Raphael Joseph LeBrun, 88, of Brussels, passed away on March 8, 2022, with his family around him, following a long illness.
Ray was born Oct. 7, 1933, in De Pere, the son of Margaret (Loehlein) and John "Jack" LeBrun. The oldest of 11 children, Ray attended St. Mary's School in De Pere and graduated from St. Norbert High School in 1952, a few months after his father died. Soon after, Ray was drafted by the U.S. Army, taking a troop ship bound for Korea, serving with the Seventh Infantry Division from 1954-1956.
After the Army, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout on the G.I. Bill, earning a B.S. in Industrial Arts Education in 1961, and a master's degree in Vocational Education in 1978.
He married Mary Hutchison on Aug. 24, 1957 at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church in New London. They started their family living in a campus Quonset hut while Ray studied at Stout, and then settled in Door County in 1961, when Ray began teaching industrial arts at Southern Door High School. During the summers, he worked at Van's Lumber and Palmer Johnson Yachts. In 1968 he began teaching construction and fine woodworking at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, where he worked until his retirement in 1993. He also taught summer school and adult defensive driving.
Ray was a member of St. Louis Catholic Parish in Dyckesville, as well as St. Francis Catholic Church in Brussels and St. Mary of the Snows, Namur. He was a member of the Brussels Lions Club for 25 years and enjoyed volunteering for the Bishop's Charities games with the Green Bay Packers.
He enjoyed traveling to England, Ireland, Hawaii, fishing trips to Canada and Alaska, and visiting family throughout the U.S. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, fine woodworking and building, and was especially interested in science, history and politics. With his family he shared his strong faith and love of the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer, as well as his wonder and awe for nature.
His children have many fond memories of his appreciation for the wonders of the world. When his children were young he would wake them in the middle of the night to see a lunar eclipse or watch the northern lights dance over the bay. He would yell "Comet!" and they would bound down the stairs, sleepy-eyed, to take their turn with the binoculars to see the awesome sight in the night sky.
In recent years he spent time socializing with his wife, Mary, their children and grandchildren and many friends, especially at home in Door County, where he enjoyed driving his scooter up Bay Shore Road for hours, stopping to chat with neighbors.
It was impossible to go out in public with him when he wasn't stopped by people whose lives he touched in a positive way. "Hi, Mr. LeBrun!" they would say, and then often, they would thank him for teaching them woodworking, construction or the skills they needed to work in the shipyards or other industries. Or it might be one of his nieces and nephews, a cousin or a friend — he would share a joke or a laugh or words of advice on how to fix something, and in recent years, how to fix what's wrong in this world.
Besides his wife, he is survived by seven children and their spouses: John and Kathy (Leege) LeBrun, Eau Claire; Margaret LeBrun and David Allen, Sturgeon Bay; D'Ann (LeBrun) and Peter Jackson, Sturgeon Bay; Robert and Jackie (Devos) LeBrun, Green Bay; David and Becky (Dorsher) LeBrun, Sturgeon Bay; Darrin and Mary (Meyer) LeBrun, Wausau; and Jaymi LeBrun and Dan Scollan, St. Paul, Minn.
He is survived by 13 grandchildren: Katie, Joseph and Nathaniel LeBrun; Raphael and Samuel Allen and Amy Maniola; Callie (LeBrun) and Chris Kolarik, Riese and Veronica LeBrun; Bryce LeBrun and Braedyn Bosilovatz, Jonathan, Anna LeBrun; Matthew and Sean LeBrun.
He is also survived by his siblings: Sister Doris Jean LeBrun of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Milwaukee; Dorothy and Jim Euclide, Dover, Penn., Eunice (LeBrun) Pozza, Treasure Lake, Penn., Marilyn (LeBrun) and Larry Gillis, New Berlin; Don and Jan (Schneider) LeBrun, Green Bay; Mary (LeBrun) Gandt, De Pere; Gloria (LeBrun-Robertson) Tennesson, Green Bay; Roger and Diana (Hayes), California; Joanne (LeBrun) and Steve Madson, Green Bay; and Samantha (LeBrun) Keenan, San Diego. He is also survived by his in-laws: Tom Hutchison, Green Bay; Dr. Margaret Hutchison, Bill and Darlene Hutchison and Judy and Bob Fischer, all of New London; Nancy Schlafer, Appleton; and David and Kathy Hutchison, New London. "Uncle Ray" was also survived by 69 nieces and nephews and many more great nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by in-laws: Ann (Makowski) LeBrun, Jim and Roberta (Hutchison) Prunty, Frank Schlafer, Linda (Kooyman) LeBrun, Joe Pozza, Jerry Gandt, Marian (Rulseh) Hutchison, Norman Balthazar, Betty (Hutchison) Balthazar, and Jim Keenan. Also preceding him in death were three nieces: Carla Robertson, Rebecca Madson Leach and Laurie (LaMarche) Carlton.
Ray was very proud of each of his children and grandchildren and loved them all deeply. They will treasure the memory of his hearty laugh, and the sound of him whistling a familiar tune as he worked in his shop, walked into the house or watched the sun go down on the bay.
Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 11, 2022, at St. Louis Parish, Dyckesville. A visitation will continue at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 12 until the time of Mass at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Burial will be at the Most Precious Blood Catholic Church Cemetery in New London.
Forbes Funeral Home of Sturgeon Bay is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.forbesfuneralhome.com.