Video of Funeral Service for Bruce Laabs

Bruce A. Laabs, Sr., age 80, of Port Washington, Wisconsin passed away Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at Ellen’s Home where he had resided the past few months

We would like to send a thank you to the staff and caregivers of Ellen’s Home who made our time there extra special. The care and dedication was second to none and they were always willing to listen to our requests and understood compassion and dignity when dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.

We gathered together Easter Sunday with close family and friends.  He had a lot of smiles to pass around, talking, telling stories and jokes.  He always had words of wisdom to share.

Bruce was born in Milwaukee on September 15, 1942.  He grew up on Pioneer Road in Mequon with his parents George and Virginia Dick Laabs and big family.  He graduated from Homestead High School and later was drafted to the armed forces and often commented that it was one of the best experiences of his life.

During the Vietnam War, Bruce proudly served in the Army with the rank of sergeant from 1964 to 1966.  Upon his return he worked at Pioneer Container in Cedarburg for a few years.  A job which he would often comment on how he enjoyed working there.

On July 3, 1970, Bruce married Donnamae Hansen of Port Washington, who he picked up hitchhiking New Years Day.  They continued to live and raise their family there.

For over 38 years, Bruce was a tool and die maker for Simplicity Manufacturing in Port Washington until his retirement in 2004.  He was an active member and former steward of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1430.

Family and faith were very important to Bruce.  He had been a member of the First Congregational Church in Port Washington and former council member.  He will be remembered as the founder of the church’s Faith Club.

Bruce enjoyed the outdoors, especially summer, and was often seen around town walking his dog.  Hunting, fishing, boating with family, canoeing the Milwaukee River, and camping on the Wolf River on Catfish Bend are some of the highlights.  He played the guitar; writing songs and sharing his gift.  Bruce is a member of Al-Anon and strived to help others.

He is survived by his wife of over 50 years Donnamae, his daughter Love Lynn (Thomas) Laabs of Kingsford, MI and son Bruce (Amy Kowalke) Laabs, Jr. of Fredonia, grandchildren Justin (Holly) Karrels, Amanda, Alyssa, Miranda and Skylar Laabs, great-grandchildren Raelynn and Harper, his sisters Phyllis Roundtree of Waldo, Christine Shaver of Fort Myers, FL, Barbara (Pete) LaBudde of Richfield, Jules Laabs-Davis of Milwaukee and Jacqueline (Larry) Tursi of Tubac, AZ, his brother James Laabs of New Smyrna Beach, FL, his sisters-in-law Jeanette Patasius, Lynda (the late Allen) Heider, Karla (Ed) Harvey and Bonnie (the late Michael “Doc”) Erickson, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Bruce is preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Georgiana Hatzinger and infant Patricia Laabs, his brother James Bauer, brothers-in-law Donald Patasius, Ronald and his wife Audrey Patasius and Larry Hansen and his dear friends Scott Henzel and Ron Peot.

Funeral services for Bruce will be held at 1:30PM Saturday May 6, 2023 at First Congregational Church, 131 N. Webster Street, Port Washington.  Reverend Dr. Scott McLeod, pastor will officiate.  Visitation will take place from Noon to 1:15 PM Saturday AT CHURCH prior to services.  Military honors will take place after services.

Memorials to the church are appreciated.

POOLE FUNERAL HOME/Crematory, Port Washington, WI assisting the family. Information and condolences available at or 262/284-4431.

The family has created a guestpix memorial page for Bruce. You can view contributions and create and share video messages by scanning the QR Code or with the link use the passcode 7576 to upload content.



  1. I was so sorry to hear about Bruce’s passing and I’m sending much love his family’s way. He was always “Mr. Laabs” to me, as most of my memories of him are centered around faith club via the first Congregational church. He was always so kind and always smiling! he beautifully played and sang many songs for us on his guitar. He was a patient and thoughtful leader and I am very appreciative for the time and attention that he gave to us! We were a rowdy group of kids and he was a wonderful human being ❤️

  2. Bruce was a dear friend of mine and a close friend of my hubby Ron. Ron and Bruce were friends since the 6th grade. They had many funny stories to tell. And I believe that they are up in heaven making plans for their Mississippi fishing trip. Rest in Peace Bruce. Miss you dear friend…

  3. I had the good fortune of getting to know Bruce as a fellow member of First Congregational Church and I always loved catching up with him. Bruce was kind and entirely authentic, and one of those rare individuals who puts you immediately at ease. I will miss seeing him around town walking his dog. To his family, I’m so sorry for your loss.

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