Beloved Saukville man known as Roo dies at 42

Man born with a heart defect who had multiple lung transplants remembered for jokes, caring nature

ANDREW “ROO” BUBLITZ, pictured with his wife Erika and daughters Emelyn, 9, and Keziah, 10, died Jan. 9 after a life-long battle with poor health. Bublitz had undergone a single lung transplant in March 2021 and had recovered well from the operation.
Ozaukee Press Staff

Former Saukville resident Andrew Bublitz, best known as Roo, died Jan. 9 after a lifetime battle with health issues.

He was known by coworkers for his positive attitude, good sense of humor and love of his family.

Bublitz’s struggle for good health caught the attention of many throughout the years. Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun sent an encouraging video to Bublitz while he was hospitalized last year and many family members, coworkers, friends and community members supported Bublitz with assistance and donations during difficult times.

Bublitz left behind his wife Erika and children Emelyn, 9, and Keziah, 10.

Born with a congenital heart defect, Bublitz underwent open-heart surgery when he was 10 months old. Throughout his life, health issues continued to arise.

While experiencing durations of good health, Bublitz often had periods where he battled with his condition.

In recent years he had two large operations, the first being a double-lung transplant in 2014.

In 2020 he was hospitalized with life-threatening pneumonia, an ailment doctors said he had an 8% chance of recovering from. He struggled with his health until undergoing a single lung transplant in March 2021 at the Loyola Medical Center in Illinois, which he recovered from well.

Co-workers of Bublitz at Protanic Inc. in Saukville said they thought Bublitz was in fair health in days leading up to his death.

Head of operations at Protanic, Frank Grebas, said he had just been speaking with Bublitz on Dec. 7 and did not receive the impression he was in poor health.

Co-workers said they were also caught off guard by word of his death, given he was typically very open about his health condition.

“That was one thing everyone said, ‘I just talked to him on Friday,’” Grebas said.

Grebas, who hired Bublitz in 2009, said he was well-known and loved at Protanic. He said other employees gravitated to his great sense of humor and care for others.

 When Bublitz was unable to work, Grebas said other employees would pick up his workload to make sure he wasn’t overwhelmed when he returned.

“Everybody who knew him loved him and cared about him,” he said. “He was like family to everyone here.”

Protanic employees also supported Bublitz by sporting “Roo Strong” t-shirts after he was cleared for his lung transplant in March 2021.

After hearing of his death, Grebas said employees gathered together on Jan. 10 to grieve and share stories of Bublitz, who remained positive in life despite his health problems.

 “It’s one of those things you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, everything he had to deal with,” Grebas said. “It’s been a struggle with him pretty much his whole life.”

Bublitz was a long-time Saukville resident, who worked for a time at his family’s restaurant, the Bublitz Family Restaurant in Saukville.

He graduated from Port Washington High School in 1998 and married his wife Erika in June 2002.




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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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