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In Memory of Denise Brouillard


A Gathering of Family and Friends will be held 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Sunday, August 13 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 S. 11th St., Hudson

Funeral Services

A Celebration of Denise’s Life will take place at 4:00 PM Sunday, August 13 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 S. 11th St., Hudson

Denise Suzanne (Zirkle) Brouillard, age 51, passed away peacefully July 21, 2017 at her home in Hudson after a brave and most courageous battle with breast cancer. 

Denise was born October 4, 1965 in Long Island, NY.  Denise was not adopted, but very much welcomed, loved and chosen, and became the precious daughter of David and Joanne (Stark) Zirkle. Denise graduated from Western High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the Class of 1984. She went on to achieve her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, her Masters Degree from St. Cloud State University, and her PhD from the University of Nevada, Reno. With hard work and great compassion, Denise worked as a Professor of Counseling at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Denise blossomed and shined as a professor and became tenured.  Denise was accomplished in her work, and recently received the Mary Gehrke-McAllister Leadership Award in 2017.  She had a tremendous love and respect for others, never quick to judge or be critical, which touched the lives of so many students and colleagues.  

Denise was united in marriage to Robert Brouillard, although their marriage dissolved, their life was blessed with two chosen and beautiful children, Michael and Bridget.  Her children were the center of her world, making each day a true blessing for her.  Denise fought her battle with cancer bravely and full of such grace for her children.  Always letting them know that they are the most important part of her, and securing that forever love as a mom.  Her loving bonds and  continued care were always evident in her role as a daughter and sister, showing the utmost love to her sister, Penny, brother, David Jr. and her parents.

Denise had a remarkable way of making those around her feel special. She was introspective and so thoughtful in her ways towards others.  Denise was determined, full of life, and had a unique way of bringing levity to even the most serious situations.  She loved her community and the people around her.  Denise was very fond of the unconditional love of her little dogs, Phoebe and Shiloh.  She enjoyed baking, gardening, and making each day count.  May Denise’s legacy of such courage and graciousness live on in the many hearts she blessed. 

Denise will remain in the hearts of her two precious children, Michael and Bridget; her former husband and wonderful father to her children, Robert Brouillard; her father, David Zirkle of CO; siblings, Penny (Greg) Hoglund of Zepher Cove, NV, Dr. David Jr. (Sabra) Zirkle of Colorado Springs, CO; dear nieces and nephews, Kelsey, Liam, and Ella; as well as many other loving relatives and friends.  She was preceded in death by her mother, Joanne Zirkle, to whom she adored; and her brother, Russell.

A Gathering of Family and Friends will be held 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Sunday, August 13 at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 S. 11th St., Hudson, with a Celebration of Denise’s Life at 4:00 PM.  Interment will take place at Willow River Cemetery in Hudson. Knowing that Denise had such love for animals, memorials are preferred to the Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue and Lakeview Hospice, which provided such great care to Denise in her final days.

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Denise's Tribute Wall

Tributes (9):

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    • Our thoughts go out to Denise’s family, knowing your fond memories will keep you strong during this difficult time.

      Kerry and Patrick

      We happily donated to Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue in Denise’s name.

    • Although we became friends unconventionally, Denise is
      truly one of a kind. Standing on the sidelines, I’ve seen her
      endure many challenges and wondered how she handled
      it like a champ. My life seems a little emptier now that she’s
      no longer with us, but my spirit seems more full knowing
      Heaven is brighter and warmer. So long my friend. 🙁

    • Denise’s “compadres” at UW-Stout miss her and love her always. Denise was a true professional whose knowledge, experience, compassion, and integrity exemplified the counseling profession for her students and colleagues alike. She combined all these qualities with a wicked sense of humor, which always made coming to work a joy and an adventure. Condolences to her family especially, and many thanks to you for sharing the blessing of Denise with us, her colleagues and friends.

    • This message is for Denises’ sister Penny, brother David and father Dave…..
      Just a note to tell you all how sad we are concerning Denise, we have so many wonderful memories of her as a child, with many, many summers spent with her and her family in Ormond Beach FL.
      She was always so kind and polite and we had many good times.
      I have many photos of her and her family which I would love to give to her family if anyone wants them please contact me.
      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express my sadness,
      Fondly, Joan and Ellis Ayers

    • We knew Denise through a group called Harambe which was formed to help families who adopted transcracially. She and her family were an important part of our group. Her genuineness, insight, and humor were appreciated. Our deepest condolences to her family! Michael and Bridget have especially been in our daily intentions. Rest in peace Denise!

    • I met Denise a few years ago through a moms group in the area. Her words were always full of grace and understanding. Her children and their best interests were undoubtedly most important to her. Our group will miss her greatly. Sending prayers of comfort for all who knew and loved her.

    • Connecting with Denise again a couple of years ago was such a special thing for me. She, as well as her family, were such an important part of my college days. I remember Denise as a shy little girl who loved her doggies. She was always so cheerful. I was thrilled to learn of her educational achievements, and especially her children. She told me of her illness, but explained that it was more of an inconvenience… something that could be maintained and not to worry. What a brave, strong soul. Blessings to her dear children, and prayers for all who will be missing her, especially her family.

    • Denise will be so missed. She is a model to us all in her courage and tenacity in fighting the battle against cancer and her perseverance to live as long as possible to be with her kids. Our Lord is welcoming her with open arms and freedom from pain!