obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Daniel John

Daniel  John Brielmaier

“Captain Dan”



Captain Dan set sail on cosmic winds December 16, 2021 at 12:35 pm his life and legend only eclipsed by the Great Lake he navigated so swiftly.

Dan was proceeded in death by his father and mother, George Brielmaier and Rita Abel and his dear brother Tom Brielmaier.  He leaves behind his siblings, Patti Abel, Steve Brielmaier and Betsy Brielmaier Gilmore, his nieces and nephews, Amy (Ryan) Watson, Ashley (Nick) Lisowski, Maggie Piotrzkowski, Morgan Piotrzkowski, Zeric Cadiz, Betsy Brielmaier and Zach Brielmaier and grand nephews Ian Watson and Lucas Lisowski as well as a league of great friends, crew and competitors.

Dan was born and raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin where he graduated from Custer High School in 1972.  He bought his home in Riverwest in 1977 where he became a well recognized and respected member of the community.  He grew his painting contracting company, Brielmaier Painting, there and in the surrounding area, which he proudly owned and operated for over 40 years.

Though Dan made Milwaukee his home, he was a world traveler and spent many of the winter months abroad, most often in his favorite destination, Thailand.  He had many other interests as well including music, amassing a vast collection of records and cassettes.  He was an avid Bucks fan who was fortunate to watch them win two NBA National Championships, calling the 2021 series some of the most exciting sports he had ever witnessed.  And of course, his greatest passion was sailing his beloved sailboat, Amok.

As one of the longest members of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, Dan rarely missed an opportunity get out on the water and enjoy the competition and camaraderie it provided. As recently as last summer, he still regularly Captained his beloved sailboat, Amok, in the Friday evening MAST race series. He also helped crew on other boats in the Wednesday evening race series at South Shore Yacht Club. Dan loved competing in, and often winning, the annual Quarter Barrel and Dolphin races as well.  Captain Dan was not only a summer seasonal racing sailor.  He accomplished the Holy Grail of sailors by leading his crews in sailing Lake Michigan every month of the year, including the incredible January 1, 2000 sail through the ice to the Polar Plunge at Bradford Beach!  All the sailors who knew him will sorely miss the regular vision of him and his crew standing next to Amok after a race, next to the Sailing Center cranes, drinking a Pabst and recounting the race in his curmudgeonly, yet good spirited way.

Everyone called Dan Captain because that is what he was. He was the Captain of his world.  He charted his own course and answered to no one.  He worked when he wanted to.  Sailed when he wanted to.  Made friends when he wanted to. Nobody told Dan what to do, or how to do it. If Dan listened to you, it was his choice.

Dan’s strength was his independence and his beauty was in his ability to enjoy what he had. Family that loved him, good friends, a good boat, and a life course that he charted himself.  Sail on Captain.

A memorial for Captain Dan will be held at Wolski’s Tavern, 1836 N Pulaski Street, Milwaukee WI on January 16, 2022 beginning at 2pm. A ceremony to spread his ashes will follow later in the Spring with details to be determined. In lieu of flowers a donation may be made in his honor to a charity of your choosing.



  1. Overboard January 9, 2022 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Fair Winds and smooth seas Dan,

  2. Bill Randolph January 9, 2022 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    My old friend and accomplice in many adventures in our youth peaceful sailing brother.

  3. Greg Hartlmeier January 9, 2022 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Capt Dan was a fixture in the sailing community. He will be missed. Love that guy. He was the sailing center.

  4. Gene Cramer January 9, 2022 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Captain Dan was an inspiration.

  5. Cindy January 9, 2022 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Red sky at night my friend. You will be missed

  6. Tom Wolfrum January 10, 2022 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    The Milwaukee sailing community has lost a precious gem that can never be replaced. You were a true legend my friend, may you S.I.P. (Sail In Peace)

  7. Six-Bean Willie January 10, 2022 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Captain Dan, we had some great times at the bars, but most importantly you re-introduced me to one of my old loves, sailing, and offered me that pleasure with a skilled friend- you. I’m so blessed that I was able to humbly enjoy your friendship and sail with you for 20+ years. The most fun sailing I’ve ever had. Including the rogue wave and hitting the rock off of Bradford (haha). All part and parcel. Sail on to infinity, My Friend.

  8. Cathy Switalski January 11, 2022 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    The races at the sailing center will not be the same. Dan was such a fixture in many of them. His sailing talents will never be beaten. Having a cigarette going in one hand, a can of beer in the other, all the while steering Amok in strong winds, big waves and talking about life in general to the crew are his trademark. The annual Dolphin will not be the same because he was one of the original sailors. He influenced a lot of sailors by showing them that if he could do it, so could they. But as he heads upwind to join the other great sailors, we all know he’ll sail strong to get to the first mark. with a cigarette and a beer. More people than he knows are going to miss him.. I know I will .

  9. Kiara Caldwell January 16, 2022 at 10:29 am - Reply

    The steadiest helm I’ve ever raced with, Dan propelled us to the most memorable Louie’s Last Regatta of our lives. Spinnaker poles were cracking through chutes yet we stayed on it ripping down waves.. There was snow in our teeth as we gritted back upwind.
    I will miss that focused, happy growl. What a gem you are, Dan.

    Godspeed, my friend.

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