Winnebago County

Pvt. Charles R. Brue


The war department made public the names of 247 United States soldiers wounded in North Africa since early November, 1942.

It was also announced that Pvt. Charles R. Brue, son of Mrs. Josephine B. Brue, Lake Mills, Ia., was held as a prisoner of war by the Italians at an undisclosed camp.

Source: The Des Moines Register, Saturday, March 27, 1943

His Obituary:

Charles (Chuck) R. Brue
(October 30, 1915 - December 11, 2009)

Charles (Chuck) R. Brue, 94 of Lake Mills, IA, died Friday, December 11, 2009 at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa in Mason City, IA, in the presence of his son, David.

Charles, “Chuck” as he was known, was born October 30, 1915 to Charles and Josephine (Levad) Brue in La Moure County, North Dakota, the sixth of seven children. At the age of two, he moved to Lake Mills with his family. He lived in Lake Mills the rest of his life except for his war service years, a year each in Vinge and Sibley, IA, and two years in California.

He was confirmed at Salem Lutheran Church and graduated from Lake Mills High School in 1934. Chuck worked in the dairy business most of his adult life with the exception of his military service.

While serving in the Army during WWII, Chuck was captured in North Africa. First on the missing list, he was later reported as a POW in Italy. While there, he was surprised one day to have his brother Melvin, also a POW, walk into his barracks. With the Italians facing defeat, the enemy guards deserted and left the prison unguarded. Chuck, along with his group of seven prisoners, ran from the camp and hid out for nine months, fed and cared for by two Italian families. Eventually the Allies were close enough that the men could reach them and return home.

Upon his release, he returned to Lake Mills to marry Rhoda Swenson at Salem Lutheran Church on August 20, 1944.

Chuck enjoyed sports his whole life including fishing, hunting, quarterbacking on his high school football team, and bowling a 299 game in league play. But especially he enjoyed golfing at Rice Lake, although the season was never long enough.

Chuck is survived by his wife of sixty-five years, Rhoda; two children: Ellen (Larry) Rehlander of Elk River, MN and David (Kim) Brue of Forest City, IA; five grandchildren: Jonathon (Jodi) Rehlander, Fridley, MN; Daniel (Maria) Rehlander, Elk River, MN; Laura (Rob) Linhoff, Ham Lake, MN; Jennifer Brue and significant other Dan Austin of Iowa City, IA; and Kelsey Brue of Mason City, IA; one great-grandchild: Jackson Charles Rehlander and baby Andrew Charles Rehlander, expected in 2010. Also survived by sisters-in-law: Amy Swenson, Marlys Swenson, Mary Swenson, and Marie Luff; brothers-in-law: Oswald Swenson, Wallace Swenson, Arnold Ottjes and Don Luff, and many nieces and nephews and other family and friends.

Chuck was preceded in death by his parents; brothers: Elmer, Melvin, Glenn; sisters: Iva McDonald, Ora Johnson, and Clara Moe.

Funeral services will be 1:30 PM Tuesday, at Salem Lutheran Church in Lake Mills, IA with Pastor David E. Jordon officiating.

Visitation will be 6-8 PM Monday evening at Mittelstadt Funeral Home, 902 East Main Street, Lake Mills, IA 50450 and again one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will take place at Salem Memorial Cemetery in Lake Mills, IA, with military rites performed by Lake Mills Otto/Chose Post #235.