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home : obituaries : obituaries May 25, 2016

6/12/2013 10:27:00 AM
Irwin J. Bruhn, M.D.
Irwin J. Bruhn, M.D.
Irwin J. Bruhn, M.D.

Irwin J. Bruhn, M.D. Walworth, and Englewood, Fla., died June 7, 2013. 

Private services were held.

Irwin was born in 1927 in Milwaukee, to Irwin J. Bruhn, Sr. and Edna (Kreitlow) Bruhn. He began his education at Liberty Elementary School, a one-room school. He then attended Pulaski High School on the south side of Milwaukee, where he excelled in mathematics and biology as well as speech, drama and music, graduating in the upper 10 per cent of his class. After graduation from Pulaski, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He participated in a task force sent to the Mediterranean, then was stationed at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. He was offered a position in Officers Candidate School, but declined because by then he knew he wanted to become a family physician.

Irwin continued his education at UW-Milwaukee, as a pre-medical student. He received his BS degree in 1952, and received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, in 1958. He interned at Rockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford, Ill., 1959-60, and started his medical career in Walworth in 1961.

During his long and active medical career, Dr. Bruhn served as president of staff of Lakeland Hospital in Elkhorn, 1976-80, and as president of staff of Harvard Memorial Hospital in Harvard, Ill., during 1964-66. He was a member of the American Medical Association, State Medical Society of Wisconsin and Walworth County Medical Society. He was a member of the Nominating Committee of the House of Delegates, received a Meritorious Service Award in 1984 and again in 1992, and was a member of the Board of Directors 1975-84, Liaison from the Board of Directors to the Public Information Commission 1975-92, Ad Hoc Committee of Peer Review 1976, member Task Force on Delivery of Health Care 1980, alternate delegate to the House of Delegates 1960-75, delegate from Walworth County 1975-95, and served on the Jail Health Committee 1972-73. He was Walworth County Medical Society Treasurer 1965-67 and President 1967-69. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice since 1988. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Medical Care Evaluation. Other medical activities included positions as Airman Medical Examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration, Medical Director of Holton Manor Nursing Home, Elkhorn, Sherwood Care Center, Williams Bay, The Carlyle Nursing Home, Beloit, Lakeland Independent Medical Practice Association, Walworth County Coalition of Business and Medicine President 1984-86, Village of Walworth Health Officer, founder of Walworth Family Medical Center, Walworth, Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association Life Member, Walworth County Jail Physician 1975-96, Clinical Instructor of Medical students of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

In addition to being a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a member of American Legion Post 102 of Walworth, Dr. Bruhn’s community activities included being a member of Faith Lutheran Church 1959-2006, President of Church Council in 1968 and a choir member, Walworth-Fontana Rotary since 1959-2006 and club president 1964-65, Minocqua, Rotary 2006, Walworth-Fontana Chamber of Commerce president 1962, and Walworth Elementary School Board of Education 1966-91, Clerk of Board 1970-91. He received the Friend of Education Award from the Big Foot School Association in 1996. He was a member of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Singing in America, the Lemon Bay Chord Company, Englewood, Fla., and the Lakeland Chorus of Minocqua. Dr. Bruhn was selected for inclusion in the 1976 Bicentennial Edition of Wisconsin Men of Achievement.

Perhaps the best summary of Dr. Bruhn’s life, a life well lived, comes from his own words: 

“Medical education at the University of Wisconsin was a wonderful experience. After graduation, my wife and children, as well as my parents and Dorothy’s parents, had a celebration dinner. I’ll always remember and have repeated many times what I said on that occasion. I said if I never in the future could care for patients in my own clinical practice, I thank God that I had the opportunity to study and learn the beautiful profession of medicine. In retrospect, I can say that I was doubly blessed because I was able to care for thousands of patients, deliver two thousand babies and make house calls for over thirty-eight years. I retired in 1996 and live six months in Minocqua, and six months in Englewood, Fla. The greatest reward of retirement is I get to spend 24/7/365 with my Dear One, Dorothy, my wife of sixty-three years. We enjoy biking, golfing, traveling, spending time with our children, grandchildren and friends. I also sing with the barbershoppers and play clarinet and saxophone in a dance band. In summary, a gracious God has blessed me.”

Dr. Bruhn is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and by six children, David Bruhn, BS, JD, Hudson, WI; Susan (Bruhn) Earnest, BSN, MHA, Walworth, WI; Sara (Bruhn) Ceschi, BSN, Fontana, WI; Leah Bruhn, BA, Libertyville, Ill.; Rachel (Bruhn) Vazquez, BA, MA Voice Soprano, Zurich, Switzerland; Joel Bruhn, BS, MA Biology, JD, Portland, Ore. He was the proud grandfather of five grandchildren, Sara and Noah Vazquez, Samuel and David Horowitz, and Katherine Ceschi. 

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Article comment by: Pete Centner

Irv was a dear man and friend. His contributions of time and talent to our barbershop chorus made the workload lighter for all of us. His cheerful demeanor and his pleasant smile brought so much spark to our singing group. From reading more about his life, it seems that his positive attitude brought much success to every organization with which he was associated. Such a loss to his family and his communities. We'll miss him dearly.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Article comment by: Carol Pfister

Irv was a member of my Rotary club in Minocqua and brought such joy to our meetings. He was always involved with out fund raising events and always showed up on time. We will miss his great smile and witty come backs and his devotion he had to Rotary.

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