Cover photo for Robert Bruess's Obituary
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1931 Robert 2019

Robert Bruess

February 4, 1931 — August 3, 2019

Robert (Bob) D. Bruess, 88, passed away on Saturday, August 3rd at his home in Wausau, after a long battle with prostate cancer.  Bob was born in Wausau on February 4, 1931 to the late Hilmuth and Genevieve (Burger) Bruess.  He lived a beautiful life, full of family, joy and laughter.  He joined his Lord peacefully, surrounded by the love of his wife and two daughters.

Bob loved his church and was very involved – initially as an altar boy and, later, grilling food at church festivals, counseling couples and delivering communion to shut-ins for decades.  He was a long-standing member of the Elks Club and a volunteer with Neighbor’s Place and the Salvation Army.  Bob loved reading, learning, completing crossword puzzles, bowling and golf – once getting a hole-in-one, and enjoyed watching many sports – especially those played by his grandchildren.  He had a way with words and the heart of a poet, leaving many in his family with special cards that they will cherish.  He also had a delightful sense of humor, seen often by those close to him.

After high school, Bob’s first job was at Winkelman’s Department Store where he designed window displays.  His passion for photography and the skills he developed in his home darkroom then led him to work at Eldredge Camera Shop.  When approached by WSAU-TV, he jumped at the chance to help Channel 7 go live in 1954.  Working with Walter John Chilsen, Bob captured the first live footage on 16mm film, later becoming a director at the station.  After that, he worked in sales at Juneau Supply Company and then as a manager of Napa Auto Parts.

Though Bob served in various roles and helped many people, he was a builder at heart.  He helped build houses for friends, built furniture and boxes for those he loved, and he spent countless hours constructing creative solutions for a never-ending array of problems.  There was nothing he could not do – and he relished solving problems that were especially challenging.  Grounded in his faith and generous with his time and talents, Bob also built a strong network of family and friends who will miss him more than words can express.

Bob leaves behind his beloved wife of 53 years, Arlene (Sobkowiak) Bruess of Wausau and his two children Cheryl (Chris) Perry of Kimberly, Alabama and Donna (Scott) Stevenson of Lisbon, Wisconsin.  He also leaves five cherished grandchildren – Jesse and Madison Perry and Logan, Justin and Emily Stevenson.  Bob is survived by two sisters – Jean (Bruess) Ninnemann and JoAnn (Bruess) Process, along with many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.  He was preceded in death by five siblings: Lyle Bruess, Louise (Bruess) Andrews, John Bruess, Nancy (Bruess) Barden and Doris Bruess.  His love for his family was timeless.

The family wishes to extend special thanks to everyone at the Aspirus Regional Cancer Center, especially Dr. Ahuja, and to the wonderful palliative and hospice care providers with Interim Healthcare.  They are also grateful for the love of all their wonderful neighbors and friends who helped and prayed for them.

Memorial services will be at 10:30 on Friday, August 9th at Saint Michael Parish, 611 Stark Street, Wausau.  Rev. James Schaefer will officiate. Visitation will be from 9:00 until the time of services at the church.  Brainard Funeral Home, Wausau Chapel, is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences can made at

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