Richard "Rich" Francis Bronken

richard bronken

July 31, 1963 ~ November 8, 2022

Born in: Thief River Falls, MN
Resided in: Pueblo West, CO

Celebration of Life:

Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.  Dr. Seuss

 It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember. 


What can we say about Rich?

Richard “Rich” Francis Bronken, 59, was passionate about the Minnesota Vikings, Three Stooges, and bad Jokes, Golfing with good friends, Workouts, dogs and cats.  He was passionately against pickles and vegetables!

We are heartbroken having lost our “life of the party,” never met a stranger, the loudest voice in the room, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and best of friend.

Rich was born on July 31st, 1963 in Thief River Falls, MN, to Marvin and Joan (O’Connor) Bronken. Richard Francis Bronken was named after Uncle Dick O’Connor and Uncle Francis Bronken, who both died the year Rich was born.  Rich was the sixth of the seven Bronken children and the fifth redhead in the family.  He graduated from Oklee High School in 1981, where he excelled in basketball, football, tennis, and anything that kept his active mind and body in motion.  He found his calling in the surgical field and worked his way up from a surgical tech to a surgical assistant.  He shared with pride his extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the operating room.

Early in his surgical career, while working at the Farmington Hospital, New Mexico, he met Theodora “Teddy” Jacquez.  Their friendship grew and they married on May 13th, 1989.  After the wedding, they landed in Bremerton, Washington where Teddy began her naval career.

Eventually, they moved to Colorado and became the proud parents of Derek and Sara, completing their family.  Rich continued his career in surgery in the Pueblo, Colorado region and formed strong and meaningful friendships, which he highly valued.

When he wasn’t working or spending time with family, Rich had the great pleasure of coaching youth football and basketball.  Years later, he loved running into his former players, who as young adults, still fondly referred to him as “Coach”.

The Colorado Bronkens made many trips “home” to Oklee for holiday visits.  Rich loved spending time with his parents, siblings, brother & sisters-in-law, and nieces and nephews.  He treasured sharing these family moments with Derek and Sara.

Truly one of a kind, Rich brought laughter and joy to every room he entered.  He had a big bright smile and a hearty infectious laugh.

Rich was preceded in death by his parents, Marvin and Joan Bronken; brothers-in-law, Karl Stadem, and Sherman Knutson; and sister-in-law Tracy Bronken.

He will be deeply missed by his family, Theodora “Teddy” Jacquez; son, Derek; daughter, Sara; granddaughters, Acacia and Rayne; siblings, Barb (Cliff) Melby, Beth (Neil) Carlson, Holly Bronken, Jim Bronken, Margaret (Bob) Olmstead, and Pete (Leah) Bronken; many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles; as well as his many good friends.

Our memorial for Rich will be held on Saturday, December 10th, at 11:00 a.m. in the Montgomery & Steward Chapel. We plan to have a celebration of life in his hometown of Oklee, MN, in the summer of 2023.


Memorial Service: December 10, 2022 11:00 am

Montgomery & Steward Funeral Chapel
1317 N. Main Street
Pueblo, CO 81003


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Memories Timeline


  1. Rich was a bright light and had a big heart. I haven’t seen him for a long time and was floored by the news of his passing. I loved working with him and hearing his corny jokes. My deepest condolences to his children and family.

  2. I have so many memories of all my Bronken cousins throughout the years, mostly of which are from our childhood. Sadly adult life has taken turns which seems to have interfered with making new memories with my cousins, however, you have always each held a special spot in my heart I hold dear! When we got word of Richard’s passing it brought much sadness! I suppose Richard’s and my age difference played a part in spending time together, getting to know him, as I did with his siblings who were born before him. (No Peter, I haven’t forgotten you, # 6!). After reading all who have written about Richard, I am looking forward to meeting up with him again! During one of the last times we got together at Aunt Joan’s and Uncle Marvin’s home in Oklee for a reunion picnic, I can vividly still see Richard’s everlasting cute smile on his happy face, his red hair, and his energetic personality with all that ‘kidding around’ attitude! Who wouldn’t love his presence?!
    Our prayers are with all who knew and loved him. Rest In Peace Richard!!

  3. Rich, you are truly missed. I’ll miss your smiles, your laughter and your positive outlook day after day. May you and your loved ones and friends rest in the Lord.
    Diana Montoya

  4. Rich was such a beautiful person. He always brightened a gloomy day with all his jokes, his laugh and amazing personality. I wish more people were like him. He will be missed. Love always Jasmin and Ray Munoz

  5. I and my future wife, Linda, first met cousin Richard in the summer of 1964 at a Fargo Park where the Bronken’s had a family reunion. He was a baby! Then 3 years later Linda, who was pregnant, and I drove to Oklee to see his parents and family. Richard was all boy! In the late 60’s we lived in Fargo, and we would see Richard now and then. He continued to be all boy. Full of energy and inquisitive. As the years past we would see each other at family funerals but his energy and love of life was always present. Rest in peace, cousin Richard. We will never forget the red hair, with a crew cut, energetic boy that we knew.

  6. Derek and Sara, I’m so sorry to read about the passing of your dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mom. I know he will be sorely missed.

    Love, Mrs. (Donna) Batt

  7. Rich was a good friend and neighbor back on the Manchester Fuel Depot (Seattle). We had many a day of great fishing, and crabbing. His personality was soo energetic and lovable you couldn’t help but feel like you were family around him. Dave and I were devastated to hear of his passing. We will be there to celebrate his life on the 10th.

  8. Rich was well named as I think he “enriched “ all lives he touched. He always seemed to lighten the mood and gave all a better mood after they were with him. I didn’t get to see him much as adults, but the times I did see him were always special ! My prayers and love to his family and friends !

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s very hard to lose a sibling. May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing to you

  10. I have fond memories of our childhood and all the Bronken cousins coming to visit or vice versa, us going to Oklee. Rich was a blast to be around as he
    was always upbeat and so funny! I remember he had strong opinions about our Petersburg water so he brought his own! I couldn’t understand that until I moved away and would come back for visits and then realized how bad our water was! I’m grateful for all our fun childhood memories with Rich and all my Bronken cousins! You will be deeply missed!!

  11. Very sorry to hear of your loss. You all are in our thoughts and prayers. Take care and keep the memories close to your hearts. 💕

  12. It was always great to have Rich in the room. You have left some mighty big shoes to fill!
    Rest In Peace my friend.

  13. Bronken’s!
    Our prayers are with all of you during this difficult time! Rich was a funny and positive guy. We have fond memories of our high school days in Oklee! 🙏. Gary and Dani Parenteau

  14. Rich was the brightest light in the room. His sense of humor was one of his many traits that made him unforgettable. He will be sadly missed.

  15. The biggest personality, loudest laugh and biggest smile in the room, surgical or otherwise. I miss you Rich. I’ll never forget you.

  16. Rich….you always made me laugh. Your compassion for those around you was beyond words. Your unique ways always brought a smile to my face. It was a privilege to be your friend. May you rest in peace. Love you my friend!!!!!!!

  17. Rich, I remember laughing uncontrollably with you in church or school assembly, which was totally inappropriate;)
    More proud moments involved our parents agreeing to let us use the family car on weekends. Our goal was to return (the car… and us) in good enough condition to make it to church on Sunday. Whether attending Vikings games or talking on the phone, which my wife would say required quite a length of time, we had a lot of wild and crazy times I will never forget.
    Farewell my friend, you will be missed.
    See you on the other side.

  18. Thinking about the Bronken family. So sorry to hear. Prayers from Crookston. Remembering the good old Oklee Bobcat days with Rich.

  19. Rich was always the shining light wherever he was. Blessed am I that our paths crossed. He’ll always hold a special place in my heart. God bless and be with Rich’s family. Prayers, love and hugs-Becky Diiorio

  20. Rich always wanted to make you laugh. For me it was high school football, little league baseball, and hours and hours of passer/receiver games with the other Oklee boys growing up!

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