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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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January 26, 2021

12/1/2020 7:30:00 AM
David Charles Bronk

David Charles Bronk, age 86, died Nov. 19, 2020 peacefully and at home. He was born in Rhinelander on Sept. 16, 1934 to William and Eleanor (Rhode) Bronk. He grew up on the south side with his only sister, Barb (Stafford). He was a proud Hodag and graduated from RHS in 1952.

Dad joined the U.S. Navy at 17 to see the world. Because he was so young, Grandpa had to sign the papers and Grandma was not too happy about it! He scored high enough on the entrance exam to go in as an officer, but he chose to stay with the guys and be just one of the gang. He proudly served as a corpsman on the flight deck of the USS Bennington aircraft carrier. After four years he was honorably discharged and returned to Rhinelander.

Upon his return, he started his life-long career in sales. Dad was the consummate salesperson. He certainly had the "gift of gab!" Dad started out selling cars with Quality Chevrolet, then he worked for Stamer Motors which became Long Cadillac-Pontiac and then went back to Quality Chevrolet. He finally left the car business and went to work at Oneida Wholesale Liquor selling liquor and beer. He was there for many years and then started his own business selling snack food products to convenience stores and taverns throughout northern Wisconsin. He did that until he retired.

So that's what my Dad did for a living, but now I'll tell you what he really was about and the things that were most important to him: family, friends, his faith, fishing and, of course, the Packers. One of Dad's most-told stories was about being at the Ice Bowl with Uncle Bruce Rhode!

In 1960, Dad was settling back into small town life when "the best thing that every happened to me" happened. He met the love of his life, Jane Richardson. After a year of hot pursuit, Mom finally succumbed to the dashing charmer and they romantically eloped to Illinois with Dad's life-long friend, Huey DuBois, in tow. Dave and Jane were married on Aug. 5, 1961. This year they celebrated their 59th year of marriage!

In 1962, they started a family and had me, Pamela Sue and then a year later along came David John (D.J.). Growing up, Dad taught us important life lessons such as: don't stand in front of the TV during the Packer game, which translates to be respectful of others and life isn't always all about you. And he asked the tough questions that made us think, like: if everyone jumped off the Davenport Street bridge, would you? This gave us critical thinking and risk assessment skills. He also instilled in us a love for all things outdoors, especially fishing. We owned a cabin on Town Line Lake that didn't have running water or indoor plumbing. We lived there for a summer once and D.J. and I loved it. Dad loved Christmas and especially cooking for it. Every year he would lovingly make all our favorite dishes. He always told us; I don't care where in the world you go but you better come home for Christmas! Thank you, Dad, for the values you instilled in us and the great life you gave us growing up.

Family and friends all knew that Saturday night was happy hour and steak night, and all were welcome. There was always music, singing, dancing and lots of laughter. Dad had a great love for old music and one of his favorite sing-along songs we all sang was "Heart of My Heart." The lyrics are, in part:

Heart of my heart

Meant friends were dearer then

Too bad we had to part

I know a tear would glisten, if once more I could listen

To that gang that sang Heart of My Heart

So Dad, I hope the angels are singing this song while you are reminiscing about the "Old V" with Uncle Huey, drinking Manhattans with Darry, having something a little Irish with Jim, laughing with Carla and fishing with Ray and, of course, most of the Mag 6 (Swede, Dick, Tom and Bob). Until we're all together again, we love you!

David was preceded in death by his father and mother, William and Eleanor Bronk and his sister Barbara Stafford. David is survived by his wife Jane, daughter Pamela (Dennis Hooker) and son D.J. (Jane) Bronk.

A Mass of Christian Burial for David will take place on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church where David was a life-long member and ushered there for over 30 years. Father Chris Kemp will officiate. Masks will be required by all in attendance and social distancing will be observed. Interment will follow in the Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Cemetery. You may leave your private condolences for the Bronk family at The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is serving the Bronk family.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020
Article comment by: Ken Pazdernik


So sorry to hear about your dad. He must have been a great guy and your description of him was outstanding. Ken

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Article comment by: Lynn Kielhold

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I will .iss seeing that smile at Mass in the summers..

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