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In Memory of Charlene Bretl

Mass of Christian Burial

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Thursday October 14, 2021
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
1295 Ridgeway Street
Hammond Wisconsin, 54015


4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Wednesday October 13, 2021
O'Connell Family Funeral Home
1010 Newton Street
Baldwin WI, 54002

Charlene Bretl, age 89 of Baldwin, beloved wife of Jerry, died October 4th, 2021 at the Baldwin Care Center. Charlene was born on August 9,1932 in Lancaster, Wisconsin; the daughter of William and Ella Kelly. Her early years were spent on the family farm in Potosi, Wisconsin. The family then moved to Lancaster where she attended St. Clement School prior to graduating from Lancaster High School in 1950. After high school, she attended Clark University in Dubuque, Iowa in order to get her teaching degree. She transferred to the University of Wisconsin – Platteville where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Her first teaching position was in a second grade classroom in Beloit, Wisconsin. On August 25th, 1956, she was united in marriage to Jerry Bretl. She would teach in Madison for a year while Jerry completed his master’s degree at UW Madison. In 1957, they moved to Baldwin which became their home. Char continued to teach for the next 28 years with a short time in Hammond and then finding her permanent position in Baldwin. She devoted herself to teaching second grade and loved every moment of it. 

Throughout her life, she and Jerry traveled the country, visiting 46 of the 50 states. They also traveled to several foreign countries, including her favorite trips to China and Ireland, creating incredible memories. She and her brother Jack owned part of the family farm which brought her nostalgic memories of her childhood and beyond. She loved taking the grandkids there to enjoy nature or go camping. In 1985, their farm was recognized by the Wisconsin State Fair with the Century Farm Award. Her main focuses in life were family, faith, and teaching. She was an active member of the Immaculate Conception PCCW. Being a teacher, she took great pride in sharing the faith to the CCD students. She loved to host parties for both family and friends alike. Char and Jerry spent eighteen wonderful years in Fort Myers, Florida as snowbirds. She welcomed visitors into their Florida home and loved every minute of it. Char loved to garden, growing both flowers and vegetables. Her beautiful flower gardens were enjoyed by neighbors both in Wisconsin and Florida. Char was a founding member of the Hammond Golf Club and enjoyed golfing with Jerry and friends.

She will forever remain in the hearts of her husband Gerald (Jerry); her children and their families: Laurie and Doug Braun and their children, Daniel and Andrew; John and Penny Bretl and their children, Dylan, Jordan and Amelia; Ann and Viet Do and their children, Ava and Lily; as well as her sister-in-law Kay Kelly. Her brother Loren (Jack) precedes her in death. 

Mass of Christian Burial for Charlene will be 2:00 p.m. Thursday, October 14th at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hammond, Wisconsin. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday, October 13th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Baldwin. Memorials preferred to Adoray Hospice, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, or the Baldwin Care Center.  

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Charlene's Tribute Wall

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    • My sympathy to Jerry and his family. Char was a beautiful person and she loved to talk about her Kelly family. She shared so much information about them. Char & Jerry were able to come to one of our Irish Cousin reunions and it was great having them there. She will be missed and especially her smile.

    • Char was a kind, caring, helpful, and loving friend and colleague. When I joined the second-grade teaching team at Greenfield Elementary School in Baldwin, Char was so ready to assist me in any way possible. Some of my favorite memories are of our second-grade team dressing in themed costumes for Halloween. Char loved those fun events! She loved parties! I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of Char’s life.

    • What a wonderful woman and neighbor. I’m sure Dad was there to greet her, they can exchange May Day baskets in heaven now. Our sympathy and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time.