James Albert Bretz passed away on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at home surrounded by the love of his family under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley. Jim was born on September 27, 1956 to Albert and Hazel (Brunko) Bretz in Wadena, MN the youngest of three children. He attended school in Perham, MN and graduated from Perham High School in 1974.
After graduation he attended Wadena Technical school for Electronics. After school he moved to Glencoe, MN and worked at Telek Communications. In 1980 he had the opportunity to go into the family business and moved back to Perham to own and operate Bretz Hardware. He was a hardware man until his retirement in 2018. On July 30, 2001 he married Sherry (Dolence) Swanson and they made their home in Perham, in the home that he built. They were the best partners in life and love and enjoyed being together with this last year being such a blessing as they spent so much quality time together.
Jim was a thinker and a “tinkerer”. He said the best part of working in the hardware store was being able to troubleshoot and solve his customers problems. During nights and weekends, he would tinker in his shop at home making robots, model rockets, RC cars and computers. He designed and built go-carts, made a ½ pipe skating ramp and enjoyed working with copper, making things such as roses, canteens, and lanterns. In addition, he made homemade wine, was an excellent cook and used his smoker to try new recipes. During his retirement he built an electric guitar. He was a techy at heart and enjoyed learning and using electronic gadgets. He shared his knowledge of music, how to fix things and the newest tech toys with his children.
Jim is survived by his wife Sherry of Perham; two daughters Natasha (Mark) Nodsle and Kayla Bretz, both of Detroit Lakes MN; one son Nicholas (Florence) Bretz of Park Rapids, MN; two stepdaughters Tina (Geoff) Carlson of Maple Grove, MN and Trisha (Brian) Mernitz of Detroit Lakes; granddaughter Kyla Schatz; grandson Dominick Bretz; two sisters Colleen Gramentz of Bonita Springs, FL and Bette (Mike) Pitzel of Vergas, MN; along with three nieces and one nephew. Preceding Jim in death were his parents and brother-in-law Al Gramentz.
Jim will be deeply missed by his family and friends. There will be a walk-through visitation from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 6, 2020 at Schoeneberger Funeral & Cremation Service in Perham. A private family prayer service will follow. For the health and safety of everyone social distancing and mask wearing are required to pay respects.
Schoeneberger Funeral & Cremation Service, Perham, MN (218) 346-5175 www.schoenebergerfh.com
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