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Obituary for Robert "Bob" Briggs Sr.

Robert “Bob” J. Briggs Sr. of La Crosse, Wis., passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, surrounded by family. Bob was born on January 15, 1937 in La Crosse to Robert L. and Dorothy (Johnson) Briggs. Bob attended Franklin Elementary School and graduated from Logan High School, with honors, in 1955. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in nursing, and graduated in 1965. Bob was one of the first three men to be accepted into the University’s Nursing Program. He was honored with delivering the graduation commencement speech for this class. His undergraduate studies were focused on cardiac surgery. Bob was commissioned into the Army Reserve Program in 1966. He was the officer in charge of the 44th General Hospital Medical Unit in La Crosse. In 1990, this unit was called to active duty during Desert Storm and served in Germany. Bob was a member of this unit for 30 plus years and retired as LTC. Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Bob accepted a position as a cardiac nurse/perfusionist at Gundersen Clinic. He was part of the team that developed the heart program at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital. He served as Chief Cardiac Perfusionist for over 33 years. In 1959 Bob married Joan Thompson. They had four children. They later divorced. In 1989 he married the love of his life, Jeana Jones. They enjoyed traveling in their motor home and visited most areas of the United States and Canada. Bob referred to their motor home as their “rolling condo.” He loved classical music and enjoyed spending time reading in their sunroom. In 1997 Bob was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. He was a cancer survivor for 20 years, and was determined to live a life of gratitude and thanks. Bob is survived by his wife, Jeana. Four children: Robert Briggs, Jr.(Sue Thorson), Steven Briggs, Kathryn (Matthew) Hobbs, and Sandra Briggs. Two stepchildren; Brad Jones, and Jennifer (Randy Burg) Kaatz. Five grandchildren: James (Kelsey), Jeffrey (Allison), and Kristin Briggs, and Zachary and Evelyn Hobbs. Three step grandchildren: Olyvia Jones, Sheridan and Jencyn Kaatz. Three great grandchildren: Jackson, Olivia and Baylynne Briggs. Sisters-in-law, Mary Briggs, Betty Bakken, Joan (Ron) Burrington, June (Rick) Zogbaum., and close family friends, Colleen Nugent and Cathy Ells. He is further survived by aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Ralph, step granddaughter, Siera Kaatz, and brother-in-law Larry Bakken. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 4141 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse, Wis. A visitation will be from 9:00 A.M. to the time of service at the church. Pastor Harald Bringsjord will officiate. Following the service Military honors will be rendered by the Roy L. Vingers American Legion Post 52 of La Crosse and the United States Army Honor Guard at the church. In honoring Bob’s wishes, he will be cremated and will be interred at Good Shepherd’s Columbariam/Prayer Garden at a later date. Memorials may be given to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Gundersen Cancer Treatment Center, or Gundersen Hospice Services. Online condolences may be sent at The family would like to thank oncologist Dr. Kurt Oettel, palliative care, and the hospice services at Gundersen Health System.