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I never knew the last conversation I had with my father would be the very last conversation we would ever have. Even though he’s gone the stories and legacy he left behind will long outlive him and fortunately (or unfortunately as it sometimes was) he left behind a lot of stories. I find myself telling my own daughter stories about her grandfather just as Dad told me stories about my grandfather. It’s been difficult for me to process and I don’t know what to say because it’s easiest to share the most recent stories and work backward to the events that have become hazy with time. Even though our last conversation is finished the story around that conversation remains unfinished and due to the shared hurt from neighbors and distorted civil justice. The events have been difficult to process and separate from his death. There are lots of facts surrounding the issue and interpreting those facts will ultimately determine how the story ends but I’m too emotionally invested in the story to try and lay it out.

For now, until the story ends, March 23rd will simply be the end of my Dad’s side of the story.


IRONWOOD, Mich. — Steven Andrew Bratu, 59, died tragically in an automobile accident on his way to see loved ones out of state on March 23, 2019.

He was born to parents Samuel and Margaret Bratu in Hancock, on Feb. 1, 1960.

On July 21, 1979, he married his high school sweet heart, Rose Schneck, who survives. Instead of calling each other by their respective first names, Steven and Rose playfully and lovingly referred to each other as “George” throughout their whole relationship.

Steve graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1979. He worked at various jobs early on in his adulthood, until he opened his own planing mill which sparked his loved of working with wood. He relocated his business, Bratu’s Hardwood Interiors, to the Ironwood Industrial park in 2001 where he worked with his friends and family until the time of his death.

Apart from working, Steven enjoyed hunting, fishing, walking with his dogs, working on endless projects around the house (like moving his entire house across the street), and of course, spending time with his family. Together, they loved going on cruises and traveling, swimming and boating in Lake Superior, babysitting the grandkids, listening to music, watching movies, having campfires in the backyard, and cheering on their daughters at various sporting events. As long as he was with his family, he enjoyed whatever it was, no matter how insignificant.

He is survived by his wife of almost 40 years; his sons, Jared (Jinhee) of Cinnaminson, N.J., and Marcus (Maria) of Ironwood; daughters, Hannah and Samantha, both living at home; and his grandkids, Selah, Meyer and Maverick. Also surviving are his mother, Margaret of Hendersonville, N.C .; his brothers, David (Sharon) of Clintonville, Wis., Dan (Georgina) of Hendersonville, N.C., and Joe, of Wakefield; and numerous aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces.

Steve loved God and had a big heart to help anyone in need. He will be sorely missed by all who loved him. His legacy will live on through his family as they strive to fill the big shoes he left behind, until we are reunited in God’s presence.

A memorial service for Steve will be held on Friday, March 29, at 11 a.m., at Range Community Bible Church in Hurley, Wis. Per his request, cremation has taken place. Steve loved flannel and Hawaiian shirts, so if you have one, please wear it to the service in memory of him.

Tent Camping List

Perishable Food

  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Pepperoni

Nonperishable Food

  • Maxim
  • Hot chocolate
  • Powdered milk
  • Instant mashed potatoes in cups
  • Ramen
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canned soup
  • Canned pie filling
  • Spam
  • Jiffy-pop
  • Gram crackers, marshmallows, chocolate