Wilma Marjorie Brunner went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at the Plum City Care Center. Wilma was born on January 19, 1938 in the family cabin on the Plum City east hill, the third child and second daughter of Margaret (Schrader) and Clarence Holmstadt. Wilma was so small when she was born that her mother had to keep her near the wood stove in a drawer surrounded by blankets to stay warm. Wilma enjoyed growing up with her six sisters and four brothers on the family farm. She attended St. John's Catholic School and Plum City High School, and was active in the high school band as a trombonist. While in high school, Wilma met her future husband, Donald Brunner, on a blind date (arranged by friends) to the Sadie Hawkins dance their junior year. Donald said they made an instant connection and the rest is history. Wilma and Donald enjoyed attending prom and many dances held in area dance halls. Wilma graduated from Plum City High School in 1956 and was part of the class who arranged the first of many legendary Plum City High School senior class trips to Washington, D.C.
After high school, Wilma worked as a nursing aide at the Plum City Hospital. Wilma married Donald Woodrow Brunner on June 9, 1959 at St. John's Catholic Church in Plum City, with Father Steiber officiating. After honeymooning in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Wilma and Donald lived on various farms and started their family. Wilma and Donald bought their farm between Ono and Waverly in 1962, raised all their children at the farm, and enjoyed the farm, living in the country, and developing lifelong friendships with their neighbors. Wilma and Donald hosted many parties, family reunions and threshing events on the family farm. Wilma often shared stories of the hard work needed to raise children while farming and working an off-farm job. Wilma began working at the Spring Valley Care Center in the early 1980s, and then with Pierce County Public Health as a home health aide, retiring in 2003. She greatly enjoyed her membership of St. John's Catholic Church, and was active in various groups and activities until her last days.
Wilma adored her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, parents, nieces, nephews, and anyone who graced her life. She was a loving and welcoming soul and was a mother and grandmother to all. She always invited visitors to share in a meal or treats. Wilma will always be remembered for her delicious home cooking, including outstanding chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls and Christmas goodies. Wilma's cookie jar was never empty and she delighted each time a family member or visitor checked the cookie jar for cookies. Wilma always grew a large garden, beautiful flowers, and canned many jars of food, including her famous delicious dill pickles. Wilma spent a lot of time at her sewing machine, patching blue jeans and torn flannel shirts, creating graduation quilts for her grandchildren, and embroidering flour sack towels for family wedding gifts.
Wilma loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, taking them sledding in the snow, and playing games such as Uno and Life on the Farm. Wilma delighted in watching her children and grandchildren participate in music and athletic events. She also cherished her monthly lunches with her sisters and other family gatherings. Wilma kept in touch with many high school classmates and friends, and helped to organize the Plum City High School All-School Reunion for Plum City's Sesquicentennial in 2007. She loved playing euchre and participated in many card clubs with family and friends throughout the years. Wilma signed up for a penpal program in 1974, and enjoyed talking with her English penpal Sheila. Although they never met face-to-face, they were once able to video chat together.
Wilma loved dancing and polka music, and she and Donald attended 48 out of 49 Ellsworth Polka Fests. Wilma used to listen to and dance around to polka music while working in the kitchen. Wilma and Donald took many wonderful trips together throughout the years, including one to Germany for Oktoberfest, Hawaii, Alaska, Las Vegas, New Ulm, and they attended a Green Bay Packers game.
Wilma will be held forever in our hearts, and will be remembered for her love, devotion, kind heart and playfulness. We will never forget her often used phrase of "Bless your heart".
Wilma and Donald celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2019, complete with a family mass, congratulatory certificate from the Pope, and a lovely blessing from Father Joe Okine-Quartey. The family enjoyed a photography session and family dinner, complete with children and grandchildren sharing their favorite memories.
Wilma is greatly missed by her loving husband of 62 years, Donald Brunner; children Susan (Scott) Amacher of Spring Valley, WI; Steven (Maribeth) of Arkansaw, WI; Michael at home; Mark (Julie) of Chippewa Falls, WI; James (Heather) of New Richmond, WI; Jennifer (Jesse) Hass of Arkansaw, WI; and Teresa (Mike) Davis of Elmwood, WI. Wilma is survived by grandchildren Valerie (Nick), Eric, Alicia (Nick), Stephanie (Matt), Jordan, Amanda (Nate), Ashley, Aaron, Brianna, Hunter and Mason; and step-grandchildren Austin (Shawna), Houston (Kate), Kenedy and IsaBella. Wilma is also survived by great-grandchildren Gabriel, Allyson, Marti, Sean, Coroline, Nicholas, Trevor, Rudy, Reid, Woody, Baby Nelson and step-great grandson Kasin. Wilma is survived by her loving sisters and brothers Kenneth (deceased) Gertrude Holmstadt, Plum City, WI; Evelyn (Harold deceased) Goerdt, Bloomington, MN; Arlene (Gary) Dado, Amery, WI; Wayne (Shelly) Holmstadt, Plum City, WI; Carol (Donald deceased) Stewart, Woodbury, MN; Marlys Holmstadt and Doug Spray, Woodbury, MN; Norman (Marlene) Holmstadt, Plum City, WI; Cathy (Art) Schrofe, Eau Claire, WI; Jean (John) Hilson, Eau Claire, WI; and Larry (Cindy) Holmstadt, Durand, WI. Wilma will also be missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors. She will be held in our hearts forever and we will never forget her.
Wilma is welcomed into Heaven by her parents, brother-in-law Harold Goerdt, brother Kenneth Holmstadt, brother-in-law Don Stewart; in-laws Josephine and Edward Brunner, Bob and Edna Brunner, Calvin and Mary Brunner, nephew Karl Brunner, and niece Rita Mountain; and great-grandson Calvin Nelson.
The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Mayo Health System, especially Dr. Eric Wirta, PA. Enormous thanks also go to Jane Poeschel, NP, S, for ensuring comfort as Wilma left this world. The family would also like to thank Plum City Care Center and St. Croix Hospice for their loving care of Wilma and the family in Wilma's last days, and the Plum City community for the outpouring of love and support.
Funeral Mass will be 11:00 AM Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Plum City with Rev. Junabe V. Villapaz officiating. Burial will be in Free Home Cemetery, rural Plum City. Visitation will be 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM Monday at Rhiel Funeral Home in Durand, and one hour prior to the services at the church on Tuesday.
Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Durand, is serving the family.