Obituary | Clare Bruggeman of Thief River Falls, Minnesota

Clare Bruggeman, 81, of Thief River Falls, MN, passed away on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at Thief River Care Center in Thief River Falls Falls, MN with her loving family by her side.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 1:30 PM on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thief River Falls, MN with Father Rick Lambert presiding. Burial will follow at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Brooks, MN. Visitation will be held from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM with a 7:00 PM prayer service on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN and one hour prior to the service on Thursday at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church.

Clare Marcella Reopelle was born January 31, 1942 in Terrebonne Township, Red Lake County, MN the daughter of Ildage and Alma (Derosier) Reopelle. She was baptized at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Terrebonne, MN. Clare grew up on a farm near Terrebonne, MN and attended Badger Creek Country School with her older brother Vern through the eighth grade. She went on to Lafayette High School in Red Lake Falls, MN. During high school she took on a job as a nanny working for the Xavier Payment family.

In her early 20’s she met Richard Bruggeman and the couple were married at the same church she had been baptized in, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Terrebonne, on November 9, 1963. Clare and Richard would make a home and start a family in rural Brooks, MN where Richard and his brother Larry were in a mink business together. During this time they would have five children, Therese, Timothy, Francis, Matthew and Mark. In the early 1970’s, Richard would take a job with the MN Department of Transportation and the family would move to Big Lake, MN. At this time they had one more child, Anthony.

Only one year was spent in Big Lake before the family would move again. They made their home in Park Rapids again for Richard’s work. Clare continued to raise her family with extreme patience, love and support. She always made due and worked extremely hard  to keep her family in clean clothes, fed and happy. All of her days were filled with necessary activities to maintain a family.

In 1983, the family moved again to Thief River Falls, MN. At this point the older kids had grown and began to move out of the house allowing her and Richard time to travel a bit.

Once all the kids were grown and out of the house, Clare took up employment at Oakland Park Nursing Home in 1993 where she worked in the kitchen for the next thirteen years. She made many close friends while working there.

On July 18, 2002, Richard passed away leaving Clare alone in the home they had made with each other. This would not keep her from living life to the fullest with friends and family she had to support her during this time of sorrow. She went on to take several vacations and trips with family and friends. Perhaps the highlight of her trips was the overseas trip to Europe to tour religious monuments in Portugal, Spain and France.

Clare was a very religious woman, volunteered at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church until she became sick and could no longer do so. Clare was a kind and gentle soul and will be greatly missed. She moved to Thief River Care Center in December 2021 where she spent the remainder of her life.

Survivors include her loving children, Therese (Scott) Peterson of Cromwell, MN, Francis (Debra) Bruggeman, Matthew Bruggeman, Mark (Lana) Bruggeman, Anthony (Brenda) Bruggeman all of Thief River Falls, MN; grandchildren, Diana (Jon) Blumhorst, Megan Peterson, Nicole (Aaron) Zila, Douglas (fiancé Lexi Carlson) Peterson, Courtney (Kim) Wavra, Evan (Afton) Bruggeman, Lindsey Bruggeman, Raynee & Maddy Bruggeman, Aaron, Colin & Joseph Bruggeman; great-grandchildren, Izaac, Hudson, Miles, Bridger, Julian, Penelope, Oaklyn, Finley, Brooks, Kirby, Twila, Remi; brother, Andrew Reopelle; and many other relatives and friends.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Richard; son, Timothy; parents; siblings, Rene Reopelle, Marcel Reopelle, Theresa Tischart, Robert Reopelle, and Vern Reopelle.



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