She was born August 31, 1925 as Bernice Susan Weller to John and Scholastica (Wegscheid) Weller in Wadena, MN. She graduated from Wadena High School. Like many women who helped their country during WWII, Bernice worked like “Rosie the Riveter” as a lathe operator. On September 25, 1945 Bernice was united in marriage to William Bretz in Bluffton, MN. They moved to a farm near Osakis, MN and together raised a family of nine children. In addition to providing love and support for her children, Bernice worked as a clerk at the Red Owl grocery store in Osakis, at the Fingerhut factory in Sauk Centre and as a cook at the Osakis Community Memorial Home. Even after retirement, Bernice helped out at Grandma’s Attic in Osakis.
She was a member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Osakis and belonged to the Christian Mothers.
Bernice had many interests and hobbies. She loved to be outdoors working in her garden. She had a knack for raising strawberries and was locally renowned for the biggest, juiciest berries. She sold many quarts and even took orders each fall from people who wanted to be sure to get some of her next year’s crop. Bernice also enjoyed quilting (making quilts for each of her children), traveling and taking rides around the neighborhood on her three-wheel bike. She was a hard-working, loving wife, mother and grandmother who will be dearly missed by her family and many friends.
Bernice is survived by her husband of 66 ½ years, Bill Bretz of Osakis; nine children, Janice (Rick) Wander-Schoen of Buckeye, AZ, Katherine Bretz of Menlo Park, CA, Karen Bretz of Phoenix, AZ, Jerome Bretz of Princeton, MN, Darlene (Anjan) Bhattacharyya, Lexington, KY, David (Barb) Bretz of Nisswa, Dianne (Brent) Merolla of Scottsdale, AZ, Robert (Michelle) Bretz of Edmonds, WA, Timothy (Trisha) Bretz of Pendelton, IN; 14 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; 3 great, great grandchildren; 3 brothers, Donald Weller of Wadena, Kenneth (Dorothy) Weller of Cross Lake, Joseph (Joanie) Weller of Ottertail, MN, 3 sisters, Arlene Kato of Great Falls, MT, Johanna (Mark) Kato of Havre, MT, Judith (Collin) McLeod of Alexandria; 3 sisters-in-law, Marjorie Weller of New York Mills, MN, Eileen Weller of Merced, CA, Margaret Smith of Huntington Beach, CA; 1 brother-in-law, Ed (Glenyce) Bretz of Paynesville; many nieces and nephews.
Bernice was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Duane and Arnold Weller, and a sister, Isabelle Langer, as well as several brothers and sisters-in-law.
A Mass of Resurrection was held on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 11:00 am at the Immaculate Conception Church in Osakis with Fr. Dave Petron officiating. Interment was at St. Ann’s Cemetery in Wadena, MN with Fr. Don Wagner officiating. Honorary pallbearers were the members of her neighborhood birthday club, Carolyn Thimmesh, Virginia Mikkelson, Sonja Starry, Gayle Redning, Vicky Herickhoff, Dorene Mielke, Jean Torstenson and Delores Levau. Active pallbearers were Louis Gray, Dale Massman, Chet Wallace, Gary Mikkelson, Jason Sward and Brent Merolla. Alternate Pallbearer, Tony Pitschka.
Arrangements by the Roy-Hetland Funeral Home in Osakis, MN.