Reverend Carl Victor Bretz (STH ’54)
The Rev. Carl Victor Bretz died on Oct. 4, 2020 while in rehab at Diversicare at Oak Ridge. He was a long time resident at Oak Ridge Commonwealth Senior Living.
Carl was the only child born to John H. and Miriam M. Bretz in Cumberland County, Pa. He was born on Dec. 6, 1925, passing away just short of his 95th birthday.
He graduated from Marysville, (Pa.) High School in 1943 and was drafted into the Army at the height of World War II. He proudly served in the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers from February 1944 until April 1946. His brigade was one of the earliest of U.S. troops to arrive in Nagasaki after Japan’s surrender. That experience has stayed with him forever.
He received his B.S. degree at Albright College, in Reading, Pa., in 1949. He then received a Master of Divinity Degree in 1952 from Evangelical School of Theology (now the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio), also in Reading. He received an MST in Psychology of Religion in 1954 from Boston University School of Theology.
The Rev. Bretz was ordained and fellowshipped into the Unitarian Universalist Ministry at Concord, N.H. in 1956. He worked as a chaplain in mental hospitals in Concord, N.H. and Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He served as minister of the Harvard UU Church, in Harvard, Mass., from 1964 to 1972. He retired from the Alabama Dept of Mental Health, and lived in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
He began a serious avocation as a weaver in 1971, his passion and great talent. He joined the Weaving Group at the Appalachian Arts Center in Norris, Tenn., when he arrived in Oak Ridge in 1994. He was a regular participant until March of this year. Many people throughout Eastern Tennessee have some of Carl’s special weavings.
He is predeceased by his first wife and the mother of his children, Janice Miller Bretz-Howe, and his last wife Rosemary Burns. Both Carl and Rosemary were trusted leaders at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, promoting small group ministry and religious education.
Carl is survived and will be very missed by his three children: Stephanie Cox (Craig) of Ramah, N.M., Jonathan Bretz (Linda) of Maynard, Mass., and Rima Michaud (Eric) of Eustis, Fla. His grandchildren: Molly Panos McDonald (Dan), Philip Panos Jr, Jamieson Bretz (Elizabeth), Barbara Michaud Bowers (Demetrius) and the late Rita Michaud. He leaves 11 great-grandchildren: Ayden and Mackenzie McDonald, Kennedy Panos, Jackson and Oliver Bretz, Allison, Evan and Lyla Bowers, Erin Michaud, Kaiden Hayes and Desmond Hayes.
Contributions may be made to the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (ORUUC) for the Rosemary M. Burns Memorial Endowment fund at ORUUC, 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, TN, in lieu of flowers.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date at Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Oak Ridge. Interment will be in the ORUUC Memorial Garden. Please remember Carl with the special, kind and thoughtful ways he impacted others.
This obituary was originally published here, by the OAKRIDGER.