HURLEY, Wis. - Iris Brunell, 81, of Hurley, passed away peacefully with her family by her side, Thursday, April 29, 2021.
Iris was born March 6, 1940, in Ironwood, Michigan, a daughter of Peter and Marion Thom.
On Nov. 9, 1957, she married William "Bill" Brunell. Together they raised their family in Hurley. Iris was a devoted wife and mother. She enjoyed cooking and baking for her family. Summer was her favorite season, and she loved spending as much time as possible out in the backyard soaking up the sun. In 1976, she went back to school and completed her GED certificate. She was very proud of graduating the same year as her son, Bill.
After the passing of her husband in 1987, Iris began the next chapter of her life and discovered a new passion. She was employed as a baker's assistant in the bakery at Copps Food Center where she worked until her retirement due to health concerns in 2000.
She "borrowed" a few craft secrets from her time at Copps to perfect her own cookie recipes, and took great pleasure in baking for her friends and family. Thousands of dozens of Iris' cookies were eaten at Social Security Day at son, Bill's, bank, customer appreciation day at the Hurley Post Office, Theater North, Festival Ironwood, Community Christian Church, cookie of the month gifts, and anywhere else they were requested.
The absolute joy in Iris' life was her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-granddaughter. She made every effort to attend as many of their activities as her health would allow. From Little League games, to the 1995 Hurley Midget football team that eventually brought her to Camp Randall, to being the flower girl in her granddaughter's wedding in 2018, if she could be there, cheering them on in victory, or consoling their grief, she was there. She was not Iris or Mrs. Brunell to her kids and grandkids friends. She was Ma and Gram to them all and loved them as if they were her own.
Iris was an avid Green Bay Packer and Wisconsin Badger fan. Everyone close to her knew better than to interrupt the game on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. She was a member of Hurley Community Christian Church and loved her church family.
Iris is survived by a brother, Clyde (Karen); sons, Ray (Nancy) and Bill; daughters, Linda (Bud Raymond) Brunell and Roberta Walli; grandchildren, Jesse (Randi) Jackson, Deb (Chris) Shepro, Ray (Brandi Craig) Brunell and Kevin Brunell; great-grandchildren, Cole, Ethan and Aria Brunell, Jalen Bennett and Madi Brunell, Zach and Sam Shepro and Braylon Walli; great-great-granddaughter, Maislee Faith; and numerous nephews, nieces, friends and anyone who enjoyed one of her fabulous cookies.
She was preceded in death her parents, Peter and Marion; her -in-laws, Fred and Dorothy Brunell; her husband and love of her life, Bill; brothers, Earl and Ivan; sisters, Inez and Bernadette; daughter, Diane (Dee) and son-in-law, Bryan Jackson; son-in-law, Jeff Walli; grandsons, Rick Jackson and Jonathan Tauer; numerous brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews; her very dear friend, Mary Manchester; and her precious boys, Brett and Bubba.
The family would like to express their gratitude to Beacon Ambulance crews that transported mom to the hospital whenever she needed their help. You were always so kind and gentle with her. We would also like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff members at Aspirus Hospital and Clinics, especially Tina Marshall for her compassionate care. Your kindness will never be forgotten.
The celebration of Iris' life will be announced at a later date.
Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, Michigan, is assisting the family with their arrangements.