JEFFERSON — Marlene C. Brunner, 85, of Jefferson died peacefully at her home on Sunday June 21, 2020.
Born in Watertown, Wis., on Nov. 27, 1934, she was the eldest daughter of John Pitzner and Lydia Bergmann Pitzner of Jefferson.
She graduated from Jefferson High School in 1952 and attended Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis.
Marlene was a 58-year employee of the W.D. Hoard and Sons Co. in Fort Atkinson, working in the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial department as editorial coordinator and contact person between editorial and marketing and Hoard’s West. She was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson.
On Feb. 14, 1964, Marlene married Jack Brunner. He died on Sept. 10, 1995. She and Jack were instrumental in reorganizing the Humane Society of Jefferson County in 1974, at which time she started the “Pets of the Week” column in the Jefferson Advertiser, and Daily Jefferson County Union under different authorship.
Marlene also worked with the Bureau of Land Management’s Adopt-a-Horse and Burro program from 1985 until the mid-90s, writing the scripts and participating in the BLM’s accomplishments with the adoption and taming of both a wild horse (Cheyenne) and a wild burro (Bullfrog), who shared her love with three domestic horses, Rebel, Ginger and Travis, the latter two of which she both rode and drove on a cart and an oldtime cutter.
Travels through the West were among her treasured memories, as well as trail riding on a mustang (former wild horse) in Missouri and Montana. She rode a mustang in the 1990 Ronald McDonald Christmas parade in Chicago and in various other parades.
Marlene was known for her compassion and love for all living creatures, especially her beloved horses, burro, goats, dogs, and cats, and was a supporter of animal-care and anti-cruelty organizations and a promoter of land conservation and environmental protection.
She is survived by her family: sisters Miriam (John) Steinke of Illinois and Mary Foskett of Jefferson; sister-in-law Sue Pitzner of Jefferson; nieces and nephews Steve Steinke of Fort Atkinson, Chris (“G”) Foskett of Cambridge, Cyndi (Bob Buske) Pitzner of Jefferson, David (Kathy) Pitzner of Jefferson, Cathi (Randy) Knaus of Chilton, Jennifer (Jeff) Ihlenfeld of Jefferson and Barb (Dooner) Simdon of Jefferson; great-nieces and nephews; and great-great nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Jack; brother, Ronald Pitzner; half-brother, Douglas Pitzner; and most recently, her faithful companion, “Buddy.” She also was preceded in death by her other dogs, Mike, Butch, Cindy, Tuffy, Troubles, Bailey, Shylo, Rosie and Otis; her horses, Rebel, Ginger, Travis and Cheyenne; her burro, Bullfrog; her goats, Buttons and Melbourne; and her cats, too many to name.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 26, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson with the Rev. Ethan Steinbrenner officiating. Visitation will be at the church from 3 p.m. until the time of service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Touched by a Paw in Whitewater; the Humane Society of Jefferson County; Return to Freedom (a wild mustang rescue at 4115 Jalama Rd, Lompoc, CA 93436); Peacefull Valley Donkey (P.O. Box 926, Lompoc, CA 93438); or Bethany Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson.
Visit www.schneidermichaelisfuneralhome.com to leave a condolence.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Rainbow Hospice Care, and her devoted in-home caregivers who helped make her final year special.