|Though Marion Bruce was born too late to trod new paths in new lands, the pioneering spirit of Marion took him to other frontiers. Marion moved with his family to Wall, SD, in 1904. He attended school there and in Rapid City, graduating from South Dakota State College in 1921.
In 1933, Marion took a position with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, serving for 13 years. In 1945, the Bruce family moved to McIntosh, SD. <p>In the years that followed, Marion was not one to remain an inactive part of the community. Already an Army Veteran of WWI and WWII, he became a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Masonic bodies, the American Legion Post, and a member of the State Historical Society. Other interests included sponsorship of the Water Fluoridation Program which he organized and followed through the South Dakota State Legislature until its final passage. <p>But Marion’s real interest and pioneering thrust came in the field of weather modification. He began his own “rainmaking” experiments by soaking briquettes in silver iodide and burning them in his cook stove, then going outside to observe clouds for possible effects. The silver iodide soaked corncob was another of Marion’s innovations. Today, the technology of increasing rainfall and decreasing hail damage by weather modification techniques has moved to such a level of respectability that federal, state and local governments all over the world are funding research and operational programs. Many scientific uncertainties remain, but the thoughts and deeds of Marion Nelson Bruce have considerably hastened the day that precipitation management will become a fully accepted technology by scientists and laypersons alike. <p>Meteorologists come and go, but South Dakota, and the world for that matter, has had Marion Bruce. He became known worldwide as a pioneer and advocate of weather modification for rain increase and hail suppression to benefit agriculture. “Mr. Weather Modification,” as he was often titled, was honored by the South Dakota Weather Modification Commission for 20 years of service as a weather control commission. <p>Marion Bruce was the individual determined to bring “rainmaking” out of its rather shady past into an era of respectability. And he continued to apply atmospheric science to the practical needs of the agricultural region.
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