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August 11, 2022

Ken Brunner

On August 1, 2022, Ken Brunner completed his last marathon. He did it with such speed, he left us all dazed. He was born on June 29, 1955, to Janice Stoppleworth and Francis Brunner. He grew up in Black Earth, Wisconsin.

Running was always a big part of his life. He was also an avid woodworker. Ken got his teaching degree and Masters in Educational Administration from UW-Madison. He spent his early career as a teacher and principal at St. Mary's in Tomah; St. Aloysius in Sauk City; and St. Francis in Cross Plains. He missed being in the classroom, so in 2000, Ken took a teaching job as a 5th grade teacher in the New Glarus School District. Through his tenure there he had many roles and duties, but he ended his career as a 6th grade math teacher, track coach and assistant cross country coach.

His teaching career was cut short by early onset dementia, in the form of Primary Progressive Aphasia. The disease stole his ability to read, write, speak, and understand language. As his disease progressed, he focused on woodturning, crafting around 1,000 bowls to benefit causes important to him. Through it all, to the end, he still had his sense of humor and his smile.

Ken is survived by his wife of 41 years, Cindy (Ripp); children, Benjamin (Kristin), Elizabeth Clauss (Joshua), Madeline Cardel (Patrick); grandchildren, Charlotte and Mabel Clauss; brothers, Steve, Brad, Bob, Kerry, Ray, and Doug; sisters, Linda, Vicki, Kathy, Geri, Mardelle, Jaci, Janni, and Shelley; and many in-laws, nieces, and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father; mother; and brother, Stan.

A memorial mass was held at 11:00 a.m., on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 338 S. Harrison Street, Belleville, WI, with the Rev. Mark Miller officiating. A gathering of relatives and friends was held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Monday, August 8, 2022, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Belleville.

The Becker-Beal Funeral Home of Belleville is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorials to be sent to the organizations that were important to Ken: Badger Prairie Needs Network Food Pantry or The Association for Frontotemporal Dementia.

An online memorial with guestbook is available at


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