Morris James “Jim” Bruckner

Morris James “Jim” Bruckner

October 6, 1934 – June 24, 2023

Morris James “Jim” Bruckner (88) of Freeland, Washington passed away peacefully at home on June 24, 2023 after a brief Illness.

Jim was born in Platte Center, NE on October 6, 1934 to Felix and Leona Bruckner. The fourth of six children, he attended Platte Center high school where he excelled in both academics and athletics, playing eight-man football. Upon graduating in 1952, Jim was recruited to play football by the University of Nebraska but chose instead to matriculate at Creighton University. After three years in the Business School, he entered Creighton University Law School and received his Juris Doctorate in 1958, graduating second in his class.

During his time at Creighton, Jim met Marilyn Kaasch of Schuyler, NE and they wed in 1956. Together they had five sons — Stephen, James, Mark, Robert, and Paul.

After graduation from Law School, Jim joined the Omaha firm of Cassem Tierney where he discovered his love of the court room. After several years at this firm, he was hired to the staff of Nebraska U.S. Senator Roman Hruska as legal counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1964, he was recruited back to Lincoln, Nebraska to start the litigation department at the Marti Dalton firm (later renamed Bruckner O’Gara Keating). He later established a firm in Lincoln with John Ballew and John Fowles. During his law practice, Jim became one of the most renowned trial attorneys of his era, invited by peer recognition into four major trial lawyer organizations: The International Society of Barristers; The American College of Trial Lawyers; The International Academy of Trial Lawyers; and The International Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Few lawyers have achieved the distinction of being members of all four organizations. Jim was an ardent proponent of helping clients through the judicious application of the law. During his career he won multiple million-dollar-plus decisions, and argued approximately 30 cases before the Nebraska Supreme Court and other appellate courts.

A force of nature in the courtroom, Jim was also deeply dedicated to his family, encouraging each of his five sons to pursue their individual academic, athletic, and extracurricular passions as he raised them with Marilyn. In addition to coaching and mentoring them in Little League sports, once they entered high school and post-secondary school, Jim regularly traveled to attend official school functions, performances, and other family-centered events. An avid and skilled gardener, Jim instilled a love of landscaping in his sons. To them and their grandchildren he also imparted a love of literature, gifting them with books on birthdays and holidays, chosen and inscribed with a personal note crafted especially for each child.

As he neared retirement, Jim became passionate about oil painting and traveled often to Taos, NM to study with renowned impressionist painter, Ray Vinella. A student of the piano in his youth, Jim took up piano lessons again at age 50, where he reconnected with classical repertory, and pursued his love of jazz and blues. When he wasn’t gardening, golfing, or sketching a still-life, Jim could be heard working on riffs and practicing favorite compositions by jazz greats from the Stride to post Bebop eras.

After retiring in 2002, Jim moved to South Whidbey Island where he had room to pursue his landscaping hobby, while enjoying a panoramic view of the Puget Sound. In 2005, Jim married Darcy Bruckner (nee Monagas), a teacher of Spanish language and literature who had relocated to Seattle from Mérida, Venezuela in 2000. He and Darcy enjoyed traveling to visit family and exploring international locales. They spent several winters in Zihuantanejo, Mexico, where he developed a fondness for Mexican cuisine and culture, which he shared with his grandchildren. During his retirement, Jim engaged in many philanthropic activities, supporting literacy, arts development, and education. He provided financial and fund-raising support for Casa de Cuna in Uruapan, Mexico, where he built a library for students and created a scholarship program for young female students to attend college.

Jim was preceded in death by his father, Felix; mother, Leona; sisters, Darlene and Patricia; brothers: Duane, Paul, and Thomas; first spouse, Marilyn; and son, Paul (spouse Martha Bruckner, Lincoln, NE). In addition to his beloved wife, Darcy, Jim is survived by his sons: Stephen (spouse Anne, Omaha NE), James (partner Stefanie, North Bend, WA), Mark (spouse Mary Beth Easley, Iowa City, IA), and Robert (spouse Megan, Seattle, WA); Darcy’s children, Guillermo (spouse Ning, West Seattle, WA) and Oana (spouse Roberto, Château d’Oex , Switzerland); daughters-in-law, Mary Jo Starck (Gig Harbor, WA), and Nancy Phillips (Battle Creek, NE); sister-in-law, Mary Bruckner (Norfolk, NE); step-children, Katie Cahoy Heier (Maple Valley, WA) and Casey Cahoy (Seattle, WA). Jim had 16 grandchildren; 4 step-grandchildren; and 17 great grandchildren whom he adored.

The family requests that all notes or memorials to a charity of choice be sent to Heafey Hoffman Dworak Cutler Funeral Home (7805 West Center Rd., Omaha, NE). There will be a MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL at St. John’s Church on the campus of Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, on Saturday, July 8th at 10am (Visitation from 9:30am), followed by a Celebration of Life. As was his wish, Jim will be laid to rest in St. Patrick Cemetery, Platte Center, NE, near his beloved mother and father.

To view a live broadcast of the Mass, please visit and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.



  • Michael and Jeanette Pollard Posted July 5, 2023 11:44 am

    Memorial sent to St Jude Hospital

  • John Pintauro Posted July 6, 2023 12:33 pm

    Jim Steve
    I am sorry for your loss. God bless your dad and your family

  • Brian Driscoll Posted July 6, 2023 12:43 pm

    Steve, Jim and family,,
    Please accept my condolences for the loss of your father Morris.
    “Jim” he had an amazing life and will surely be missed by all. Definitely a life well lived, and that is to be celebrated. God bless you and yours at this time. Love, your brother Brian Driscoll

  • kevin fitzmaurice Posted July 6, 2023 1:52 pm

    My thoughts and prayers to your family

  • Steven R Evelhoch Posted July 6, 2023 2:31 pm

    Hi Jim, Steve and family,
    I am sorry for your loss. I remember when Tom Kirsch, Peter Turek, and myself traveled cross country and visited both of you and your dad in the A frame in Breckenridge. We played chess most of the night while it was snowing. Your dad was a good man and very worldly. I remember that to this day because he left a lasting impression on me about what a successful professional man looked like and acted like. You were all very lucky to have him as a father and I know he will be sorely missed.

  • Jerry Spethman, Jr. Posted July 6, 2023 9:18 pm

    Steve, Jim, Mark and Bob: So sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. He was a wonderful friend to our Dad, Jerry, Sr. and they had so many fun times together over the years, especially when Bob McCabe was involved, that it would be almost impossible to count. As his obituary indicates, your Dad was a complex and impressive man with a large personality and a swift and curious mind. I will always remember him with fondness as he treated my family and I with kindness, generosity and good humor. I will always remember him with a smile on his face, and on behalf of the entire Spethman family I send you and your families our sincere and heartfelt condolences.

  • Ron Graus Posted July 8, 2023 5:15 am

    My sincere condolences and prayers to the Bruckner family.
    RIP Jim.

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