Bruno B. Wolff, Jr., of Shorewood, Wisconsin, returned home to his loving Lord on Friday, July 1, 2022, surrounded by family.
Bruno was a philosopher and teacher by nature. Just prior to his passing, he made notes about his life and was sure to begin his short memoir with yet another lesson. “Eulogy,” he wrote, “is from a Greek word that could be translated as happy talk.” Those who knew Bruno, and those who will learn of him, will certainly be speaking happily of him for decades to come.
Bruno was born in Chicago, Illinois to Bruno B. Wolff and Florence M. (Renk) Wolff. In his own words, he was a good Catholic student as a young boy, attending St. Gaul’s Parish before being moved to Little Flower Parish where he was first introduced to Latin as part of church masses. He attended St. Ignatius High School where he continued his Latin studies and graduated with the honor of Salutatorian in 1952. He went on to graduate magna cum laude with a degree in classical languages and literature from Xavier University in 1956, and then earned a Master’s in English from Marquette University.
Following graduation, Bruno served in the United States Army Reserves from which he eventually resigned as Captain. “My military career was rather inglorious,” he remarked. “The toughest combat I was engaged in was at Camp McCoy fighting the flies for my lunch.”
His professional career was vast and diverse, but never lacking in interest. He spent nine years working at Bruce Publishing Company where he was Chief Textbook Editor, 23 years at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee as the first ever Business Manager for the Division of Administrative Affairs, three years as Deputy Director of the Milwaukee Public Museum (if you heard him mutter “schwinegully” you knew to give him space) and later returned to UWM as Assistant Dean for Business in the School of Nursing.
Maybe some of the finest work Bruno did was that for which he was not compensated - he was an enthusiastic volunteer. When his wife Maureen began working for Milwaukee Catholic Home, residents were quick to decry the lack of Bridge games at the home. With her encouragement, Bruno, a Bridge Master, began teaching and facilitating Bridge games, and did so weekly for nearly two decades. Besides card games, Bruno was well known as Santa Claus at MCH during the holidays, and during Christmas week he’d regale residents by singing carols in three languages. In later years, he began giving lectures on everything from the Greco-Roman Influence on Western Civilization to Edgar Allan Poe, and Eisenhower to Bridge. At one point, Bruno lamented that he is so busy volunteering, running weekly games and teaching, that he has no time to be a competitive Bridge player. “It’s a matter of following the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “I must preserve domestic tranquility.” In 2011, he received the Volunteer of the Year Award from Milwaukee Catholic Home, for his work with residents and staff during more than 25 years of volunteer service.
Bruno was also the first male to be initiated as a member into the Pilot Club of Milwaukee, an international non-profit organization founded in 1921 that works to achieve universal awareness and prevention of brain-related disorders and disabilities. He went on to serve as Club Treasurer, President on the Executive Board, Leadership Division Coordinator, and Club Ambassador. He fondly became known as THE Wise Old Owl for his participation in Pilot’s “BrainMinders” programs, teaching children to protect their brains.
An avid sports fan, Bruno cheered on his Packers, Brewers, and Badgers from the stands and then eventually his trusty living room chair later in life. His love for baseball led him (the Commish) to program a computer baseball league that was enjoyed by family and friends across the country.
Without doubt, Bruno’s greatest achievement in a long list of triumphs is the family he built. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Maureen (née McMahon); son Bruno Wolff III; daughter Margaret (Peggy) Pascavis-Anderson (Don); stepson Gerald Berenson Jr. (Rimma); son Timothy Wolff (Christine); and stepson Paul Berenson (Karen). He is also survived by his brother Marc Wolff (Tracey) and sister Maris Wolff (Bob Hawk). He remains the proud grandfather of Nicole Pascavis, Michael Pascavis, Katelyn Pascavis, Timothy Wolff Jr. (Jessica), Joshua Wolff, Lindsay Wolff, Kylie Wolff, Gerald Berenson III, and Liliya Sokolova; and great-grandfather to Timothy Wolff III, Evelyn and Axel.
He was preceded in death by his brothers Philip and James Wolff, and stepdaughter Linda Berenson.
Services to celebrate Bruno’s extraordinary life will be held 1:00 PM, Saturday, October 8th followed by a Memorial Service at 3:00 PM at Northshore Funeral Services Chapel. In lieu of flowers, if you choose to, please donate to the Pilot Club of Milwaukee Fund (c/o Barbara Pierce, Treasurer, 211 S. Brookfield Road, Brookfield, WI 53045
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