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Brence family holds reunion

submitted by Roger Thieme

Members of the Brence Family gathered in Ekalaka on June 9th and 10th, 2023. Jeri and Roger Thieme hosted the two day event at their residence and yard. Larry Brence brought a large tent that was put up in the backyard, providing much needed shade as well as shelter from any possible thunderstorm passing by. Various family members brought food and helped prepare it as well. Kathy Keneally, Charlie and Gail Brence, and Jeri and Roger Thieme went above and beyond with planning, procurement, and execution to make the two day event an enjoyable time for everyone. A lot of food got eaten, including a complete turkey dinner on Friday and two prime rib roasts (cooked by Roger Thieme and Angela Sedgwick) on Saturday. A strawberry rhubarb pie or two, angel food cake, birthday cake, cookies and bars helped to round out around the edges. Threat of rain provided an additional topic as everyone pondered the possibility of getting wet, luckily the rain came during the night and no one got wet.

Honored guest was Uncle Harry Brence, of Bozeman. Harry is the oldest living descendant of John and Mary Brence, homesteaders in the Mill Iron area, and a brother to the late Bill Brence. Cousin Mike Brence, also of Bozeman, accompanied Uncle Harry back and forth from Bozeman for the reunion and it was greatly appreciated by all. Cousins Raymond Brence Jr. of Jackson, WY, Mary Martin of Los Gatos, CA and Margaret Noguchi of Manhattan Beach, CA were also able to attend. Mike and Ray Jr. are sons of Raymond and Dorothy Brence and Mary and Margaret are daughters of Joseph and Jane Brence. Raymond and Joseph were sons of John and Mary and brothers to Bill. Visiting at the reunion were cousins Beth and Jack Jackson. Beth is a cousin on the Peabody side and they reside part time in Ekalaka. Also there both days for some visiting and graciously doing some photographs for the family was Sally Young, a long time neighbor and friend at Mill Iron.

Madlon Brence, matriarch of the Brence family, was in attendance and had her eight living children at the reunion. Dave Brence (Barb), Kathy Keneally, Billings, Jeri Thieme (Roger), Charlie Brence (Gail), Paul Brence (Nancy), Terri Sullivan, Yuba City, CA, Lori Turnbough (Randy), Broadus, and Larry Brence (Shannon), Miles City. Representing our late sister, Linda Massa, were Deana and Jeff Wolfe, with daughters Gwen and Josephine, from Hamilton, MT. Michael Massa, Deana's Dad and forever part of the family, also came from Hamilton and brought a friend, Fran Tucker, of Missoula. Melinda Brence, of Union Center, SD, Troy Brence and Bill Brence, Buffalo SD, daughter and sons of Dave were able to come and visit a spell. Michael, Nicole and Silas Thieme, Fort Collins, CO were able to spend the days with everyone, including Michael's folks Jeri and Roger.

Members of Charlie and Gail Brence's were a strong presence with daughter Sarah Brence and her son, Trey, attending from Fairview. Son John and wife Karlyn came from Powell, WY and were here for the reunion. Daughter Leah Brence, a new/old resident of Ekalaka, helped with everything and even had beds for weary travelers. Greg and Brittani Brence were kept busy as they attended with the three girls, Claire, Teal and Shaylee Rose. Shaylee Rose was the youngest person at the reunion, ten days old and the most popular person present. She slept and everyone got to hold her.

Seth and Angela Sedgwick with Wyatt and Erin were also able to spend time visiting and hanging with the family. Angela is Paul and Nancy Brence's daughter. Chance Sullivan of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia traveled the farthest to attend the reunion and is the son of Terri Sullivan. Jarrett, Aubrey, and Everett Turnbough from Moorcroft, WY were able to get in a visit, as did Monte and Colton Turnbough of Broadus. Both Jarrett and Monte are sons of Lori and Randy Turnbough. And last but never the least, Larry Brence's daughters, Meghan Lehman, Laurel, Lindsay Brence, Bozeman, and Hannah Brence, Billings were able to make it down to spend some time at the reunion.

A total of 57 family members were able to attend the reunion and everyone had a great time, but we sure did miss the family members unable to be there. Hope to catch up next time.


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