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Kenneth 'Breezy' Michael Bruess, 69

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Kenneth “Breezy” Michael Bruess, age 69 of Protivin, died Sunday, May 14, 2023, at his home in Protivin.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 20, 2023, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Protivin.

Interment followed at Holy Trinity Cemetery.

Friends greeted the family from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at the church.

Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton have been entrusted with Kenny’s arrangements.

Online condolences for the Bruess family may be left at

Kenny was born on March 25, 1954, in New Hampton. Twice in his early years he battled meningitis. His childhood was filled with Sunday fishing trips to the Mississippi River where his favorite spot was by the Lock & Dam No. 8 near Genoa, Wisconsin.

Softball filled his teen years, and in his later years, his Sundays evolved around going to church and church dinners. He enjoyed his morning coffee with friends, card games, cribbage, jigsaw puzzles, acrostic puzzles, scratch lottery tickets, recording and categorizing every single dollar bill he came across, visiting casinos, computer Solitaire and drawing up sports pools for family and friends. Since he was a “numbers guy,” he would be proud of his annual Christmas game which involved his family’s birth dates and ages.

Kenny began his education at Elma and at Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes. He then transferred to Holy Trinity School in Protivin, where he was proud of graduating from the last eighth-grade class at the school. He then continued his studies at Crestwood High School in Cresco, where he graduated in 1973 and was looking forward to attending his 50th class reunion in August.

After high school, Kenny worked at Sara Lee in New Hampton before enlisting in the United States Army. This decision would shape the rest of his life.

During his time in the Army, Kenny served in Germany, a country that held a special place in his heart due to his heritage. During this time in Germany, he participated in many Volksmarches, in which he joined members of the community walking together in a fitness walk. He received patches or badges for his efforts, which he displayed with pride. His love for Germany and passion for serving his country led him to reenlist for a second term.

After completing his service, Kenny returned to Protivin where he bought a home and joined the Army Reserves of Decorah where he remained for many years. Kenny worked on can redemptions for recycling and working at Art’s Milling where he remained until his untimely death. But the one role he most cherished was being godfather for his niece Megan.

Kenny was a pillar of the community in Protivin, always looking for ways to help others, making a positive impact. He was deeply involved in volunteer work, whether it was ushering in church, years of carrying fish at the annual American Legion Fish Fry and all the miles he traveled posting the Czech Days flyers. He looked forward to the baking kolaches days, standing there ready with his oven mitt and spatula waiting for the first hot kolache he would capture for himself before he faithfully carried the hot trays out of the oven the rest of the afternoon. He relished the nickname “Spatch” given to him by the young workers.

Some of the fondest memories of Kenny are from his time spent giving back to his community. Whether he was shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk, helping at a fundraiser for the local school, or marching proudly in the Czech Days parade, he always had a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone he met. His selflessness and genuine care for others made him an invaluable member of the Protivin community. “You could always count on Kenny” as this sums up who Kenny really was.

As we say goodbye to Kenneth Michael Bruess, we honor and celebrate a man who truly embodied the spirit of generosity, friendship, and faith. He will be dearly missed by all who know him, and his memory will continue to inspire future generations to serve their communities with love and dedication.

Kenny is survived by his mother, LaVerne Bruess of Cresco; one brother, Charles (Angie) Bruess of Trivoli, Illinois; three sisters, Karen (Mary Chval) Bruess of Cedar Rapids, Linda (Rich) Lechtenberg of New Hampton, and Jean (Dean Rue) Bruess of Madison, Wisconsin; sister-in-law, Jill Bruess of Cedar Falls; as well as seven nieces and nephews, Matthew Lechtenberg, Sam Lechtenberg, Megan (Jeff) Nesvik, Chas (Sami) Bruess, Jalynn (Tanner) Roberts, Chris Bruess, John Bruess; and four great-nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Cornell Bruess; siblings, Gerald Bruess, Michael Bruess, and in infancy, his siblings, Patricia, Mary Jo and Steven.

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