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Douglas M Brunner

Douglas M Brunner

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Douglas M. Brunner, (aka Hollywood, Num Nuts, Putz or whatever other endearing term he was referred to over the years!) on Saturday, October 21, 2023 after a very long, hard fight with cancer.  Doug was born on July 6, 1955 to Robert & Edna (Ortwerth) Brunner in Ellsworth, WI where he grew up, went to school and graduated in 1974.

Doug was the second of eight children. He grew up on the family farm in Ellsworth, seeing many struggles, but also creating many memories with his siblings and parents.  They had so much fun together on the farm and have so many memories.  This is where he also found his love of horses. He would continue to love, ride and raise horses his whole life.

After graduation, Doug worked on a few local farms in the Plum City area before starting at Weiser Concrete where he worked for several years. He then went to work for Red Wing Shoe Co. for several more years, then to the sand company for a while, eventually going back to Red Wing Shoe Co. where he retired from in July 2020. He enjoyed retirement the best he could.

In 1977, Doug married Monica Caturia, they divorced a short time later. To this union, he was blessed with his daughter Heather. She was his pride and joy as well as one of his best friends until the day he died. He never missed an opportunity to spend time with her growing up-they were inseparable on their weekends, and their time together was cherished. He attended all of her sporting events, school activities and concerts. They always went out to eat somewhere afterwards to catch up from the last week or two they were apart. She never doubted the love of her ‘Papa Bear’. They had many great memories together. They loved sharing and trying out a new bottle of wine, a good bloody mary a cold beer while normally picking on each other at all times and making each other laugh with their quick come backs and smart-alec comments.  Their bond is one that they were both so lucky to have and both cherished. Doug would go to the ends of the earth for her and she would do the same, especially when it came to caring for him in the last few years when his cancer returned and as his health declined.

Doug married Judi (Waldvogel-Ebensberger) in 1995. He gained four more step daughters as well as a handful of grandchildren.

To anyone that knew him, there was no denying that he could be described as a very hard worker, funny, lover of music and a good movie, a loyal friend and willing to lend a helping hand whenever he could to whoever may have needed it. He loved riding horse over the years, creating so many life long friendships which led to MANY bon fires, sips of great whiskey and a good cigar, as well as lots of laughs and good jokes. Riding horse in Missouri was one of his favorite places to ride. He loved the scenery and the adventure, as well as the company with the group that went!  All things he cherished and held very close to his heart. After retirement, and when his horses grew older and needed to retire right along with him, he found the love of his side by side and loved riding with the local UTV clubs.  He always looked forward to Wednesdays in the summer for the weekly ‘Geezer Ride’ as his daughter called it! He and Judi enjoyed this time immensely and created many more friendships and memories! 

Doug was huge lover of music.  This led to him playing the drums and joining his dad, playing in Bob’s Polka Band for several years.  Later, he traded in the polka music for country music, playing in the band Horsin’ Around in the 90’s for several years as well. He loved this time in his life and his band mates! If there was live music playing somewhere, he always wanted to go ‘check it out’! 

One of Doug’s greatest loves in his life was his grandson, Levi.  Those two had a bond like no other. Constant shenanigans and picking on each other back and forth. There were often times, if you were around them, it was questionable on who was the kid in the situation! Levi was Doug’s ‘mini me’ without a doubt.  They were often found together on the weekends enjoying their large pancakes for breakfast at Molly’s on Main, where grandpa would spend far too long talking with everyone there and Levi patiently waited to get on with their day so they could get the three days of work done that was all planned for one day! They loved watching a good western moving while eating popcorn and both falling asleep in the recliner every single time. They enjoyed many trail rides together, 4-wheeler and snowmobile rides, hunting together and countless hours of wrestling.

Doug will be missed by so many family and friends he’s made on this journey called life, but especially by his wife, Judi. His daughter, Heather (Jon) Kelton and grandson/side kick, Levi Kelton as well as his ‘pals’ Maverick and Cody. His step daughters, Linda, Mary (Chris) Zimmerman, Suzie (Scott) Brunner and Chris (Joe) Hoyt. Step grandchildren Aaron, Ben, Mason, Madison, Riley and ‘his girls’ Shelby, Taylor (Mitch) and Tyler and one great grandson Peyton. His siblings, Ed (Miriam) Brunner, Julie (Tom) Gilles, David Brunner, Fred (Kim) Brunner, Paul (Shari) Brunner, Mary (Trace) Brunner and Jeanette (Jerry) Brunner. He is preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Carl in infancy.

Although he wasn’t ready, he put up one hell of a fight and traded in his spurs for wings. Good ride, Cowboy, Good ride!

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1:00PM-5:00PM Saturday, November 4, 2023 at Molly’s on Main in Plum City.

Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Durand, is serving the family.


  1. Alison Oostendorp

    The Staff and residents from Plum City Care Center would like to express our sympathies to the family.

  2. Dr. Kyle Kollbaum

    Our heartfelt condolences to all of Doug’s family. He was a delight to serve at our office and just a great all around fantastic guy. He will be missed.

  3. GayHeath

    So sorry for your loss. You are in prayers.

  4. Kay Longsdorf

    Judi and family, I am sorry for your loss and my prayers are with you at this time. Kay L

  5. Nick and Linda Wolf from Cloverdale, MN

    We had the honor of joining Doug and Judi on a few rides over the years. So welcoming ... and what a funny guy. We will both miss him very much. We hold the family in our hearts. As was previously said, Good Ride, Doug. Good Ride

  6. Barbara Salem

    My condolences to your family on the passing of Doug. I taught with Mary when she was a music instructor in Butterfield, MN. I just wanted to say how beautiful the words written about Doug were. They helped me feel what a warm and caring person he must have been. God bless all of you during the days ahead!❤️????

  7. OLE

    Heather so sorry for your loss, he sounds like he was a great man and I’m sure he will send you signs.

  8. John and Judy Parr

    our sympathy is with you all

  9. Patricia Frion

    So very sorry for your loss

  10. Linda Meier

    My deepest sympathy to all of Doug’s family and friends. He was a wonderful and caring man. May God wrap you all in his love and bring you comfort.

  11. Monica and Dallas

    Rest In Peace Doug! Our heartfelt sympathy to all the family!

  12. Shannon Carsten

    I had the honor of meeting him through his sister JB. He was so kind and genuine. A gentle soul who truly loved his sisters company. He will be missed.

  13. Joanne Hovey

    Sincere sympathy to all the family. Doug was a very nice guy and will be missed.

  14. Donna Hoyt

    So sorry for your loss. He was a great guy and always had a smile on his face.

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