Bjarne Breilid

Bjarne Breilid, aged 97 passed away on Sunday, February 26. Bjarne was a master woodworker, wordsmith, lutefisk connoisseur, political activist, teacher, and dear friend, whose wry wit and intellectual curiosity will be missed. He was “pretty good for a man his age” until the very end. Bjarne was born in Leikanger, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway on December2,1919 a young man he farmed with his father and brothers and immigrated to the United States in 1948, to meet his then pen-pal and soon to be life-partner Eunice Dybevik. For the next seventy years, Bjarne worked as a craftsman, teacher, and translator. He made wooden molds for an industrial pattern shop, and was a master carpenter at Old World Wisconsin, and Madison Mutual Housing. He made small wooden toys and additions to houses. As a master craftsman, he was in high demand in Madison and beyond, creating intricate cabinetwork, repairing antiques, and restoring homes. Equipped with only a 3rd grade education, he eventually went to college, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He was interested in linguistics and after college returned to Norway for a year to teach Spanish. Through the Norwegian American Genealogical Center, he became a translator working in Old Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and German. He and Eunice worked for peace and justice in organizations and in daily life. When he met a young man who was having trouble getting housing due to segregation, Bjarne and Eunice became active in fighting for fair housing practices in Madison. He meant it when he said, “You learn something new every day.” His curiosity led him to take up computers, start a blog in his late eighties. He worked hard to maintain friendships throughout the world, using email to correspond with friends and relatives in the US and in Norway. At the age of 92, he took a final trip to his homeland, traveling alone and returning with more stories and friends. He was predeceased by his parents, a brother, his wife Eunice, sister and brother in laws, Wilma and Charles Wade, Ruth and Juan Baretto and Liz Dybevik. He is survived by his son Erik, his brother in law Stan Dybevik, nephew Ricardo Barreto (Will Chapman), Daniel Barreto (Rossana Fernandez), Tim Dybevik (Katie Crawley), Julie Dybevik and Maria Dybevik (Dave Skripka) along with their children. The family wishes to thank staff at Oakwood Village for their care of Bjarne, and George Skupniewicz, his neighbor and friend. A Memorial Meeting for Bjarne Breilid will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 at the Friends House, 1704 Roberts Court, Madison. Please come prepared to share a story about Bjarne at the Meeting or on line. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom , or Planned Parenthood in Bjarne’s name.

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