Joseph Vincent Bretz, age 93, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 at North Valley Extended Care in Tonasket.
He was born on Oct. 9, 1918 in Wadena, Minn., the fifth of eight children to parents William and Magdalena (Auel) Bretz. Vince grew up in Wadena and attended school there.
On Dec. 29, 1941 he married Muriel Callahan in Verndale, Minn. Vince served in the military from March 1942 to June 1945, serving as a Staff Seargent in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater in Hawaii. Following an honorable discharge from the service, Vince and Muriel made their home in Verndale, Minn., where they purchased the Verndale Food Market. In 1949, they sold the market and moved to Ellisforde, Wash., to assist Muriel’s uncle with an orchard. In 1951 they moved to Tonasket and then a short time later they moved to the current home. Vince briefly worked for Great Northern Railroad before becoming the maintenance engineer at the new St. Martin’s Hospital in 1952, later known as North Valley Hospital, until his retirement in 1981. Vince learned the carpentry trade from his father and assisted him in building and remodeling houses. He had a dream to build a log home. He cut and milled his own logs and at age 71 completed this home on Highway 20 overlooking Tonasket. Vince designed and constructed his casket to resemble a log house. He enjoyed his annual hunting trips, visiting relatives in Minnesota and camping at Bonaparte Lake. Vince was a member of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church where he was instrumental in the addition to the church building as well as the construction of the parish hall. He was also a member of the American Legion Post 82 and the V.F.W.
Vince is survived by his children: Jodi Busse of Spokane, Tom (Kay) Bretz of Tonasket, Patti (George) Hill of Tonasket, John Bretz of Tonasket, Joe (Renee) Bretz of Tonasket and Jim (Janet) Bretz of Tonasket; two brothers: William Bretz of Osakis, Minn. and Edmund Bretz of Paynesville, Minn.; one sister, Margaret Smith of Huntington Beach, Calif.; 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
Vince was preceded in death by his wife Muriel of 68 years; his parents; two brothers; two sisters; one son, Rob Bretz and one grandchild, Jennifer Lynn.
Rosary will be held on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 at 6 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 at 10 a.m. Both services will be held at Holy Rosary Parish in Tonasket with Father David Kuttner, presiding. Interment will follow the mass at the Tonasket Cemetery. Dinner to follow the services at Holy Rosary Parish Hall. Memorials may be made to the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, North Valley Extended Care or American Legion Post #82. You may share your thoughts and memories by signing Vince’s online guestbook at www.berghfuneralservice.com.
Bergh Funeral Service of Oroville and Tonasket in care of arrangements.