Harold (Harry) A. Brueggen
March 13, 2019
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.
Harry had many trades throughout his working years. In early years he drove a gravel truck, farmed, was a gas station attendant, and worked at the Badger Grocery store in Cashton. Personal and business relationships were very important to him. He was a salesman for Cashton Motor Company for most of his working career. The last 8 years of his selling career were spent working at Hundt Implement. 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’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. The friendships he and Marie made over those years will be cherished forever.
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.
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. Online condolences may be offered at http://www.torkelsonfuneralhome.com.