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Rev. Kenneth Willard

Rev. Kenneth Willard

Rev. Kenneth Willard, age 92 of Alexandria, passed away on Sunday, September 11, 2016. Kenneth Virgil Willard was born in Gibbon, Nebraska on May 6, 1924 to Charles and Anna (Bliss) Willard. He graduated from Gibbon High School and was drafted into the U S Army in 1943. During WWII, he served in Italy as a machine gunner. After his honorable discharge, Ken began his theological studies at Nebraska Wesleyan University followed by Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, NJ, where he received his Master of Divinity degree. On March 14, 1948 he was united in marriage to Mary Dwinell in Bartlett, NE. Rev. Willard began his ministry near Neligh, Nebraska in Stark Valley and Crawford Valley. With a desire to further serve his country, Ken enlisted in the US Air Force and attended Air Force Command School with active duty in Anchorage, Alaska. He served over 30 years as a reserve chaplain in the Air Force, achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and retired in 1984 at the age of 60 years. During these years Kenneth also served as pastor of churches in Nebraska and Minnesota. These included Winside, Nebraska and Minnesota congregations in Fairfax, Franklin, Morton, Lino Lakes, Winona, and Austin. He retired from active ministry in 1987 to a home in Winona. Kenneth loved the family ranch in Wheeler County Nebraska and continued to partially work the farm until well into his 80's. He revered his country, his parents and grandparents and was a gentle and loving parent.

He is survived by his children, Lloyd (Tanya) Willard of Miltona, Renee Harris of Woodbury, and Kevin (Brenda) Willard of Forest Lake; 9 grandchildren, Seth, Ian, Samuel, Nathanael, Josiyah and Ember Willard, Bennett Harris, Lindsay Crescendo, Brittany Hendrickson; 1 great grandson, Jace Hendrickson; brother, Robert (Marjorie) Willard, sisters; Bernice (Duane) Blair and Donna Rae Clevenger; sisters-in-law, Martha Vanosdahl and Helen (Tim) Collins; many nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death are his wife, Mary Willard (1999), parents Charles and Anna Willard, and sister, Jean Matern.

Funeral services were held on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the United Methodist Church in Villard, MN with Rev. Ken Uhren officiating. Musicians were Janet Sampson, Dana Hetland and violinist, Carla Manning. Interment is at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN on Friday morning, Sept. 16 at 10:45 am with full military honors. Casket bearers are his grandsons, Seth, Ian, Samuel, Nathanael and Josiyah Willard, Bennett Harris.

Arrangements handled by the Roy-Hetland Funeral Home, Osakis.