DELF "JELLY" BRYCE
Year Inducted: 2013Delf Albert Bryce was born in Mountain View, Oklahoma Territory, on Dec. 6, 1906. His birth name was Jacob Adolphus Bryce, but he later changed it to Delf Albert Bryce to honor his father and maternal grandfather. Growing up on the frontier, he was a prodigy with a firearm from an early age. His sister said, "Bryce was allowed to teethe on Daddy's pistol." His grandfather, who was known to dote on him, furnished him with shotgun shells. Upon graduating high school, Bryce spent 30 days at the Citizen's Military Camp at Ft. Sill where he won first prize in the pistol and rifle competition. He later won a national rifle shooting contest at Camp Perry, Ohio. In 1927, he was hired as a state game ranger. He soon decided to enroll at Oklahoma University, and en route heard about an annual convention for the Oklahoma Sheriffs & Peace Officers which included a shooting competition. He met Clarence Hurt, the night chief for the Oklahoma City Police Department and captain of the department's pistol team. Bryce asked Hurt if the competition was open to anyone. Hurt was skeptical but agreed to let Bryce demonstrate his ability. Bryce shot six rounds in a group the size of a silver dollar. Hurt was so impressed he made him a member of OCPD on the spot. At the end of the competition, some complained that Bryce was not a law enforcement officer. Hurt quickly responded, "Yes he is. I hired him an hour ago." So began Bryce's illustrious career in law enforcement. On Memorial Day 1933, 11 men escaped the Kansas State prison including Wilbur Underhill, who went on a crime spree, killing three. Bryce aided in the posse that captured Underhill. In July 1934, searching for Clyde Barrow associate Harvey Pugh, Bryce was confronted by a gangster whose guns were drawn. Bryce drew and fired before the man could. This was the 3rd time Bryce outgunned criminals; he later became nationally known for his speed. In 1934, "Baby Face" Nelson killed two FBI agents before being fatally wounded. J. Edgar Hoover searched for lawmen skilled with firearms, and hired Hurt and Bryce. In 1941, Bryce married the love of his life, Shirley Bloodworth. In the early 70s, she was involved in a traffic accident, never fully recovered, and died a year later. Friends said, "It just killed ol' Bryce." In May, 1974, while attending a meeting of the retired FBI agents held at Shangri-La, Bryce was found dead in his room apparently from a heart attack.