Obituary: Barbara H. Brandtjen

October 18, 1931 ~ April 3, 2023

Barbara H. Brandtjen, 91, of Egg Harbor, died peacefully on April 3, 2023.  She was born on October 18, 1931, in Milwaukee, WI to the late Peter Paul and Erma Catherine (Miller) Huhn, the youngest of six girls in a tight-knit loving family.  She grew up in Milwaukee, graduated from Shorewood High School, and attended Downer College and U.W. Madison.  After a short career as a secretary, Barb married her high school sweetheart and love of her life, Sheldon “Shel” J. Brandtjen, on May 3, 1953. They were blessed with 59 years of marriage before his passing on June 28, 2012.

Barb and Shel had three children, Bonnie, Barb and Jim. They raised their family in Green Bay, WI, then lived in Oshkosh, WI, before retiring to Door County.  They enjoyed boating, playing tennis together, and family vacations to their Two Sisters Lake property in the north woods (which they had purchased on their honeymoon).  After retirement they enjoyed being snowbirds and spent winters on the Gulf.

Another big part of Barb’s family life was time spent with relatives at a Door County farm originally purchased by Barb’s grandparents, the Millers.  As a young girl it was a place where Barb spent summers with her older sisters.  The whole family would travel up from Milwaukee, the car brimming with people, rumble seat open, and the running boards and roof packed with luggage!  Later the farm became a gathering place for Barb’s family, her five sisters, their spouses, and her 20 nieces and nephews.  This beloved land holds many memories of cherry picking, singing, campfires, and good conversations.  It continues to provide a meeting place for the growing families.  Ultimately Barb and Shel built their retirement home on part of the property, and Barb was able to live there until she turned age 90.

Barb was a member of Grace, then Ascension Lutheran church in Green Bay and later joined Calvary Methodist Church of Egg Harbor.  She was an active volunteer throughout her life and was a member of many social and church clubs.

Barb loved social occasions.  She was a kind, gentle, intelligent lady who was genuinely interested in people. She accepted everyone for who they were and could make anyone into a friend.  Barb was young at heart, played the piano, enjoyed music, theater, and reading books. She loved playing games, especially with her grandchildren.  Her favorites were cards and Chinese checkers.  Barb was mercilessly competitive, unusually lucky, and usually won!

Barb thrived as a homemaker and was a wonderful mother.  Family was always her top priority and the center of her life.  She deeply loved and was supportive and proud of her husband, her children, and their spouses, her seven grandchildren and their spouses, her nine (soon to be ten) great grandchildren, and her godson.  Barb also treasured every moment spent with her sisters, nieces and nephews and their families, and close friends.

Barbara is survived by: her children, Bonnie FitzGerald of Wrightstown, Barb (Barry) Rodgers of Algoma, and Jim (Sue) Brandtjen of Green Bay; grandchildren, Lauren (Jake) Le Cloux (and their children, Ethan and Colin) of Green Bay, Jeffrey (Katie) Brandtjen (and their children, Matilda, Lucy, and Stella) of Madison, Ian (Renee) FitzGerald (and their children, Autumn and Liam) of Wrightstown, Mallory (Jacorey Skottmyhre) Mahaffey of St. Paul, MN, Shelley (Paul) Gorski (and their children, Michael and Noelle) of Bozman, MT, and Christina (Chris) Pural (child Anthony on the way) of La Quinta, CA; one sister, Betsy Clark; Godchild, Eric Roang; and former son-in-law, Jim FitzGerald. 

She was preceded in death by: her parents, Peter and Erma (Miller) Huhn, her husband, Shel, her four sisters and brothers-in-law, Helen (Sverre) Roang, Erma Jean (John) O’ Connor, Marion (John) Blake, Esther (Dick) Dawe, and one grandson, Kyle Brandtjen.

Barb’s life will be celebrated with a service held at Huehns Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 2023, with Rev. Michael Morris officiating.  Visitation will be held there from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  In lieu of flowers memorials can be directed to Calvary Methodist Church or the charity of choice.

Barb always woke with a sparkle in her eye and a warm welcoming smile.  Her giving personality and her true interest in others will be greatly missed and always remembered by anyone who knew her.   She was deeply loved.

The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to the special staff at Carrington Assisted Living for their tender care and to Unity Hospice for their support.

Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. in Sturgeon Bay, WI are assisting the Brandtjen family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Barbara may be shared with her family through her tribute page at