Whether serving his country in the armed forces, serving the community as a law enforcement officer, or serving individuals and families as a licensed mental health counselor, Bruce Drazen's life was one of service.
Bruce Drazen, 77, passed away on April 14, 2021, in Orlando, FL. Born in Brooklyn, NY on June 30, 1943, he was raised in Brooklyn by his parents Florence and Jack Drazen.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Bruce served as a soldier from 1961-1968. During this time, the Berlin crisis had occurred, and Vietnam was occurring. Fort Ord, California, Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Bragg, North Carolina were all duties stations he served at. After leaving active duty, Bruce continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve while an Orlando Police Officer.
Bruce was visiting south Florida to see his father, Jack who was a US Marshall. While in Coral Gables, he met Joyce Scranton, who was attending a medical technical college. They married in 1963 and re-located to central Florida. Bruce was married to Joyce for 54 years and had three children, Stephanie, David, and Jennifer.
Bruce joined the Orlando Police Department in 1965 and had an impressive 22-year career as a patrolman and investigator. Having received numerous awards for his ingenuity, initiative, and determination, Bruce was acknowledged for his innovative programs such as the development and implementation of the police liaison program in Orange County public schools, research and reporting leading to administrative innovation involving OPD and municipal court, as well as the use of hypnosis in crime investigations.
Ever a life-long learner who valued the importance of education, Bruce spent his spare time going to college and earning a bachelor's and master's degree in Criminal Justice at Rollins College. He later received an equivalent of a second master's degree in Mental Health Counseling, which would inform his career after retirement from the Orlando Police Department.
Initially trained in scientific hypnosis in 1975, Bruce quickly emerged as a pioneer and leader in the field of investigative hypnosis. He became a licensed ethical hypnotist, and later clinical hypnotherapist, in which he would help victims and witnesses recall key information for solving crimes. He was called upon to help with hundreds of criminal investigations, including numerous high-profile cases.
After his retirement from the Orlando Police Department, Bruce became a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida. In addition to his own private practice, Bruce specialized in clinical hypnosis, critical incident stress debriefing, stress reduction, grief and loss, conflict resolution, work within employee assistance programs, and more. He became known in the mental health counseling field as an incredibly ethical, compassionate, empathic therapist that easily gained rapport with his clients and helped them to overcome their presenting problems. He was sought out for clinical supervision and mentorship, offering extremely insightful, thoughtful, and constructive feedback to new mental health counselors and therapists. Bruce also was co-owner of a mental health partial hospitalization program. He will be remembered for his astute clinical prowess, empathy, resiliency, and as a great therapist and mentor.
Described by his grandkids, Bruce was a magnificent, hilarious, nostalgic, warm, loving, caring, and affable grandpa that loved to share his corny jokes just to make them smile and laugh. He was also known to his family and friends as an intensely funny, deeply connected, extremely hard-working, loving, and supportive man that had a great intellectual curiosity as well as a deep love for reading and learning.
Bruce was preceded in death by his parents, Florence and Jack and his wife, Joyce Drazen. He is survived by his children: Stephanie Aubrey (Peter) of Fayetteville, NC; David Drazen of Sanford, FL; Jennifer Williams (Adam) of Miramar, FL; as well as grand and great grandchildren. Bruce relished his role as grandpa and great grandpa to Justine Aubrey (Daniel Boon) of Fayetteville, NC and their children Avery, Eisley, Eloise, Emme, Ophelia; Nicholas Aubrey (Jessica) of Orlando, FL and their son, John; Victoria Aubrey Morton (Austin) of Fort Benning, GA and their children Lucy, Bear, and Eleanor; McKena Aubrey Oberdorfer (Zach) of Okinawa; Alexis Williams of Miramar, FL. Bruce is also survived by his siblings: Dennis Drazen (Valerie) of Lake Mary, FL; Robert Drazen (Janeen) of Lake Mary, FL; and Anne Drazen of Miami, FL, as well as his friend, Barbara Sevon of Lake Mary, FL, and Bruce's beloved Maltese, Georgie.
A memorial service celebrating Bruce's life will be held on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at 1:00 pm at Highland Memory Gardens Chapel, 3329 E Semoran Blvd., Apopka, FL 32703. A committal service at the cemetery and reception at his son's home will follow the memorial service.