ROBERT “ROB” BRUNKE
Robert “Rob” Michael Brunke Age 49, passed away at home, surrounded by his family, on July 3, 2018 following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Robert was born June 6, 1969 in Berlin, WI, the son of Richard and Barbara (Ferris) Brunke. He attended Berlin Catholic School and was a 1987 graduate of Berlin High School. On June 18, 1994 he was united in marriage with Robin (Boening) at Grace Lutheran Church in Berlin. Robert battled Alport Syndrome, which lead to his need for a kidney transplant. He received his first gift of life from his father, Richard, in 1987. Over the next thirteen years Rob was able to work full time, get married, start a family and become a Firefighter with the Berlin Fire Department. He worked his way to water officer and could go to any fire in the area, where his call sign was “Daffy.” He continued on the Fire Department for over 20 years until his health prevented him from continuing. In 2000 his kidney started failing and by the end of the year he needed to go on dialysis. He received his second gift of life in 2001 when a friend, Clark McCormick, donated his kidney. Rob went on to work, remaining on the Fire Department and having a second son. A brain infection in 2004 damaged the kidney and by the end of 2005 Rob was back on dialysis and the transplant waiting list. In 2016 Rob received his third gift of life when a kidney from St. Louis became available. This allowed him to be healthy enough to work as the crossing guard at Clay Lamberton School the past two school years. Robert was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church in Berlin, a member and then advisor to the Berlin Police & Fire Explorer Post, a Berlin Jaycee, a Life Member of Bugle Mouth Bass, a volunteer with the Berlin Area Food Pantry, and “official” bell ringer and cheerleader for the Helping Hands 5K each year. If there was some way Rob could help another, he did. Robert’s greatest achieve-ment and joy were his boys, Alex and Ethan. He was a role model of hard work despite adversity; positivity, kindness and above all, love and care for your fellow man. He was incredibly proud of both boys’ accomplishments, and will always be their hero. Robert is survived by his wife of 24 years, Robin, his sons E3/HN Alexander (fiancee Alondra Pizano), US Navy- Japan, and Ethan, at home. He is further survived by his parents, Richard and Barbara, Berlin; two sisters- Elizabeth (Ron) Dillman and Susan (Bruce) Tetzke, both of Berlin, his father-in-law Gary (Jaci) Boening, Berlin, and mother-in-law Marge Boening, Oshkosh, sister-in-law Kelly (Chad) Boening-Phillips, Berlin, and brother-in-law Derek (Becky Rae) Boening of Oshkosh. Uncle Robbie will be deeply missed by his nieces and nephews: Torry, Aaron, Aerin, Brittany, Stephanie, Delaney, Payton, Sully, Spencer, Allison and Aubree. Rob taught everyone he met that unconditional love, kindness and positivity could be shared with every person you meet. His love for others has been reflected back to his family during this difficult time and they are extremely grateful for this. They ask that everyone honors Rob by paying his kindness forward and registering to be an Organ Donor. Funeral services will be held on July 31, 2018 at 11:00 at Grace English Lutheran Church of Berlin with Pastor Scott Piper officiating. Family and friends may visit with the family and pay their respects to Rob on Monday, July 30, 2018 from 4-8:00 p.m. at the Wiecki-Skipchak Funeral Home of Berlin, and also on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at Grace English Lutheran Church from 10-11:00 a.m. Burial will be held after the service at Oakwood Cemetery of Berlin, following the committal, all are invited back to the church for a luncheon.
The family would like to thank Agnesian Hospice for their care (especially Amy and Pam), Pastor Scott for his prayers and love, Kelly for her round the clock care of Rob while on hospice, and all the people who visited Rob in the hospital or at home, those who brought food for the family and all the beautiful cards and letters that we received during his illness. Rob knew that he was loved deeply.