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Harold "Harry" Alois Brueggen

December 2, 1932 March 3, 2019
Harold "Harry" Alois Brueggen
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Obituary for Harold "Harry" Alois Brueggen

Harold (Harry) A. Brueggen, age 86, of Sparta, WI and formerly of Cashton, passed away Sunday evening, March 3 at Mayo Franciscan Hospital in La Crosse, WI.

Harry was born on Dec. 2, 1932 to Herman and Margaret (Mlsna) Brueggen. He attended grade school at Pine Hollow Catholic School rural Cashton. On July 21, 1954 he was united in Holy Matrimony to Marie T. Sullivan at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Cashton, WI. Together they raised their family of three daughters.

Harry had many trades throughout his working years. When first married, Harry and Marie lived in Cook Creek and Harry drove gravel truck. Shortly after that they moved to the Portland, WI area and farmed for a while. Following this they moved to Sparta and Harry was employed by the DX station. In 1957 they bought their first home in Cashton and Harry worked for the Badger store. After a couple of years Harry was approached about working at the Ford Motor Company pumping gas and running wrecker calls. This position soon led to his becoming a car and machinery salesman. Harry took great pride in the friends and customers he made over the years. Personal and business relationships were very important to him. The last 8 years of his selling career were spent working at Hundt Implement which he enjoyed very much. Never one to sit still or let too much grass grow under his feet, Harry built A shop onto his garage and then bought out a shoe repair business in Sparta. Always a trade he hoped to learn, the prior owner would come to Cashton and teach Harry one night a week until he had perfected the trade. Harry enjoyed this past time for almost 18 years. His motto was “I will heel you, I will save your sole, I will even dye for you!”

Harry also enjoyed helping his daughter Kathy, son-in-law Mike and grandson David, on their dairy farm. During the busy seasons you could find him in a Ford Tractor cutting or chopping hay. He would always stop to pick up treats for Mike and the kids on his way out. A quick cup of coffee and visiting with Kathy and he’d be off working again. He was always interested in what was happening at Prairie Top Farm.

When Carol moved to Rochester, Harry and Marie visited often. They would pull into Carol’s driveway, he’d jump out of whichever clean, shiny vehicle he was driving at the time, change into his work clothes and to work he’d go! Carol’s garage was always clean and organized, her shrubs were trimmed, new trees were planted, etc. In later years, after Carol met Jeff and they became engaged, Harry’s goal was to be able to walk her down the aisle and dance with her at their wedding. He went to physical therapy to get his legs stronger and practiced in the garage. On Carol’s wedding day he walked her down the aisle with Marie and at the dance he smoothly lead the bride across the floor to a foxtrot – his favorite dance.

Over the years, Harry and Marie enjoyed several trips with Donna and Roger. In later years he especially enjoyed the trips to Keshena when he would get to see his cousin JoAnn and her husband, George. Over the past few years when Harry didn’t feel well enough to cut his own grass, he would call on Roger to come and mow and trim. And always with that eye for detail, he’d even let his son-in-law know when he may have missed a spot or if he should circle through again and blow out the windrows. He really appreciated Roger’s help with these chores.

Harry’s parents were polka musicians who instilled the gift of music in him at a young age. This generation of music-makers played by ear. He became a rhythm guitar player with the family band and began playing with some of his siblings and his dad’s band “Herman and the Jolly Dutchmen”. He continued with family bands including The Ridgeland Dutchmen and Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen. His most proud days of performing were the years when his three daughters, Donna, Carol, and Kathy joined Gary’s Ridgeland Dutchmen as The Polka Mass Trio and performed and lead service music in area churches. Harry and Marie even flew the girls out to Arizona on a weekend to perform with the band at a Polkafest in Apache Junction. Harry played for almost 50 years, retiring from the band in 1998.

Harry’s Catholic faith was important to him. He was an active member of the Catholic Knights Insurance Society for many years and received a gold rosary for 50 years membership just a few years ago. Along with other devoted parishioners at Sacred Heart Church in Cashton, Harry spear-headed a committee for a Handicap Accessible addition to the church which involved many fundraisers and much leg-work over a few years. The addition was completed after Harry and Marie moved to Sparta, but when returning to the church in Cashton he continued to take great pride in the accomplishment achieved by everyone’s hard work – and much prayer.Father’s John and Gus, associate priests from Ghana who came to serve at Sacred Heart Parish in Cashton, adopted Harry and Marie as their “Mum and Dad”. Harry so enjoyed their special relationship.

Known as Grandpa to his grandchildren, Harry enjoyed spending time with the grandchildren and watching them grow and succeed into adulthood. They all have many memories of Grandpa’s good nature and sense of humor. He loved their hugs and kisses and handshakes. Called Papa Harry by his great-grandchildren, he always had a smile and expected their hugs and kisses. The kiddos would get a big kick out of what kind of new stuffed or animated toy Papa might have to show them next.

Harry loved, respected and appreciated all his brothers and sisters and all his in-laws, and always had so much fun with them. His nieces and nephews provided much joy and he was always so happy to see them and get and give a hug and kiss.

Harry is survived by his wife of 64 years and 8 months, Marie; three daughters, Donna (Roger) Elsen of West Salem, WI, Carol ( Jeff Stokfisz) Brueggen of Rochester, MN, and Kathy (Mike) Wacker of Sparta, WI; nine grandchildren, Stephanie (Tim) Paul and children Isabel, Cayden, Berkly, Genna, Samantha and Kayli; Angie (Slade) Hendrikson and son, Drew; Kelly Jo (Matt) Kline and children Gracey, Beckett and Kinley Jo; David (Becky) Wacker and children Layna and Esden; Christopher (Alejandra) Wacker and children Gabriel and Gavin; Jana (Nick Raupp) Wacker and children Liam, Brynlee, Colton and one on the way; Daniel (Codi) Wacker with a baby on the way; Gregory (Samantha Hines) Stokfisz and Nicholas Stokfisz; four siblings, Willard (Mary Ann) Brueggen of Sparta, Del Marie Hemmersbach of Sparta, Angie (Bob) Dickman of Westby, Florentine Geier of St. Mary’s Ridge; sisters-in-law, Theresa, Betty and Madonna Brueggen. Sister-in-laws, Margaret Laufenberg, Pat Sullivan, and Kay Sullivan. “Uncle Harry” is further survived by numerous nieces and nephews, exceptional people, whom he always enjoyed visiting with.

Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Margaret Brueggen; great- granddaughter Kathryn Hendrikson; brothers Silverius, Chuck, Philip, Roger, and infant brother, Paul; sisters Dolores Leis and Bernadine Klinkner.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held, Friday, March 8, 2019, 10:30 AM at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sparta, WI. Father Eric Berns will officiate and friends are invited for visitation Thursday, March 7, 2019, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, beginning with a vigil prayer service at 3:45 PM. Visitation will continue from 4:00-8:00 PM at the church. Visitation will also be held at the church on Friday from 9:30 AM until the time of service.

Memorials in Harry’s name may be directed to the Sacred Heart Handicap Fund, Cashton, WI, St. Patrick’s Parish, Sparta, or Mayo Clinic Franciscan Hospice.

The family would like to thank the staff of Mayo Clinic Franciscan Hospice and 9th Floor Nursing Staff for their support and for providing Harry with such tender loving care during his final weeks and days.

The Torkelson Page-Smith Funeral Home of Sparta is assisting the family with arrangements.


Previous Events

Visitation

Thursday

7

Mar

3:45 PM 3/7/2019 3:45:00 PM - 8:00 PM 3/7/2019 8:00:00 PM
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

319 W. Main Street
Sparta, WI 54656

* 3:45 will begin with a prayer service

St. Patrick's Catholic Church
319 W. Main Street Sparta 54656 WI
United States

Visitation

Friday

8

Mar

9:30 AM 3/8/2019 9:30:00 AM - 10:30 AM 3/8/2019 10:30:00 AM
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

319 W. Main Street
Sparta, WI 54656

St. Patrick's Catholic Church
319 W. Main Street Sparta 54656 WI
United States

Mass of Christian Burial

Friday

8

Mar

10:30 AM 3/8/2019 10:30:00 AM - 11:30 AM 3/8/2019 11:30:00 AM
St. Patrick's Catholic Church

319 W. Main Street
Sparta, WI 54656

Burial will be after lunch.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church
319 W. Main Street Sparta 54656 WI
United States

Graveside

Friday

8

Mar

1:45 PM 3/8/2019 1:45:00 PM - 2:00 PM 3/8/2019 2:00:00 PM
Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery

County HWY U
Cashton, WI 54619

Burial will be after lunch is served. These times are an approximate guess as to when we will arrive.

Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery
County HWY U Cashton 54619 WI
United States
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