Clayton R. Bries, born April 2, 1921, in Wrightstown to Geraldine (Van den Bosch) and Frank Bries, passed away on Dec. 29, 2017. His loving wife of 72 years, Mary E. (Schneider) Bries, born March 20, 1924, in Wrightstown to Elizabeth (Meachem) and Louis H. Schneider, joined him in eternal life two days later on Dec. 31, 2017.
They were high school sweethearts and were married on April 18, 1945. They lived in Sheboygan for the past 61 years and were members of St. Dominic Parish.
Clayton was a man of great integrity, passion and honor. He honorably served our country during World War II by welding army tanks at Heil Company. He was deeply respected by co-workers and managers, for his knowledge, dedication and high moral standards. He retired from his long career as a supervisor of safety with the Wisconsin Department of Industry Labor and Human Relations at age 65. He was a man with many skills who never had a need for an electrician, plumber, auto mechanic or carpenter.
Mary found joy being a member of St. Dominic’s Mission Circle for many years. Her talent for sewing exquisite quilts became gifts of warmth for the less fortunate in the community. Mary was the epitome of a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother with a wonderful dedication to family. She was a gentle woman, not known to anger easily and who seldom spoke an ill word of another person.
They were tremendous supporters of their first-born son, Richard, Whittier, California, in everything he accomplished. Although their hearts were heavy with pain and fear, they gave their permission for Richard to join the Marine Corps as a young adult to fight in Vietnam. Clayton taught his second child, Elizabeth Heinzen Boryla (Jerry Berlin), Portland, Oregon, the importance of self-respect and showed her, by example, the qualities of being a great father and husband. Mary taught her the art of sewing and the skills of being a great homemaker. They were the cheerleaders for their last-born son, Anthony (Laurie), Baraboo, and proudly watched him grow up to become a skilled craftsman, father and grandfather.
Clayton and Mary took great pride in the accomplishments of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They are listed in order of birth: grandson Peter Heinzen (Suzanne), Portland, Oregon, and their children Alayna and Max; granddaughter Emily Bries Valdez (Andrew), Whittier, California, and their daughter Mabel; grandson Richard Bries (Trisha), Baraboo, and their children, Annabele, Lola and Molly and Evelyn; and granddaughter Andrea Bries Schroeder (Brian), Baraboo, and their daughters, Adelaide and Eloise.
In their retirement years, Clay and Mary traveled throughout the United States. They enjoyed golfing, playing cards and camping with good friends and family. At least twice a month, they went to Baraboo because Mary said, “I miss the kids and grandchildren.” For over 30 years, they took their annual trip to California to celebrate Clayton’s and granddaughter Emily’s mutual birthday.
They are survived by Clayton’s by two stepsisters, Pauline (Ronald) Weber, Appleton, and Sr. Audrey Williamsen, Racine; and Mary’s sisters, Carol Schneider Hanson, Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Norma “Flip” Schneider Wondra, Fond du Lac; as well as many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Clayton and Mary were preceded in death by their parents; several siblings; daughter-in-law Nancy (Richard) Bries; son-in-law Ronald (Beth) Boryla; great-grandson Joseph Raymond Bries (son of Trisha and Richie Bries); as well as many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Clayton and Mary’s long life together was rich and fulfilling. They danced to their favorite Frank Sinatra music and big bands. They supported each other through moments of joy and sadness. Their tremendous love and commitment to each other provided the will to live despite recent illnesses and disabilities. We who knew and loved them will forever carry their memories within our hearts through their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A Mass will be held for Clayton and Mary at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Baraboo. Lunch at the church will follow.
A memorial fund has been established in their name.
The Olson Funeral Home & Cremation Service has been entrusted with Clayton and Mary’s arrangements.