Laurie Nourse, Jr, age 89, of Bayfield, WI, passed away on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at the Northern Lights Nursing Home in Washburn. He was born May 16, 1932 in Ashland, WI to Laurie F. and Grace Elsie (Butler) Nourse, Sr.

He lived his entire life in Bayfield except for a few years in southern Wisconsin and while serving in the US Coast Guard. Lake Superior always had a pull on his heart. Laurie graduated from Bayfield High School and spent his summers on Rocky Island helping his parent with commercial fishing on the Liberty and helping with their restaurant - Rocky Island Air Haven. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1952. While in the Coast Guard, he worked in the engine room and cemented his love for marine engines and anything maritime. His time in the Coast Guard took him to San Diego, Boston, Newfoundland, patrolling the shores to Bermuda, and Galveston, TX. He also attended the University of Wisconsin Superior and Northland College. He was a member of the Bayfield Presbyterian church and longtime member of the Masonic Lodge and a Shriner.

While stationed in Galveston, he met Patricia Baker. He introduced her to Bayfield, Lake Superior, and the Apostle Island when they were married on Rocky Island. After completing his tour with Coast Guard, Laurie and Pat settled in Bayfield, raising two children, Ken and Paula (Pete). Laurie ran his own excursion boat - the Gar How I - among the Apostle Islands with a stop on Rocky Island for homemade fish dinners. He worked for Petroleum Transit Incorporated (PTI) out of Bristol, WI and Bodin Fisheries. He worked several years as a salesman for Beloit Woodland Corporations, traveling throughout the US and Canada, selling, constructing and demonstrating equipment for Beloit with his partner in crime, Derald Barningham. He went on to become a jobber for Standard Oil, operating his own bulk fuel station in Bayfield for many years. His favorite job was where he retired - as captain of the State of Wisconsin research vessel, the Hack Noyes. He loved being out on Lake Superior, no matter the seas. He loved everything “the Hack” was commissioned to do and was especially proud of the lake trout/AstroTurf project at Devils Island to re-establish the lake trout population.

Laurie owned and operating a number of boats throughout his life beginning with his and Eddie’s favorite - the WeeTwo. When it was finally dry-docked on Rocky Island, every kid cut their teeth at the wheel of that boat. No matter the seas, kids were safe on shore in the WeeTwo. He went on to own the GarHow I, the Paula K fleet I-III, the Lucky Three, and finally, the Blackhawks II-III.

Once he retired, his absolute favorite job was his partnership with his son, Ken, in their sport fishing business. He and Ken ran the Blackhawk charter fishing boats in Bayfield. Ken tells the story of wanting to name the boats after Uncle Lyman’s boat - the Blackhawk. Lyman gave his blessing only if on the first trip out, they would limit out on fish. Lyman was waiting at the dock to see how they fared, and Ken showed him their limit, thus the naming of the boats and renaming the boathouse found at the end of 3rd Street in Bayfield.

Everything about Laurie’s life leads back to Lake Superior, fishing, boats, and engine repair. He gained a reputation for knowing how to fix just about any engine problem boat owners faced and was often sought after. Many an evening found in him in the stern of a boat, listening, tapping, adjusting, swearing, overhauling an engine, or just having a beer with the owner.

He was a life-long member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and held various offices including Commander. He conducted classes on navigation and boating safety through the years, ingraining the truth that the lake is the boss.

Laurie was Apple Festival Parade Chairman for decades. Year after year, you would find him on a golf cart at the start of the parade, clipboard in hand, lining up floats, bands, and anything else that might appear in the parade that year.

He and Pat spent many retirement summers on Rocky Island where the family still has a cabin. They also spent their retirement winters in Florida, Alabama, and Harlingen, Texas.

What he will be most be remembered for is his love of joke telling. He could keep any audience rolling with laughter with story after story, joke after joke, with Pat often rolling her eyes because it was the thousandth time she heard it.

He loved his family and friends, although at times being gruff in personality, he showed that love and care not necessarily with words, but with time and service to others.

He was preceded in death by his wife Patricia (Baker) Nourse and his parents Laurie and Grace (Butler) Nourse, Sr., and his brother Ed on 10/11/2021.

He is survived by his children Kenneth (Cindy) Nourse - Bayfield, and Paula (Thomas) Cunningham - Ashland, WI. Grandchildren Kaitlyn Cunningham - Black River Falls, WI, Joseph (Krista Brink) Nourse, Minneapolis, MN, Kristian (Maggie) Cunningham, - Carey, OH, Daniel (Katie) Cunningham - Tomahawk, WI, Emily (Casey Stephenson) Nourse, Bayfield and Cameron Cunningham - Grand Junction, CO, Great grandchildren - Evelyn, Jonah, and Lee. Brother Ed’s children - Julie (Jim Lynn), Pam (Dan) DeRam, Jeff, and Corey. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law - Lorene Witten, Dallas, TX, Kathryn Roark, Pasadena, TX, and Alva Baker, Kyle, TX; a special friend Patricia Grensing – Chippewa Falls, WI; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, November 13, 2021, at the Harbor View Event Center in Washburn with Pastor Lee Lawrence officiating. Visitation will be from 10:00 – 11:00 A.M., Saturday at Harbor View Event Center. Lunch will be provided after the service.

The family wants to thank the kind and compassionate staff at Northern Lights for all their loving support and care they provided while Laurie lived there. They truly made his world a better place - thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

The Bratley Funeral Home in Washburn, WI is handling the arrangements. To view this obituary online, sign the guestbook or express online condolences, visit us at

The family requests memorials be made to Northern Lights Nursing Home, 706 Bratley Drive, Washburn, WI 54891.

To plant a tree in memory of Laurie Nourse, Jr. as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

Recommended for you

Load comments