TOWN OF IRVING — Willard E. Hart, 89, town of Irving, Black River Falls died Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Gundersen Health Center, La Crosse, with four generations of family at his side.

He was born Jan. 30, 1928, at the home of his great-aunt, Marie Paisley in Mindoro, to Walter and Adah (Jostad) Hart.

Willard was baptized and attended Sunday school at the Mindoro Lutheran Church. His family lived in Robert’s Coulee. He attended the first three years of school at the Lewis Valley State Graded School, about two miles from home, which he and his older sisters walked to and from much of the time.

On Aug. 1, 1936, the family moved to the town of Irving, near Black River Falls. Willard attended Horswill School until eighth grade. After that, he stayed home to help on the family farm. He was an active member of the Little Norway Lutheran Church, where was confirmed and married the love of his life, Lillian Bahnub, May 22, 1949.

Willard was a farmer at heart and especially enjoyed farming with his son, Gene. Community was important to him and he served many years as a supervisor on the Irving Town Board and Little Norway Church Council.

In 1975, he started selling advertising, including pens, calendars, hats, and key chains, for Newton Manufacturing and then later for Advertising Concepts of La Crosse. He was selling right up to the end.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Margaret Stetzer and Valeria Barton and infant sister, Ruby Jean; and brother, Willis.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lillian; son, Eugene (Jackie Zahrte) of Black River Falls; grandson, Tony of Holmen; granddaughter, Stacy (Charles Smith) of Black River Falls; great-grandson, Oliver Edward Smith; special nephew, Scott (Gloria) Bahnub of Taylor; faithful and dependable hired man, Jeff Johnson; and honorary granddaughter, Betzy Jones.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 27, from the Little Norway Lutheran Church, Black River Falls. Pastor Denise Anderson will officiate. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Family and friends may call from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Torgerson’s Funeral Home, Black River Falls, and for one hour prior to services Thursday at the church.

Willard enjoyed dancing, talking, and socializing with family, many friends, and neighbors. “Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?”


the life of: Willard E. Hart
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