Vernon Marvin Bretl, 87, of Sturgeon Bay, died surrounded by family on Jan. 8, 2018. He was born at home Nov. 7, 1930 in Nasewaupee Township to Clifford and Catherine (O’Hern) Bretl. Vern attended Wilson’s one-room schoolhouse on Route 6 and graduated from Sturgeon Bay High School. On Oct. 3, 1959, he married Marlean Schneider at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay and they raised three daughters. He was currently a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
While working for Algoma Plywood, he was called to serve his country in the U.S. Army. Vern served from July 31, 1951 to Feb. 14, 1953. He spent time in South Carolina and Washington State in basic training before heading overseas to Korea. Vern spent many months on the front lines of battle in the 7th Division (hourglass) 32nd infantry regiment company B. It was on “Old Baldy” from Oct. 20, 1952 to Feb. 17, 1953 where he saw the worst battle time, and saved his platoon by guiding them to safety during an attack. He came home as a corporal and earned a bronze star for meritorious duties as a squad leader.
Vernon returned home and worked for Christy Corp., later returning to Algoma Plywood and finally retiring from Bay Shipbuilding. He enjoyed working in his yard every day, planting trees and bushes. He spent lots of time trimming and was very meticulous about how everything looked. Vern also had a large workshop in his basement and loved doing woodworking projects, making shelves, benches, and refinishing the entire basement.
Vern loved airplanes and enjoyed flying with Marlean to California to visit grandchildren, and taking road trips to Turtle Lake to visit other grandchildren. Vern and Marlean also took a memorable boat trip to Holland, Michigan one year. He had a vast interest in reading, especially books about WWII and Korea and always seemed to be reading a new book whenever you saw him. When not reading he liked his daily walks around town.
He will be sadly missed by Marlean, his wife of 58 years, 3 daughters, Lisa (Richard) Carmody, Sturgeon Bay; Linda (Peter) Engman, Turtle Lake, WI; and Paula (Dr. Thomas) McIlraith, Davis, CA; four grandchildren, Kyle and Meredith Engman, and Skye and Connor McIlraith. He was preceded in death by his parents and a baby sister Frances.
Funeral services with military honors will be conducted at 11 am Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay. Burial will be in Forestville Town Cemetery. Friends may call at the church on Friday from 10 am until the time of service. Forbes Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
The family would like to thank Sturgeon Bay Health Services for their compassion and care given to our father, husband, and grandfather.