Charlene “Gramma” Brovold, longtime community member of Alma, Wis., passed from this life to the next on April 20, 2020, at Saint Elizabeth’s Healthcare Center in Wabasha.
Charlene, the daughter of Ben and Mamie (Schuman) Sturdevant, was born in Baraboo, Wis., on January 13, 1927. After graduating from Galesville High School in 1944, she worked as a long-distance telephone operator and then supervisor for Bell Telephone Company at numerous locations in Wisconsin.
She married the love of her life, Archie J. Brovold Jr., at North Beaver Creek Lutheran Church on June 1, 1948. They spent the next 38 wonderful years together raising their three boys, Bruce, Mark, and Steve. After spending their first year of marriage in River Falls, Wis., they moved to Alma, Wis., in 1949 and made it their home and community until Archie’s passing in 1986.
She became a grandmother on (Heidi’s B-Day) with the birth of her first granddaughter but through her extended family and many countless hours of volunteerism she became Grandma Charlene to many more “grandchildren” than just her own.
Charlene could always be heard with a song in her heart and a hum on her lips, whether it be her time as a stay-at-home mom, grandmother, great-grandmother or volunteer in the Alma community. Her first love was caring for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, followed closely by her joy and fondness for being active and giving back.
Charlene dedicated her life to the Alma community after Archie’s passing in 1986 by volunteering at the Alma Elementary School. On any day of the week she could be seen reading with first graders, judging a conservation speeches and spelling bee contests, to handing out that wonderful fluoride, and helping with the school newsletter and early childhood screening. Due to her tireless commitment to helping others she was honored as the Volunteer of the Year for CESA 11 in 1993 and was honored with a presentation and reception at Circus World Museum. Charlene’s desire to give back did not stop when she moved to Saint Elizabeth’s Assisted Living in 2017, as she continued to share her lifelong love of reading with the youngsters at Wabasha-Kellogg Elementary.
Charlene was a devoted member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Alma where she was involved with the Shalom Circle and prayer chain. Charlene was also a proud member of the Alma American Legion Post 54 Auxiliary and enjoyed marching in every parade she could in Alma and the surrounding areas. She was the “Sunshine Lady” and helped at the many fundraising dinners and receptions at the Legion Post.
In the time that she was not volunteering or attending any number of sporting events, her grandchildren did not even have to be playing, she and her “Golden Girl” friends enjoyed traveling near and far on adventures. The majority of the time they would board their mystery bus tours and head out for unknown adventures near and far from home.
Charlene had a special place in her heart for her four-legged furry friends, especially cats. At Christmas every year her family could count on two things, Red-Velvet Cake and Grandma getting a new “cat” calendar that would hang right by her front door for the next year. It would not take her long to fill that calendar with the many birthdays, special days, or appointments in her life. If you could not find Mom at home, you just had to check the calendar.
Charlene’s family extends sincere thanks to Saint Elizabeth’s for exemplary care provided these past three years.
Charlene is survived by one son, Bruce (Patricia Joan) of Arcadia; daughters-in-law, Patricia Lynn Brovold of Alma and Carolyn Christian of Eau Claire; grandchildren, Heidi (Rob) Stewart of Alma, Lisa Brovold (special friend Matt) of Appleton, Timothy (Jessie) Brovold of Mukwonago, Benjamin of Mukwonago and Craig (Truc Phan) of Quang Ngai, Vietnam; great-grandchildren, Madox Mya and Macy Stewart, Bella and Fynn Brovold, Maddilyn and Jack Brovold, and Elizabeth Lam Thanh Brovold; brother, Eugene (Lou) Sturdevant of Madison; niece, Karen (Joe) Sturdevant of Watertown; and nephew, Mark (Angie) Sturdevant of Palo Alto, Calif. She was preceded in death by husband, Archie; and sons, Steven and Mark.
Memorials are suggested to Alma Elementary Reading Program or St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Funeral service at St. John’s in Alma and celebration of life will be scheduled when conditions allow. Talbot Funeral Home in Alma is assisting in arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.talbotfuneralhomes.com.