OBIT: Charlie Breckheimer

Charlie Breckheimer, 78, Devils Lake, ND, passed away peacefully at home Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, with his family and prayers at his side. Against Charlie’s wishes and better judgment, the family will not “take him out to the rock pile and let the fox sort it out.” Instead, visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, with 7 p.m. Scriptures and a Rosary service led by the Knights of Columbus, in Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake. Visitation will continue an hour before the 10 a.m. funeral Mass Friday in St. Joseph’s Church. A luncheon at the Knights of Columbus Hall will follow burial at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Charles Clifford Breckheimer was born May 24, 1942, in McVille, ND, the twin son and youngest child of Clifford and Geneva (Twete) Breckheimer. He grew up on the home place south of Tolna, ND, where his family farmed and raised sheep and cattle. He graduated from Tolna High School in 1960 and attended North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, before a motorcycling injury and crutches crashed his plans for a four-year degree. He first met the love of his life, Ann Hager, at a rival high school basketball game at St. Mary’s Academy in Devils Lake. Ann was at the ticket booth when Charlie and two college friends (under the guise of Peter, Paul and Matthew) wanted to get in at the “quarter” student price. There’s a long story in between, but the gist of it is Charlie got up the nerve almost a year later to ask Ann to go for a Coke at the Barrel Drive-In. They married April 4, 1964, in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Devils Lake. They raised two children there, where he also worked more than 44 years at Devils Lake Equipment Co. - first as a John Deere parts man, later as shop foreman and, finally, as a salesman. He also was a volunteer firefighter and moonlighted at the Devils Lake post office in his younger years. He was a Third Degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus, a lifelong Minnesota Twins fan and a longtime member of the fraternal Elks Lodge and Eagles Club. Kind to his core and a gifted storyteller, Charlie had a Smithsonian-level repository of jokes. He was the life of every party, and friends and family alike said he could keep them laughing for months straight without repeating a single punchline. He loved to read, play poker and pinochle and compete in pool tournaments. He and his family spent much of their lives camping, boating and having fun in the sun with The Gang at Sweetwater Lake and Devils Lake. Family and friends were his biggest joy in life. He was blessed with seven grandchildren for whom he enjoyed planning treasure hunts and winter trips to Grandview Lodge on Minnesota’s Gull Lake. Charlie was preceded in death by; his parents; and in-laws, Angie and John Hager; and brothers, William “Billy,” Lee and Monte. He is survived by; his wife; children, Jeffery (Kate) Breckheimer, Chanhassen, Minn., and Janelle (James) Vonasek, East Grand Forks, Minn.; sisters, Barbara Olson, Valley City, ND, Nola Bjelk, Placerville, Calif., twin, Charlene (Howard) Dapper, Raleigh, NC; grandchildren, Hannah, Chloe and Elise Vonasek, and James Charles “Jack,” Marguerite, Lucy and Ruby Ann Breckheimer; and countless nieces, nephews, loving relatives and friends. The family shares that they’re eternally grateful to the Rev. Bernard “Bernie” Pfau and for the loving care provided by Red River Valley Hospice. Though masks will be provided and pews will be blocked for social distancing, the family expresses its sincere understanding for those who’d rather send their prayers from afar. Either way, Charlie knows you’re with him. Services also will be live-streamed at

Posted online on October 20, 2020