Bruce L. Donelson, age 89, of Hudson, WI, passed away peacefully on January 14, 2022 at Woodland Hill in Hudson.
Bruce was born in 1932 in Grand Rapids, MI to Arthur and Delphine Donelson, and grew up in Wyoming Park, MI. He had a love of music and played the saxophone and clarinet in a dance band. After high school he attended Junior College and considered a career in music, but gained experience working as an electrician and a draftsman. He was introduced to his future wife, Betty Herrman, by friends at a party, and the two were united in marriage in 1955. Later he relocated the family to the Twin Cities to manage his brother, Gene’s, grocery store. Bruce absorbed how to run a business from his brother and accounting principles from his father, while Betty and he raised three young children, Randy, Kurt and Nancy. He drove a bread delivery truck for many years while they saved up and planned for starting their own business. In 1970 they moved the family to Hudson and opened a clothing store, Children’s Place, in downtown Hudson. Together, and with the kids often helping, they operated the business until retiring in 1992. Bruce was greatly moved when later, people would recognize him from the store and comment how much they loved a particular dress or outfit they had bought there years earlier.
Bruce had many interests and hobbies including walking, riding his bike, aviation, golf, stained glass, gardening, making homemade jellies and chocolate sauces, and exploring the Scottish and Swedish parts of his heritage. He had a great social network which was anchored in the First Presbyterian Church of Hudson, and he enjoyed serving the church in many capacities, including being involved in fundraising for and the selection of a grand piano. He also sang in the church choir and in the River City Chorale, and played clarinet in the Hudson community band. He and Betty traveled to many parts of the world, and they loved attending concerts and plays at The Phipps Center for the Arts, as well as the many cultural venues in Sarasota, FL, where they began wintering after retirement. Bruce was generous with his time and assistance to others, eager to lend a helping hand, never wanting or expecting any special recognition, and faithful to family and friends. His loyalty, omnipresent sense of humor and genuine caring for others made him a much-loved husband, father, brother, and friend who will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his sons, Randy (Christy) and Kurt; sisters-in-law, Martha and Ruth Herrman; cousin, Charlie (Joyce) Bourdon; and many loving friends.
He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Betty; parents; daughters, Sally and Nancy; and brother, Eugene (Marion).
A Celebration of Life for Bruce will be held sometime this summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to First Presbyterian Church and The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, WI.