Bernard Bresnahan

Bernard F. Bresnahan, 86, of Waukon died Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, WI. Funeral services were held Saturday, October 17 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Waukon with Rev. Msgr. Cletus Hawes, Fr. Donald Hawes, Rev. Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg and Deacon Mike Ward officiating. Burial was at St. Mary's Hanover Cemetery, rural Waukon.
Bernard Francis Bresnahan was born January 2, 1929 on the family farm in the Silver Creek area of rural Waukon. His parents were Frank and Margaret (O’Brien) Bresnahan. Bernard attended the rural Makee School for elementary and St. Patrick High School in Waukon; although he had to quit classes to help out on the farm during the Depression.
June 7, 1949, he married Idella Julia Gallagher at St. Mary’s Hanover Catholic Church in rural Waukon. As a young man he spent a very short time in Cedar Rapids with his brother-in-law, Tom, and then returned to Waukon. He and Idella moved to Humboldt, where he worked for a farmer for a short time before returning home again. Once back in Waukon, he went to work for R.J. Cooney Quarry and the Eclipse Lumber Company. He spent time in Alma and Grand Mound organizing the Eclipse yards there and eventually managed the lumber yard in Waukon. At the same time, he operated the Citgo Service Station on Spring Avenue in Waukon. In 1966 he started Bernard Bresnahan Construction, a business he continued to run until very recently.
Bernard was a loyal member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Waukon and participated in many community activities. He enjoyed helping his friends and teaching others the skills he had learned. It was common for him to include others, especially kids, in his family events as well as fishing and outdoor activities. Bernard and Idella enjoyed the local countryside and often took drives through the hills, stopping to visit with friends along the way. Time with his family, baking and outdoor activities like fishing and hunting were favorite pastimes of his.
Bernard was also an accomplished woodworker, making items like benches, cupboards, bookcases, chests and toys that became treasures for the family members he gave them to. The last several years he has devoted much of his time to making Idella’s life both full and comfortable.
Survivors include his wife, Idella, of Waukon; two daughters, Kathy (Jack) Furtney of Nelson, WI and Karen (Terry) Mulholland of Waukon; five grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren: Jessica (Ryan) Wiltgen and children Alyssa, Austin and Michael; Eric Furtney; Malinda (Keith) Hanson and children Jade Timmerman, Trystan Riley, and Jessica and Shalee Hanson; Heather Rissman and children Bailey, Payton and Cole; and David (Trish) Mulholland and children Brayden, Sierra and Rylan; as well as many nieces, nephews and other relatives, and the entire Gallagher family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Bernard Francis “Biff” Bresnahan, Jr.; a grandson, Jason Rae Bresnahan; two sisters, Maxine (Jack) Baxter and Geraldine (Terence) Peyton; and a brother, Harold (Rose) Bresnahan.
Pallbearers were Bernard’s grand and great-grandchildren, and Mike and Brady Waldron. Online condolences may be left at


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