Regarded by many Cedarburg students and colleagues as an outstanding teacher, Emily “Emmy” Bruss, age 92, died Monday, April 27, 2009, from complications of a stroke.
She was born Feb. 18, 1917 in Marion, Wis., to Victor E. and Dora (Bergman) Kimball. After her mother died in 1920, Emily and her older brother, Aaron “Buck,” lived with their grandparents on the family farm in Marion. Her father continued to teach in Washburn, Wis., returning to Marion in summers to help with the farming. When Emily was 12 years old, her father married Priscilla (Evans), also a teacher, and the re-united family made their home in Washburn. Eventually they moved to Madison where her father worked as an assistant state superintendent of schools.
In the midst of the Depression, Emily followed her brother to Oshkosh State Teacher’s College, earning a degree in education. She taught high school English and coached forensics at Marshfield and Menasha before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1942. She was initially stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., became a lieutenant after attending O.C.S. in Quantico, and was transferred to Santa Barbara, Calif. She finished her service to Corps and country in March 1946.
After the war, Emmy resumed her teaching career in Watertown, Wis. It was there that she met her future husband, Edgar Bruss. In March 1947, they were married at Bethal Lutheran in Madison, and settled in Cedarburg, his hometown. During the 1950s and ‘60s, she devoted herself to family and raising her daughters, but stayed active in her community, too. She sang in First Immanuel and Cedar Singers choirs, served two terms on the library board, volunteered at Lasata, played a lot of bridge, and occasionally worked as a substitute teacher at First Immanuel and Cedarburg Public schools.
In the early 1970s, Emmy decided to return to the classroom, accepting an offer to teach full-time at Webster Middle School. Her passion for teaching and genuine affection for her students was obvious to those who knew her. Many former students kept in contact with her for decades; many more credit her influence in their young lives as both motivating and inspirational. Her reward came in the form of watching so many of her students achieve success in their lives and careers.
After retiring, Emily enjoyed the company of family and friends, travel, bridge games, crossword puzzles, water aerobics, long walks, and many, many good books.
She is survived by her loving family; husband Edgar, daughters Jeanne Kimball and Laurie (James) Nielsen, grandsons Scott (Vicki) Milsap and Mike (Holli) Milsap, great-grandsons Malachi and Alerik Milsap, nephew Terry (Linda) Kimball, and many longtime friends throughout the state.
Our family is most grateful to staff and friends at Cedar Gardens for their “TLC” during Emily’s three years there, and for the extraordinary love and care she was given at Lasata the final two years of her life.
A memorial service will be held Friday, May 1, 11:30 a.m. at First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Cedarburg. The family will welcome friends and visitors at the church beginning at 10:30 a.m. until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to First Immanuel Lutheran Church, Cedarburg Public Library or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Mueller Funeral Home
of Cedarburg is serving the family. For online condolences, please go to