Phillip Bruno

Phillip J. Bruno, 73, passed away June 20, 2022, after battling liver disease for almost two years.  Hospice care allowed him to die peacefully at home and to say good-bye to his wife and children, telling them he loved them one last time.

Phillip was born Sept. 12, 1948, in Milwaukee to Maxine and Peter Bruno. He attended St. Sebastian Catholic School through eighth grade, where he was the “go-to fix it boy” for the nuns.

After graduating from Washington High School in Milwaukee, he trained to be an electrician. Phill was adept at doing commercial as well as residential work, and he ended his career working for J. Miller Electric in Port.

He married Patricia Schmitz and together they had three children,  Peter, Jennifer, and Nicole.   

On July 3, 1993, he and Mary Kae Geittmann were married and were about to celebrate 29 years together. They loved to travel; their adventures included many trips to Europe and almost every state in the U.S. One of the most memorable was their trip to Sicily — Phill was a proud Sicilian!

Phill’s biggest love was fireworks, which began when he was a 12 year-old working with his “crazy” Italian uncles in Milwaukee. Hilarious stories are repeated often at family gatherings about how Italian fireworks were shot off in the early days!   

He continued shooting around the Milwaukee area, first for Bartolotta, and later J and M Displays. His pyrotechnics could be seen on the 4th of July and after the Christmas parade in Port, several country clubs in the area, Neshkoro 4th and numerous other celebrations.  He was once called the “Master Launcher,” which he thought was very funny.

He also loved his cottage on Silver Springs Lake in Neshkoro, feeding the many different birds there, tinkering in the garage, fishing on the lake. He was also passionate about fishing trips to Canada or to the Boundary Waters with his two special buddies Al and Don.

Phill enjoyed his time serving on Port’s Board of Public Works, possibly because he knew he was a thorn in everyone’s side. He was not afraid to question decisions or demand answers.

Phill was known as the guy who could do anything, fix anything, figure out how anything worked. He was also known as the guy who would help anybody. His children grudgingly learned how to change tires as teenagers. But they also learned he would do anything for them!   

For his grandchildren he was the ultimate authority on their health. “Call Papa” would be the tearful command to their mothers!

He dearly loved his grandchildren, teaching them how to fish, how to hold snakes, how batteries worked.

  He is survived by his beloved wife Mary Kae, children Peter (Erin) Bruno, Jennifer (the late Joe) Recarey and Nicole (Sam) Day, and stepson Hans (Stephanie Burris) Geittmann.

He is further survived by grandchildren, Phillip, Miranda, Jack, Peter, Madelyn, David, Noah, Mathias, and Brynne, many many cousins, and even more friends.

He was preceded in death by his father Peter, mother Maxine, stepather Nick Azzolina, and step-son Peter Geittmann.

Phill had a keen sense of humor. The words “He is so funny!” were often used to describe him. He could dish out the mouthy comments, but truly enjoyed it when people gave it right back to him. Those who really got to know Phill knew he had a big heart and a good soul.  He will be missed.

A celebration of Phill’s life will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, at Grand Avenue United Methodist Church, 505 W. Grand Ave., Port Washington.

The family will receive visitors from 1 p.m. until services at 4 p.m.

The family would like to thank Aurora At Home Hospice Care team for the dignified, respectful, caring treatment of our Phill. Thanks also to Dr. Besur, liver specialist, along with Mara for their honest treatment of liver disease, and the many others involved with his treatment for a disease that has no cure.

Eernisse Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at



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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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