VisitationWednesday, July 6 from 4-7 pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin
Funeral ServicesThursday, July 7 at 11am at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Baldwin
Lucille J Bjerkeng, age 82, of Baldwin, died at her home on the morning of July 1, 2011. Lucille was born on November 6, 1928 in Menomonie, WI to Otto and Hulda (Krueger) Benzel. She grew up in Menomonie and attended grade school and high school there where she was affectionately known as "Toots." After graduating from high school, Lucille attended Normal School and received her two year teaching degree. Upon his return from the Pacific Theatre, she was married to Eugene Chaffee. This marriage would be blessed with two children, Denny and Jeanne. Lucille was one of the last of her kind – teaching in a one room school house. After her children were born the family would remain in Menomonie as she proudly cared for her family. It was after Eugene’s death in 1963 that Lucille decided to go back to school and complete her four year degree, while also raising two young children. She attended UW Eau Claire where she received her teaching degree and began teaching in the Menomonie School District. Lucille later taught for a brief time in the Baldwin School District and that was where she met Lars Bjerkeng, another teacher. The two were united in marriage in 1968. Lucille and her children would live in Baldwin with Lars and Lars’ son, John, but returned to teaching in Menomonie. She would continue to teach until 1995 when she retired from the profession. Lucille and Lars would spend time with friends and family and enjoyed traveling. They wintered in Bradenton, Florida and took other trips together, such as Norway. In 2001 Lars passed away. Lucille would continue to winter in Florida for a few more years. She remained in Baldwin, surrounded by her family and friends.
Lucille’s favorite times were those shared with her friends and family. She enjoyed her grandchildren, whether it be watching the various school activities, musical performances or sporting events they were in. She was a huge sports fan, watching ESPN regularly and always supporting the Packers, Brewers, and Wisconsin College teams. She was also an avid golfer, golfing in the Hammond Golf Club Leagues and even inspiring her kids to take part in the sport. She was active with women’s circles and groups at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Baldwin as she was also a Red Hatter. For the past 7 years she was usually accompanied by her dog and travel companion, Dickie.
Lucille is survived by her; children, John (Kelly) Bjerkeng of Hudson, Jeanne Tobin of Houston, TX and Denny Chaffee of Hudson; grandchildren, Stacy (Kevin) Billingslea of Missoula, MT, Cory and Kenny Bjerkeng of Hudson, Lindsey Burnham of Fayetteville, NC and Sean Tobin of Houston, TX; great-grandchildren, Phoebe and Heathe Billingslea and Erin and Rowan Burnham; and sister-in-law, Magna Zillman of Hudson. She is further survived by many other relatives and dear friends.
Lucille is preceded in death by her parents, Otto and Hulda (Krueger) Benzel; husbands, Eugene Chaffee and Lars Bjerkeng; infant daughter, Debbie; and brother, Ollie.
Funeral Services for Lucille will be held on Thursday, July 7 at 11am at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Burial will be held privately at a later date at Peace Cemetery in Menomonie, WI. A time for visitation will be held for 1 hour prior to services at the church as well as on Wednesday, July 6 from 4-7 pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin. Services are in the care of the O’Connell Family Funeral Home – Baldwin Chapel. 715.684.3434