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 www.poolefh.com 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 https://my.guestpix.com/Guest/Login/5601 use the passcode 7576 to upload content.