Morton C. Bruski, 93, passed away peacefully on Friday, August 21, 2020, at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Illinois. Mort was born on April 1, 1927 to George and Kate Bruski in Chicago, Illinois. He was the younger of two children, Harriet was his sister.
Mort attended high school in Chicago but like many young men in the 1940's he chose to join the armed forces to serve his country. As a teenager he enlisted in the Navy, fighting for freedom on foreign shores where he served at sea during World War II. During his service he learned many skills, including his lifelong career as an expert carpenter.
Mort met the love of his life, Alice Marie after he was discharged. They were married in Chicago and together they started their family in Lake in the Hills, Illinois. They started their family with a double the blessings, bearing twin girls, followed by a son, two more daughters, and one more son. Mort spent his lifetime working as a carpenter, remaining a resident in the same home for the rest of his life.
In 1964 Mort lost Alice to cancer when she was the young age of 36. Suddenly he was left alone, to be both father and mother to their children, who ranged in age from 4-12. Their lives were turned upside down yet Mort persevered. He did it all, from regular Friday night pizzas, to piling all the kids into the station wagon to go to the drive-in theatre, to taking them all shopping together at Robert Hall Village for school clothes, and teaching them life skills. He was a hardworking man and a hero to all of his children.
It was no easy task to work full time and care for his children in both roles as parent, but he did so in legendary style. Mort gave every ounce of his heart and soul and every possible moment of his time to raise his children to become honest and responsible adults. Mort was deeply admired for his strength, courage, generosity, wisdom, understanding, and unconditional love for people and animals. His sacrifices to raise his 6 kids alone were countless and he handled his enormous responsibility with humility and grace. His intelligence was evident in everything that he did, with purposeful and serious intent, yet he possessed a silly, jokester side to himself as well. His fight to live was strong and long. He was someone you could turn to for any reason, both good and bad. He always said, "There's two sides to every story." He was a dad, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather, but also a hero, a rock, a friend, and more. He takes with him a piece of every heart from all who loved him.
Mort taught his children lifelong lessons but above all else, Mort instilled within his children to have integrity. The most important lesson for which he will be remembered is to always be honest; never lie, steal, or deceive anyone else. He told his kids, "I can't protect or defend you if you don't tell the truth." That lesson was passed onto his grandchildren as well, having been taught through him and by him, that telling the truth is always the best, even if you made a mistake, even if it hurts; own up to it because lying is wrong and you lose people's trust. His wisdom resonates for all ages.
Apart from working full time and being both a dad and a mom, Mort spent many hours caring for stray animals, the family pets, from Penny their dog, Ricky the raccoon, to cages full of finches, tanks of many fish, a beautiful horse, and a plethora of plants, too. His love for all life was an inspiration to many.
Not only did he give his time to his own children, but he had a seemingly endless supply of patience, time, and love for every one of their friends. Everyone knew Mort would accept them "as is" with faults included, and he gained everyone's respect and gratitude. Mort gave unconditional love to everyone and cared for all things with his kind and generous heart. Mort loved going to his trailer in Wisconsin with his kids. Going to Monk's for a burger in the Dells was his favorite place to eat. He also loved going to Tony's Café in Crystal Lake. It was like his home away from home. The owners and staff took care of him as if he was one of their family. He will be deeply missed by many, both family and friends.
Mort is survived by his children Nancy (Jerry) Sandman, Michael (Diane) Bruski, Debarah (Lane) Donati, Donna (Michael) Markowitz, Timothy (Margeurite) Bruski, and Cathy Harmon Johnson, who was like a daughter to him, as well. Mort has 15 grandchildren: Daniel Prokop, Courtney (Greg) Stone, Kevin Prokop, David (Tara) Bruski, Jeremy Bruski, Michaelene (Danny) Bruski, Bryan (Christy) Bruski, Brandon Bruski, Patrick Bruski, Nicole (Scott) Busam, Cody (Paige) Donati, Tyler (Linda) Markowitz, Ali (Kyle) Vickstrom, Nicholas (Amanda) Bruski and Steven Bruski. Mort leaves behind 21 great-grandchildren, as well, who warmed his heart and filled his life with joy.
Mort was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Alice, a companion later in life, Eileen Harmon, his sister, Harriet, and his eldest daughter, Nancy's twin sister, Susan Mae (Fred) Prokop.
Funeral services will not be conducted at this time due to the conditions of the pandemic; however, a celebration of Mort's legendary life will be held at a future date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to National Ovarian Cancer Foundation in support of the loss of his beloved eldest child, Susie.
Mort, a local legend and hometown hero, forever loved, and forever will be missed; may he Rest in Peace.
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