Emil F. Brightsman

May 6, 1930 - Oct. 22, 2019

Emil F. Brightsman, 89, passed peacefully from this life to his heavenly home on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, in the Palliative Care Unit of the Marshfield Medical Center.

Emil was born on May 6, 1930 in Menomonie to Henry and Leona (Wolfgram) Brightsman. He was raised by his mother, along with his step-father, Harold ‘Pinky’ Stratton and received a Christian elementary education. After graduating from Menomonie High School, he served a four-year tour in the Air Force, stationed at Sealand AFB in Liverpool, England. Upon his return, he tended bar at the Rendezvous in his hometown where, eventually, he was smitten with a college girl whom he quickly claimed as his own. He was united in marriage to Barbara Cliver on Sept. 1, 1962 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hewitt.

After Barbara’s college graduation, they moved to the Marshfield area where they made their home for the next 30 years. He worked at various factories in the area and retired after 13 years as a custodian at the Marshfield Senior High School in 1995. Upon Barb’s retirement the next year, they sold their home on East 29th Street and moved to Solberg Lake in Phillips, where they had purchased a ‘weekend-get-away’ home in 1979.

Together, he and Barb enjoyed camping, snowmobiling, motorcycling and the Packers. Many cherished, lifelong friends were made along the way with each new adventure. He enjoyed feeding the deer and birds; woodworking, and making birdhouses and various signs, including the aptly named ‘Brightsman’s Inn Between’ sign for their home in Phillips. After retirement, they enjoyed traveling by bus tours throughout the United States. Emil and Barb celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with an Alaskan tour. A stray cat, whom they named ‘Kitty’, found his way into their home and hearts and provided Emil with many years of enjoyment.

Emil was a faithful servant to his Lord while a member at Trinity Lutheran Church in Marshfield and also at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Phillips. He lived his faith by serving on various committees and boards in both churches, and, along with Barb, headed up the Trinity Youth Group in Marshfield during the mid-1970s. Weekly, for 20 years, Emil dutifully devoted countless hours maintaining and caring for the church property at Our Savior.

He is survived by his wife and best friend of 57 years, Barb; his sisters: Joanne Bess and Jerene (Bill) Suckow of Menomonie; sister-in-law, Cilla Stratton of Jonesborough, Tennessee; Barb’s siblings: John (Denise) Cliver of Unity, Kathy (Jim) Engelson of Mosinee, Jim (Norma Jean) Cliver of Plover, Ed (Carlene) Cliver of Glasgow, Scotland, Chuck (Ann) Cliver of Loyal, and Lori (Dan) Weiler of Arpin. He is further survived by numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces-and-nephews who loved him so dearly and who he’d shower with his famous ‘Uncle Emil’ kisses. Lovingly referred to as a ‘baby hog’, those little ones captured his attention, as he did theirs.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Leona and Harold ‘Pinky’ Stratton; brother, John Stratton; brother-in-law, Bob Bess; father-and-mother-in-law, Charles and Norma Cliver; sister-in-law, Jenny Cliver and nephew, Lorin Cliver.

Memorial donations may be made to Our Savior Ev. Lutheran Church Building Fund, W6920 Paradise Ln, Phillips, WI 54555.

Funeral services will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Marshfield at noon on Monday, Oct. 28, with Pastor Jason Enderle officiating. Visitation will take place from 9 a.m. until time of service. A memorial service will be held at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Phillips, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2. Rembs Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Serving as pallbearers are Emil’s nephews: Kevin Cliver, Mitch Cliver, Dennis Bertolotti, Corey Kane, Ryan Cliver, Jamie Cliver, Mike Zenner, Joshua Weiler, Jordan Weiler and Quin Suckow. Honorary pallbearers are: Robert Ryals, Sean Cliver, John Meier, Jeff Cliver, Eric Vanasse and Raul Garza.

Barb wishes to extend a special thanks to the staff at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Phillips, and also the Marshfield Medical Center Palliative Care Unit where Emil received tender loving care during his last days. And, thank you, too, Auntie Barb, for taking such good care of him. You two made a good team. Together, you “figured out what was good in life.” Your loving relationship serves as a great example for us all.

He was a man of few words, who loved deeply, was deeply loved by so many and whose impact on those he met along his life’s journey, he may never have realized. Emil was one of a kind with the biggest heart. He would cry simply at saying goodbye to any one of us, but now we’re the ones crying. “‘Uncle Emil’, you’re irreplaceable.”

He wanted his friends and family to know: “I love them. I had a super life, made many friends and have wonderful relatives. Now, it’s time to celebrate as I leave for a new life. God bless.”

Condolences may be sent online to www.rembsfh.com

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