Marlean J. Bretl

Marlean Joyce Bretl, 86, of Sturgeon Bay, passed away on April 19, 2022, at Door County Medical Center surrounded by her loving family and is now reunited with her husband Vernon.  She was born May 12, 1935,at home in Sturgeon Bay the daughter of Edward and Mary (Hickey) Schneider.  Marlean graduated in 1953 from Sturgeon Bay High School and was a lifelong member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

Marlean lived for a short time as a child in Algoma where her father was a fisherman.  After his passing, the family moved to Baileys Harbor, her mother’s hometown.  Years later, they moved to Sturgeon Bay in her sophomore year of high school.  On Oct. 3, 1959, Marlean married Vernon M. Bretl. They were married for 58 years.  Vern passed away on January 8, 2018.  They were blessed with three children, Lisa, Linda, and Paula.

As a teenager, Marlean picked her fair share of cherries throughout Door County.  After graduation, she worked for McClellans Dept. Store and spent time bowling with the Lutheran League at Worley’s Lanes.  She also went to California and New York with a high school friend and always had stories of trips before starting her family.  Later, Marlean sold Avon for 10 years and was top seller in her district winning many awards.  She also worked for Dwain’s Foods and was manager for the Hole in One Convenience Store before her retirement.

Marlean always had stories to tell of her childhood in Baileys Harbor and her Hickey family’s fishing history.  Marlean enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren, especially at Christmas time, her favorite holiday.

In their retirement, Marlean and Vernon enjoyed flying to California to visit grandchildren and road trips to Turtle Lake to visit other grandchildren.  They also enjoyed a boat trip to Holland, Michigan.  Marleanloved knitting many beautiful and intricate afghans for everyone and enjoyed spending time in her flower garden and canning her wonderful strawberry jam and peaches in the summer.  Marlean also had a love for books, especially romance and mysteries; she had an extensive collection that turned into a book room to hold them all.  When not reading, you would find her watching the Hallmark Channel.

Marlean will be sadly missed by her three children, Lisa (Richard) Carmody, Sturgeon Bay, WI; Linda (Peter) Engman, Turtle Lake, WI; and Paula (Dr. Thomas) McIlraith, Davis, CA; four grandchildren, Kyle and Meredith Engman and Skye and Connor McIlraith.  

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband,half-brother Russell Kalms, half-brother John Schneider, and half-sister Eda Schneider.

Funeral services will be 11:00 am Monday, April 25, 2022 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay, burial will be in the Forestville Town Cemetery.  Friends may call at the church on Monday from 10:00 am until the time of service.  Forbes Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Our family has a special heartfelt thank you to the Door County Medical Center, Ascension Home Nurses, Unity Hospice, and to social worker Erin for the special and loving care given to our mother and grandmother.

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