Born in Nice, France in 1925, Simone Marcel Giron grew up as an only child, raised
by her mother and grandmother, both widows. In 1943, during the Invasion of Sicily,
18-year-old Simone served as a nurse’s aide in occupied France where she met a wounded
U.S. soldier by the name of Bernard H. Breuer. After Bernard's hospitalization the
two began courting, eventually marrying in France before Bernard was sent back to
the United States. Following WWII, Simone, together with many other war brides, boarded
a ship and made the difficult, two-week journey across the Pacific to be reunited her
new husband. Upon arrival in New York, the new couple hopped a train heading west,
arriving three days later in South Beaver Dam.
Shortly after settling in Beaver Dam, Bernard got a job as a traveling salesman for
Monarch Range and the newlyweds moved out to the East Coast. Before long the young
couple started a family, first welcoming Bernie and later Jerry, into the world.
Within a couple of years, Bernard and Simone decided to move their family back to
Bernard’s hometown of Beaver Dam, so that he could help his father run his small
ornamental steel business. It was back home in Wisconsin that Simone and Bernard
had two more children, Suzy and Jackie.
As if Simone didn’t have her hands full taking care of four children under the age
of seven, she was also asked to help out with the accounting at the shop. Feeling
obliged to help her family in any way possible Simone took up accounting classes
at night for two years and began keeping the books for the small operation. At the
age of 33, Simone gave birth to Paul, her fifth and final child. As with many small
businesses, Simone’s hard work, while appreciated, went unpaid.
With the family business struggling, Simone got a part time job at a local canning
factory. She would later get another part time job at city hall, helping out around
tax time. Despite mounting responsibilities outside of the home, Simone always kept
a tidy house and a pulled together home-cooked meal for her family every night. Indeed,
Simone made holding down two part time jobs and raising five children look easy!
As the children grew, they were able to lend a hand both at home and at the shop.
With business improving, Simone was able to give up her part-time jobs and focus
on her work at Breuer Metal Craftsmen.
There were many ups and downs in the following years as the husband and wife team
worked to keep the business afloat. By 1975, the three Breuer sons, Bernie, Jerry,
and Paul became integral members of the family business, working hard to grow the
company during difficult economic times. In 1986, Simone took over as President of
the company following the passing of her husband and business partner of 38 years.
Today, at the wise and experienced age of 86, Simone continues to serve as acting
president of the company. She can be found in her office everyday, taking care of
the bookkeeping and accounts payable. To stay busy outside of work she enjoys bus
trips, attending local concerts and plays, doing yard work, and spending time with
her large family, which has grown to include 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren