MADISON / EVANSVILLE - William Carlin "Bill" Brunsell, age 95, passed away on Feb. 14, 2017 at Oakwood Village West. Bill was born on Sept. 11, 1921 in Evansville, the son of Fred and Elizabeth Brunsell. He is survived by his beloved wife and partner of 67 years, Thea (LaBudde) Brunsell.
Bill was a man of many interests. He finished high school as an Eagle Scout and then went on to graduate from the UW-Madison earning a letter managing the Badger football team. Bill then honorably served his country where he was a French interpreter during WWII. Participating in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of Paris, he received a French Legion of Honor medal for his service. After the war, Bill graduated from Harvard Law School and then practiced for a number of years in Milwaukee. One of his partners and good friend was Roy LaBudde. Roy knew a "catch" when he saw one and introduced Bill to his sister, Thea. The rest is history. Bill and Thea swept each other off their feet and the two began a lifelong partnership with plenty of adventures and "magic" moments.
While practicing law, Bill became aware of an opportunity to purchase a retail business in his home town of Evansville. Bill and his brother-in-law, Nimmer Adamany, purchased the Grange Store and Bill and Thea moved to Evansville along with their two young kids, Annie and Paul. The Grange Store was one of those old-fashioned "country" stores featuring a grocery, furniture, men and women clothing, hardware, and toys. This business was Bill's base of operations. From there, Bill and Nimmer opened up a retail clothing store in Janesville and a number of fabric stores in the area, including one on the Square in Madison. Bill also owned and operated several farms in and around Evansville with his partner (and brother) Bob Brunsell.
Bill always found time to enjoy family and friends. He loved to travel with his wife Thea and they enjoyed numerous trips both here and abroad. While Evansville was home, Bill had a real passion to experience other cultures and diversity around the world. Bill also enjoyed hiking, fishing, family reunions and golf at Dairymen's Country Club in Boulder Junction where he and Thea were members for many years. Bill taught himself to sail and he spent many pleasurable hours on his Hobie Cat on the local lakes. He was also a self-taught painter and sketch artist. Much to Thea's chagrin, he spent sermon time in church sketching profiles of his fellow parishioners. It must also be said that Bill was very devoted to his church as he served for many years as Church Trustee and Superintendent of the Sunday school. Bill also pursued his passion for golf. He was a founding member of the Evansville Country Club and upon retirement, often logged more rounds per season than any of his fellow members. Bill and Thea enjoyed yearly ski trips to Colorado with his family and friends. Annual trips to New York were also on the agenda. This "culture infusion" included attending the symphony, art museums, plays, opera, and often breakfast at the Tavern on the Green.
Bill gave back to his community and beyond. He served as a member of Board of Directors for both Union Bank & Trust Co. in Evansville and Portage Hosiery Company in Portage. Throughout his life, Bill was an active member of the Lions Club. For more than 20 years Bill also served on the Rock County Developmentally Disabled Board. Upon his retirement, Bill worked for more than two decades assisting third grade teachers working with students on their math skills. Of all of his achievements, this may have been the one that made him the most proud.
Bill is survived by his life-long partner, Thea, and his children, Annie [Gery Race], Paul, and daughter-in-law Maribeth Brunsell. He is also survived by his sisters Betty Gray and Barbara Adamany, and sister-in-law, Joann Brunsell. Other survivors include his grandchildren, Paul (Lisa) Suprenand, Monet (Kenny) Campbell, Zack and Kelly Brunsell, four great grandchildren, Jack and Kai Suprenand, Madison and Aiden Campbell, and many wonderful nieces and nephews on both the Brunsell and LaBudde sides of the family. Each one of his beloved family was the apple of his eye. Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Elizabeth Brunsell, and his brother Bob Brunsell.
Bill lived his life spontaneously and with NO FEAR. He was a great problem solver and had a creative and inquisitive mind. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 am on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at ORCHARD RIDGE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 1501 Gilbert Road, Madison. Visitation will take place from 10-11 am followed by the service and luncheon.
The family suggests memorials in Bill's name take the form of donations to Evansville United Church of Christ, Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, Oakwood Foundation in Oakwood Village West, or Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care.
Heartfelt thanks to the caregivers and staff at Oakwood's Tabor and Hebron facilities and to Agrace staff. Your kind and competent care is very much appreciated by the Brunsell Family.
Funeral and Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road Madison
My condolences to Thea and your entire family. I will always remember how you both welcomed me so graciously to the neighborhood in 2004 . . . and how Bill surprised me on one occasion with a bouquet of roses from the Lions rose sale. It was a privilege to have known him. Sue Berg
The volunteers, flight team and board of Badger Honor Flight mourn the loss of their hero, William Brunsell. We are thankful for his military service and proud to have served him on his trip to Washington, D.C. on September 8, 2012
We remember Bill as a person who embraced life -- in 2005 Bill was the first person in the water off our snorkel boat near St. Thomas. So very kind to us and our family... Bob & Janet
I remember Bill from my days in Boy Scouts with Troop 14. He was working with my Dad on the board for the Troop. Thanks for all of the work, kindness and help to make me what I turned out today.
Many wonderful memories of the whole family. We lived next door and Bill and my Dad worked at the Grange Store together. Thea, Ann and Paul.............. Judy and I send our thoughts and love.
So many warm memories of life shared and kindness to our family..Josh and Bette Anne
BIll Brunsell was, hands down, one of the coolest people that I have ever met. Condolences to the family. Tom Dow
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