Bernadine J. Bretl

Bernadine J. Bretl, 90, of Port Washington, entered eternal life on Nov. 26, 2022.

Bernadine was born on Jan. 11, 1932, in Plymouth, Wis.

She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1954 and became a home economics agent for the University of Wisconsin Extension in Milwaukee County.

Long before Food Network’s “Chopped,” “The Galloping Gourmet” or even “The French Chef,” Bernadine performed short cooking demonstrations on live television as part of her Extension mission.  She had a passion for cooking that she shared at frequent family gatherings. Some of her happiest moments were spent judging food entries at county fairs throughout southeastern Wisconsin, a labor of love that she performed for more than 50 years.

In 1957, she married the love of her life, Robert Bretl. The couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June of this year.

Following her marriage, Bernadine took a break in her career to raise the couple’s two children before returning to the workforce as a paraprofessional in the Port Washington-Saukville School District, where she worked with children who had special needs until her retirement.

Bernadine adored her six grandchildren, rarely missing one of their many school concerts or sporting events. Attending UW-Madison’s Grandparents University with her husband and grandchildren was the highlight of her summer for many years. Bernadine and Robert were members of the program’s inaugural class in 2000 and attended sessions with their grandkids for the next 10 years.

Until prevented by health issues, Bernadine was an active member of St. John XXIII Catholic Church, serving as a religious education instructor, Liturgy Committee member, lector, Eucharistic minister and member of the Christian Mothers and Altar Society.

Bernadine volunteered at the Wisconsin Humane Society in Ozaukee County, caring for and fostering puppies and kittens.

She was a founding member of the Friends of the Niederkorn Library and spent many hours in retirement with her husband operating the Friends bookstore.

She is survived by her husband Robert, daughter Catherine (Kevin) Gardner and son David (Jacquelyn), as well as her six grandchildren, Rebecca, Andrea, Eric, Daniel, Robert and Amelia.

She was preceded in death by her parents John and Verona Brentrup and sister Marianne Saladini.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6,  at St. John XXIII Parish, St. Mary’s Church, 452 Johnson St., Port Washington. Father Patrick Wendt will preside. Visitation will be held Tuesday at the church from 11 a.m. until Mass begins at 1 p.m.

Internment will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Port Washington, immediately following the Mass.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Friends of the Niederkorn Library or Wisconsin Humane Society Ozaukee Campus.

Eernisse Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences may be left at



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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