Serving Western Wisconsin

Thorice Brekke 07/14/2019

Thorice Isabelle (Sveen) Brekke was born on a farm in Bottineau County, North Dakota to Thorald J. and Inga (Nordsletten) Sveen on November 4, 1919.  She died in peace at the age of 99 on July 14, 2019 at the Deerfield Gables in New Richmond, Wisconsin.
She grew up in a strong family network that was important to her throughout her life.  Thorice often told stories about living through the depression with her parents and three siblings.  She always stressed that their parents and the children had fun with each other and various nearby relatives making up games, playing outside on relatives’ farms, and creating things out of nothing. A good sense of humor and laughter was always abundant, and she often wrote clever stories and letters. She started painting as a young woman and it became her outlet for the rest of her life; later making greeting cards.  She played bridge like a master and several times a year she and her siblings would gather to play non-stop bridge and Scrabble in a hotel somewhere in the Midwest or at each other’s homes, including this past January.   Music, especially choral, was also an important part of her life, singing alto in madrigal choirs in school and college and later in church choirs.
Thorice attended the University of North Dakota where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.   During the war and after the early death of her mother, she left school and went to work for the Veterans Administration in Washington, DC.
It was during the war that she married the love of her life, Sigurd K. Brekke, on June 6, 1943 in Fargo, N.D.  They were introduced to each other at a family gathering when she was 13 and he was 17.  A few years later, they rekindled their romance.  Shortly after their marriage, Sig was sent to England for two years in the Air Force. After he returned from the war, three children were born.  As loving and caring parents, Thorice and Sig were positive influences in valuing “doing the right thing,” their Norwegian heritage, appreciating art, nature, music, reading, and education.  When the children would complain about nothing to do, Thorice would cheerfully suggest that she teach us shorthand, how to play bridge, or how to catalog the books on the bookshelves, or teaching us how to paint.  That got the kids back outside quickly.  She painted almost every day in her spot somewhere in the home, most often in a basement.  Her family was so proud of her artistic talents.  When she travelled, she often had a piece of tapestry in her lap while making up the pattern as she progressed with the project.  She was an avid reader and began doing The New York Times Crossword puzzles at an early age, finishing each day lying in bed with a new puzzle and solving it before lights out.  Although wheelchair bound and alone for the last several years, she rarely complained and lived her life with resilience, dignity, and good humor.
She is preceded in death by her parents, husband Sig (in 2001), son-in-law Thomas D. Bell, dear sister and best friend, Carol Bauer, daughter-in-law Beverly Brekke.
She is survived by her children Gretchen (Brekke) Bell and son-in-law Bill Hannaford of New Richmond, WI, Nord Brekke of Fairplay, CO, and Rolf and daughter-in-law Dianne Brekke of Breckenridge, CO.  Also mourning her loss are numerous nieces and nephews, brother-in-law Arvid Brekke of Denver, CO, brothers Dr. Gerald Sveen (Phyllis) of Bemidji, MN, and John Sveen of Bozeman, MT who were her best friends and card playing companions.
She will also be missed by her three grandchildren and families: Greta (Bell) and Matt Jorgensen, Per Trelstad, and Joe and Missy Bell and great-grandchildren: Brekke and Maren Jorgensen and Jane and Tom Bell.
Thorice’s family is most grateful for the excellent care, kindnesses, and comfort given her by the staff at the Deerfield Commons, Deerfield Gables of New Richmond and St. Croix Hospice.
A private ceremony is planned for August in New Richmond, with her ashes to be interred at the New Richmond Cemetery next to her husband. Memorials may be sent to the Deerfield or St. Croix Hospice. Cremation Services provided by Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.


  • Andrea Thomassen Posted July 15, 2019 1:51 pm

    I have such sweet memories of Thorice from years ago. Sympathy and hugs!

  • Bill Klopp Posted July 16, 2019 1:44 pm

    I enjoyed visiting with Thorice when I delivered for FF Pharmacy and seeing her at the DF when I was there volunteering

  • Erin Posted July 17, 2019 6:06 pm

    I got to eat lunch with Thorice she often sat at the same table as us. Each Wednesday we would talk about the ole alma motter. NRHS.

  • Erin Posted July 17, 2019 6:31 pm

    we would often compare schools.

  • Owen Brenden Posted August 7, 2019 4:28 pm

    Thorice was my cousin. I will always remember her as a very happy person, who always brought a smile to welcome you. She was a great artist, and I always looked forward to her home made cards. Each card was a piece of art with each message very positive and “witty”. My most recent cards were received in June of this year. I have a nice collection as a remembrance of her.

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