2000. They had been married for almost 13 years at the time of his death.
He is survived by his seven children, 14 grand-children, his wife Mary Elizabeth and her family of two children and four grand-children. A thanksgiving service will be held on Friday in St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth, at 3pm.