Henry John ‘Skip’ Bley

An interment ceremony for Henry John “Skip” Bley, who was born into the spiritual world at his daughter’s home in Portland, Ore., on Jan. 27, 2022, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Lake Church, Wis.

Skip was born at home in Belgium, Wis., on Aug. 28, 1928, in the first of three family homes there,

Skip’s childhood blossomed amongst his Luxembourg and Catholic community.

He was the son of his beloved mother and father Ella Barbara Wellenstein (July 7, 1899-March 7, 1993) and Hank Leo Bley (Feb. 13, 1896-Oct. 6, 1967) and had four siblings, two older and two younger, James Bley (Aug. 18, 1926-Dec. 11, 2011), Janet (Nina) Bley (Wellenstein) (July 30, 1927), Jacqueline (Mickey) Bley (Schoonover) (April 26, 1932-Aug. 31, 2007) and Joanne Bley (Maggio) (Aug. 8, 1934).

  He attended grammar school at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Lake Church and eighth grade and high school in Port Washington.

Farming runs in the ancestral blood and in the Luxembourg community. The whole family participated in growing, harvesting and preserving. Many life lessons and stories to pass down were learned knee high to all grown up.

Skip was an outstanding high school athlete, excelling in track and field, basketball, baseball and football. He lettered in four sports all four years.

Skip wore the homecoming crown with Queen Joan Ubbink their senior year in 1946.

  Skip worked in his father Hank’s garage and Oldsmobile dealership until he was 33 years old.

He attended Marquette University full time the first year and then part-time night school afterwards, earning a bachelor of arts degree in business in 1961.

  In 1953, he joined the Air Force and trained to be a pilot. After an honorable discharge, he served in the Air National Guard for three years.

  He met his wife, Nancy Murray (Bley), through his youngest sister Joanne at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. They were married on Dec. 31, 1959, in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

The couple lived in Wisconsin for three years. Their daughter Anne-Marie Bley was born in Milwaukee on April 11, 1961.

  They relocated to California, Hermosa Beach then Redondo Beach. Skip worked for a car dealership for a short time and then was hired by North American, working in the space program during the moon launch era.

  Their son Christopher John (Chris) Bley was born on Feb. 7, 1963.

  Skip changed professions from aerospace in 1969. He went to work for the County of Los Angeles Welfare Department as a time management industrial engineer until he retired in 1993.

In 1994, Skip and Nancy relocated from the greater Los Angeles area to Santa Cruz in northern California, where both Anne-Marie and Chris graduated from the University of California. They lived nearby their son, Chris, intergenerationally on shared property and later with Chris’ wife, Jesse Hakim (Bley).

  Their grandson Tamlin Bley Dawson (Anne-Marie’s son) was born in Santa Cruz on Dec. 29,1990.

  Skip’s life qualities include exuberance, exploration and a keen sense for observing life unfold.

He practiced daily kindness, service to others and his Catholic faith.

After he retired, he volunteered at the University of Santa Cruz Organic Garden, leading schoolchildren on tours, tasting ripe vegetables and fruits along their way. Skip was also a team member for many years, serving meals at the Catholic run soup kitchen in Santa Cruz.

  He enjoyed hiking, cycling and traveling with his beloved wife of 62 years, Nancy.

  In February 2019, Skip and Nancy moved into Rose Villa Senior Living Community near Anne-Marie’s home in Portland, Ore.

Skip’s great-granddaughter Fiona Edith Dawson, whom he referred to as his “golden angel,” was born in Portland, Ore., on March 9, 2020, to Tamlin and Hannah Dawson.

  Skip lived his last earthly month in his daughter’s home “as snug as a bug in a rug,” as he liked to say. He was born into the spiritual world just after midnight on January 27, 2022.

  Skip prayed for his extended family and Belgium community daily. His request before he died was to be sure you all know how much he loves you.

  We love you too, and always Papa!



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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