From the gentle, caring embrace of his family, Dr. John Brusky passed into the loving hands of God on February 6, 2021 at the age of 84 with the same gentle goodness with which he lived his life. Dr. John “Jack” was a humble and compassionate man of faith with an infectious laugh who loved his family and whose life purpose was to care for and help others. To know John was to love him.
Born on December 23, 1936, John was the firstborn child of Dr. Alvin and Helen (Eisenreich) Brusky and the loving brother of Jim. He attended St. Matthew Grade School and Catholic Central High School in Green Bay and would occasionally accompany his father on his hospital visits on the weekend. He spent his childhood playing basketball and football, spending summers on Loon Lake in Shawano and cheering on the Packers with his family. He graduated from Marquette University and Marquette University School of Medicine before serving his country as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. Stationed at the Cam Rahn Bay Air Base’s hospital in Vietnam from 1967-68, the young Dr. Brusky served as an internal medicine practitioner to service members and spoke fondly of visiting and providing medical care to Vietnamese villagers.
After returning to the U.S., Dr. Brusky joined his father in medical practice in Green Bay at the Brusky Clinic, with a satellite clinic in Seymour, Wisconsin. Providing dedicated care as an internist for 42 years, including many attentive home visits to patients who struggled, Dr. Brusky retired in 2005. During these years he endeared himself to both his patients and to hospital staff at St. Mary’s, St. Vincent and Bellin hospitals. Patients would fondly bring their doctor a pie or a homemade afghan to express their extra appreciation. He loved it. Not quite done, Dr. Brusky ended his career as a volunteer physician at NEW Community Clinic in Green Bay where for years he not only tended to medical needs, but also took extra time to hear the stories of patients who “fell through the cracks” in obtaining healthcare. The sincere interest he took in hearing about the lives of his patients earned him the admiration of those he touched and those who observed these respectful exchanges. How he cherished these relationships.
It was not until 1981 that John married the nurse he met in the Coronary Care Unit of St. Vincent Hospital and volunteered with at the YMCA Cardiac Rehab Program. He and Joan eagerly welcomed the birth of two daughters and nurtured them steadfastly and joyfully. Coaching responsibilities followed with both Anne and Susan, and he proudly watched them blossom into fine young women whom he could truthfully admire. Since getting a late start on parenthood, walking them down the aisle on their wedding days was a dream come true. And no one could make his day like his granddaughter Caroline.
As a tutor at Literacy Green Bay in his retirement years, John became more and more aware of the often harsh lives of immigrant families and began to advocate for them. He was a board member of Wellspring, a drop-in center for women in Green Bay; a distributor of Holy Communion to the homebound at his parish, St. John the Baptist; a volunteer for the Aging and Disability Resource Center, visiting the elderly and assessing them for falling; and an usher at Green Bay Community Theater.
He was a curious, lifelong learner who enjoyed reading history books, traveling internationally with his wife, learning about other cultures, seeking out art, music and theater, playing golf several times per week with his brother and good friends, and delving into spiritual books to deepen his faith. Throughout his life, John led by example in pursuing a healthy lifestyle in diet and exercise and strove for balance in life. He was an impressive golfer into his 80's. His enthusiasm was contagious, including a deep love for the Packers as a lifelong season ticket holder. He lived out his faith in a variety of ways, including generously supporting local and international organizations focused on education, healthcare, and serving those on the margins of society.
John was a shining example of family devotion as he cared for his parents, assisted members of his extended family, and served as a calm, comforting presence for his wife and daughters through life’s ups and downs. This came full circle as Joan spent weeks at his side in the hospital, at home and in the ICU as John summoned all the strength he could to recover from brain surgery after being diagnosed with glioblastoma tumors just a month prior to his death. His death does not diminish him. In word and action he inspired, and continues to inspire others, through his calm, consistent decency, kindness, hard work, generosity, and appreciation of the small joys in life.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Alvin and Helen Brusky, his nephew, Paul Brusky, dear aunts, uncles, and cousins, father and mother-in-law, Dominic and Leona (Ripperda) Alt, and sisters-in-law, Lois Schuster and Janet Alt.
John is survived by his devoted wife, Joan; his adoring daughters, Anne (Paul) Ullrich and Susan (Chris Welch) Brusky; granddaughter, Caroline Ullrich; brother, Jim (Jeanne) Brusky; nephew and nieces: David, Julie, Jeannie, Bonnie; and a large extended family.
A small, private Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at St. John the Baptist Parish for family, and services will be live-streamed for all those wishing to personally send him off on the St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish webpage or Facebook page at 10 AM. Memories of our beloved husband and father would be cherished and can be shared on the Newcomer Funeral Home website.
In lieu of flowers, John would, no doubt, be honored to have donations either made directly or through his family to his favorite charities, which include Casa Alba Melanie in Green Bay, Santa Clotilde Medical Mission in the Peruvian Amazon (“St. Norbert Abbey Peru Mission”), and scholarships for deserving students at institutions of higher education beloved by John.