Eileen Marie Murphy Bruening, “Granny Goose,” died peacefully and surrounded by family at Barthell O.E.S. Home in Decorah April 1, 2019, at the age of 87. A Mass of Christian Burial was at 11 a.m. Friday, April 5, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, with Rev. Henry Huber and Rev. Donald Hertges officiating. Burial was in St. Benedict Catholic Cemetery in Decorah. Visitation was from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, with a scripture service at 7:30 p.m. Readers were Jocelyn Clarine, Gabrielle Cowie and Katherine Bruening. Gift bearers were Camille Barbier, Theresa Bamrick, Claudia Cowie and Rebecca Bruening. Organist was Mary Beth Bouska. Cantor was Cindy Schissel. Soloists were Ashley Bruening Gjorcevski and Valeria Kishkunas (“Amazing Grace,” prelude; “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” opening hymn; “Going Home,” offertory; “Ave Maria,” Communion; “How Great Thou Art”; and “On Eagles Wings,” recessional). Honorary pall bearers were great-grandchildren: Alayna, Bennett, Fiona and Aurora Eileen. Casket bearers were Guy Thomas Barbier, Tyler Bruening, Henri Barbier, Jacob Bruening, Michael Bruening, Nathaniel Cowie and August Cowie.

Eileen was born Sept. 15, 1931, in Dubuque, to James and Lucella (Harks) Murphy. She was born on the Murphy family farm and attended country school, English Mill School, Rural Route 2. She graduated from The Academy of the Visitation. Following graduation, she was a bookkeeper at Stamphers Department Store and The Dubuque Packing Company. She also was a telephone operator at AT&T. She met Duane at a Loras College dance and through the evening discovered they shared the same birthday. They were quickly smitten and were married Dec. 1, 1951. For the first four years of their marriage, Eileen and Duane lived in the Carolinas as Duane served as a U.S. Marine Corps officer. They and their now two children returned to Decorah to join the family business, Bruening Rock Products, Inc. Eileen, while raising her growing family, managed the office from their home where she was the secretary, bookkeeper and trouble-shooter.

As the business grew, so did the family; and while Eileen was expecting her fifth child, the business was moved to a downtown front street location. The business may have left the home, but Eileen remained an essential part of BRP, Inc. She always was an integral part of Duane’s life and business decisions. Eileen went on to have two more children and was dedicated to raising her eight children in a traditional and loving family home.

Eileen hoped to instill in her family the importance of education and a strong sense of community, responsibility, self-reliance, family, civic duty and commitment to the Catholic faith. Her family will remember her as a strong mentor who was kind and generous. Eileen made every holiday special. From baking her famous sugar cookies to filling the shoes on St. Nicholas Day, the yearly family Easter egg hunt and her beautiful Christmas tree and decorations, Eileen created a sense of family and tradition that will be carried on for generations to come.

Eileen loved music and it was a big part of her life. She was accomplished at the piano and had a beautiful singing voice. She was an active member of Saint Benedict Parish and Saint Bridget’s Church Circle. She volunteered at the Winneshiek County Hospital Unit and was active in many charity organizations throughout the years. She enjoyed playing bridge and euchre, loved golfing – and, one year, won the Club Championship at Oneota Golf and Country Club.

She was the second longest active Kiltie Mom serving from 1962-1984.
She kept abreast of all current events, especially politics, and spearheaded many animated conversations around the kitchen table with her family concerning the important issues of the day.

Eileen is survived by her husband of 67 years, Duane; children: Helen Barbier of Rougemont, Switzerland, Frederick (Tammy) of Grand Blanc, Mich., Gregory (Karen) of Decorah, Mary Rayburn (Philip Lee) of Hunt Valley, Md., Keith (Amy), and Elizabeth Bruening of Decorah; grandchildren: Jocelyn (Joey Clarine), Ashley, Guy Thomas, Tyler, Camille, Henri, Theresa (Jameson Bamrick), Jacob, Amanda, Gabrielle, Claudia, Michael, Nathaniel, Katherine, Rebecca and August; great-grandchildren: Alayna, Bennett, Fiona and Aurora Eileen; three sisters-in-law: Alvina Murphy, Betty Murphy and Loma Carlson; along with many nieces and nephews, and her special friends: Alvina Murphy, RaeJean Rathje, Paula Hove, Linda and Jim Lukes, Carol and Herbie Hageman and Darlene Frana.

She was preceded in death by her sons, Steven and Michael; her granddaughter, Natalie Bruening; sons-in-law, Robert Cowie and Guy Barbier; parents, James and Lucella (Harks) Murphy; her in-laws, Leo and Theresa (Baumler) Bruening; her brothers, Virgil and Louis Murphy; her sisters-in-law, Beverly (Ruen) White and Sonja (Berg) Bruening; and her brothers-in-law, Lowell (Buzz) Bruening, Fritz Carlson and Don White.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to WMC Home Health and Hospice, 901 Montgomery Street, Decorah, IA 52101 or The Decorah Nordic Dancers, c/o Kelly Brickley, P.O. Box 507, Decorah, Iowa 52101.

The family would like to thank all of the friends and family who have shown an outpouring of love and support throughout Eileen’s courageous battle. They also would like to thank Eileen’s special team of doctors, home health care, hospice teams, Winneshiek Medical Center and nursing staff, The Emergency Medical Team staff, and Barthell Eastern Star staff for their efforts, care, dedication and compassion.

Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family.

Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.