Dr. Bruce Mouser

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Dr. Bruce Mouser

June 08, 1937 - December 07, 2018

Dr. Bruce Mouser Dr. Bruce Lee Mouser
Dr. Bruce Lee Mouser, 81, of La Crosse, loving husband, father and grandfather, a veteran and a friend, died Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.
A private memorial was held Dec. 9, 2018. Mouser was born June 8, 1937, in Roann, Ind., to Mabel Marie Oswalt and Willard Caleb Mouser.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father; a brother, Wilbur of Roann; and sisters, Helen Burnworth and Pauline Griswald of Phoenix, Ariz., and Norma Heckman of Cottonwood, Ariz. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, of La Crosse; his daughter, Audrey (Sulaimon) Elegbede; and grandsons, Jacob Elegbede and Idris Elegbede of Rochester, Minn.; granddaughter, Alexandra Elegbede-Peer of Ripon, Wis.; in-laws, Rosa Lou and James Newman of Jay, Okla.; and extended family and friends.
Mouser graduated from Roann High School in 1955. He attended Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., for one year, before serving in the U.S. Army Security Agency from 1956 to 1959, as a Russian linguist and translator in Berlin, Germany. He attended Indiana University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree (history) in 1961 and a Masters of Arts in Teaching Degree (social studies) in 1962. He taught in the St. Louis, Mo., public school system from 1962 to 1964. He returned to Indiana University in 1964 and completed a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (history) in 1972.
From 1968 to 1996, Mouser taught history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus. His teaching and research specialty was African History, although he also taught Asian History and historiography. He and his family spent a sabbatical semester in Sierra Leone, West Africa, in 1979, and he was loaned by the University of Wisconsin to the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Assistance in 1986, to teach American History for two years at Institut Tecknologi MARA in Shah Alam, Malaysia. He was one of the founders of the National Association of Ethnic Studies in 1972.
Mouser claimed that he was fluent in only one language, English. But he also obtained formal training in French, Russian, Krio, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic and attempted to learn German, Thai and Malay, while living abroad. He was the recipient of two Fulbright-Hays Abroad Fellowships - to International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964 and to American University of Cairo in Cairo, Egypt, in 1989. He participated in a summer semester program at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka in 1966. He was an early convert to the computer.
Mouser was an early Christian, but events and circumstances turned him neutral in spiritual matters. He equated spirituality with social justice and "good orderly direction," and he discovered Buddhism and a "higher power of his understanding," in 1990. He was a frequent sojourner to Thailand, where he was a Buddhist monk for a brief period. He was also an active member of the Riteway Club of La Crosse.
Mouser was an accomplished writer. After retiring in 1996, he authored 15 books, 32 articles, published in scholarly journals and 11 chapters in books written by others. He presented papers at international conferences in Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Portugal and chaired meetings or gave academic lectures in Sierra Leone, Costa Rica, Australia and China. His research topics ranged from the history of his military unit in Berlin, to the history of black settlers in La Crosse, to missionary travels in West Africa, and to the slave trade between Africa and the Americas. In 2009, he became the webmaster for an online collection of documents and research notes relating to Africa (http://www.tubmaninstitute.ca/mouser_collection). He has written three yet-unpublished novels.
Mouser is best known in La Crosse, for his articles, books and public lectures on Black settlement along the upper Mississippi River. His biography of George Edwin Taylor, published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2010, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. His biography of George Coleman Poage is a "free access" e-book at http://hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu/AANB.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to your favorite library, archive, or organization doing good works.
Published on December 12, 2018
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2 posts

Rachel Kinney Schwandt
Jan 02, 2019
Dear Nancy and Audrey,
Fond memories of Bruce and of you both come to mind as I read of his passing, but more importantly of his legacy. I remember when you moved next door that Bruce had an amazing laugh and so much enthusiasm and joy for life. Please accept my condolences as you begin the journey of life without him. Thinking of you all as you celebrate his remarkable life.
Dec 11, 2018