Bruce Samuel Stewart, 73, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, April 4, 2021, with his wife and son by his side.
Bruce was born in 1948 to Russell and Lorraine Stewart of Ladysmith. He was an athlete at Ladysmith High School, graduating in 1966, receiving honors in football, baseball and basketball.
The number one coach in his life was his father, who spent endless hours sitting in a lawn chair catching baseballs to help Bruce develop into a collegiate pitcher. The number one cheerleader was his mother who never missed a game.
After high school, Bruce attended UW-La Crosse, receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical education. Bruce played two years of football and four years of baseball, and was fortunate to assist Bill Collar in coaching the La Crosse freshman football team.
Bruce first taught and coached at Spencer High School, and after earning his graduate degree, was offered the position of head football and baseball coach at Mount Senario College. Bruce spent five years at “The Mount,” winning four upper Midwest collegiate championships.
Coach Stewart finished his career at his alma mater, Ladysmith High School. The highlights of his 16 years of coaching were the 2001 and 2003 seasons when the Lumberjacks were undefeated Heart O’North Champions for the first time in 40 years. Bruce was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.
Bruce was truly a teacher at heart and often reminisced in his later years about the thousands of students and athletes he taught and coached over his 35-year career.
Bruce married Kathie, the love of his life, in 1972. The couple enjoyed summers at their cottage on Potato Lake, fishing, gardening, and entertaining friends and family. Bruce enjoyed a Leinenkugel’s or two, making the family’s “potato dumplings” every summer, and seemingly endless hours in his boat casting for muskies. He spent months every year planning and preparing for his biannual fishing trips to Canada and deer hunting season each fall at the cabin he shared with his lifelong friend. Winter vacations to the sunny beaches of Mexico and the Caribbean became an annual highlight for Bruce in his retirement.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Kathie, of Chetek; his son, Sam (Ky), of Chicago; sisters, Sandie (Mark) and Susanne; brother, Jim (Tami); many nieces, nephews, cousins and beloved extended family; and countless wonderful friends.
Those who have passed before Bruce will remain in our hearts forever.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 10, at the Legacy Theater in Memorial Park in Ladysmith. Bruce’s family will receive visitors at the park from 1 p.m., until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial contribution to the UW-LaCrosse Foundation. Please direct your contributions to ‘College of Science & Health’ in memory of Bruce Stewart. Visit uwlax.edu/foundation or mail a gift to UWL Foundation, 615 East Avenue N., La Crosse, WI 54601.
Nash-Jackan Funeral Home is assisting the family with services.