Peter F. Breu Sr.
Very early on Thursday, June 13, 2019, Peter Frank Breu Sr. passed into the hands of his Heavenly Father from the Palliative Care unit of the Marshfield Medical Center, surrounded by his family. Just days earlier, his family celebrated with him his 84th birthday.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Hewitt, with Rev. Peter Raj officiating. Burial will take place in the parish cemetery where military rites will be conducted and serving as pallbearers will be Cory Breu, Jason Breu, Jonathon Rank, Jacob Bryant, Samantha Kelley, and Joseph Breu. The visitation will be from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Monday at Rembs Funeral Home and from 10:00 am on Tuesday until service time at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. A Knights of Columbus Rosary service will be held at 7:00 pm on Monday at the funeral home.
On Sunday, June 9, 1935 John and Caroline (Hamus) Breu welcomed into their family their seventh child. When asked what they should name their new baby brother, his two sisters immediately declared it should be Peter, after a relative who they thought was very handsome. Growing up in a Bavarian-Bohemian household instilled strong Christian values and a hard work ethic that carried him through his lifetime and these values were passed on to his own family. Peter did not speak English until his parents sent him to school. Many were the tales he told of growing up on the farm, from hunting with his brothers and walking miles to school, uphill both ways, to escapades that have long since passed.
He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Grade School in Hewitt, which his grandparents helped to build, graduating from the 8th grade in June 1949. After his brother Robert’s death in July of 1949, Peter stayed home to care for his mother and taking over the household chores. In 1952, he bribed his young nephew with a popsicle to introduce him to his red-headed babysitter, Donna Mae Miller, a fifty year romance ensued. They were married in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Marshfield on July 3, 1956 and soon started a family. When Donna’s parents had passed away, her three younger sisters joined the growing family. Through the years they were blessed with six children of their own, a son and five daughters. Sadly, Donna passed away suddenly January 19, 2002. Later, he married Irene Gardner on October 16, 2009, and welcomed her family into his life.
Peter wore many hats throughout his lifetime, and never shied away from a challenge. He was a journeyman electrician, whose work took him throughout the upper Midwest, retiring after forty-two years in the trade with the IBEW Local 388. One of his great accomplishments was his lakeside cabin in which he hand-hewed each and every log with a blade axe. He called this labor of love “Breus’ Bit o’ Heaven”, his legacy to his family.
He served his country in the Wisconsin National Guard, and jumped into politics, running for a State Assembly seat in the 1960s. He took on many leadership roles in a diverse range of organizations, including the Marshfield Labor Council, Knights of Columbus, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Boy Scouts of America, and the Wally Byam Caravan Club.
Throughout his life he was known as son, grandson, brother, cousin, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, step-grandfather, step-great grandfather and of course, Uncle Nort.
Besides his paid job, Peter was a great cook and craftsman of authentic Bavarian sauerkraut, dandelion wine maker, storyteller of both fact and fable, ace mechanic, homeowner’s answer
booth, fishing and hunting guru, and a little child’s confidant. Special occasions often found him breaking out his button accordion with a repertoire of polkas and waltzes. With his brother Joe, “Saint Nic and Black Pete” made sure children were well treated on the Feast of St. Nicholas, and Santa Claus delivered many a gift to excited children.
Peter and Donna enjoyed traveling about the country in his Airstream travel trailer, which provided a home away from home, from the southernmost tip of Texas to above the Arctic Circle and Nome, Alaska. He so enjoyed the great friends he made in the Airstream club, talking so frequently of them and their adventures.
Peter’s hands are stilled now, and his wisdom and love shall remain in our hearts forever. He leaves behind his wife Irene, son, Peter (Linda) Breu Jr., daughters Cathy (Larry) Ruebel, Lori Roux, Christine (Mike) White, Candy (Mike) Kelley, and Connie Breu, grandchildren, Cory, Jason, Jonathon, Jacob and Samantha, and ten great grandchildren. He is further survived by his stepchildren, Darla (Mike) Meyers, Carrie (John) Reimer, Jay (Shelley) Gardner, Lon (Theresa) Gardner, Tad (Tina) Gardner, Kelly (Bo) Reed, Robin Gardner, Nikki (Mark) Schmidt, Wes (Patty) Gardner, Jodi (Kevin) Rachu, Tanya Gardner, (Luke Kolo) Kip Gardner, Marni (Aaron) Haas, and Tye (Julie) Gardner, 45 step grandchildren and 25 step great-grandchildren.
Peter was predeceased by his parents, his first wife Donna, grandson Mitchell Bryant, son-in-law James Roux, his siblings, Carolyn MacDougal, Helen Jo, John, Leo, Robert, and Joseph Breu.
Peter’s family would like to extend their sincere gratitude for the gentle care from the staff of the Hewitt House, and the CCU and Palliative Care units of the Marshfield Medical Center.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Peter’s name to St. Michael’ Cemetery fund for the upkeep of the entrance archway that he and grandson Jon lovingly crafted and installed on the cemetery grounds in Donna’s memory.
Condolences may be sent online to www.rembsfh.com