Willard Dean Halverson, 97, entered eternal life Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, at his home. He was born to Henry Rickard (Rick) and Leilah (Sandman) Halverson, April 25, 1922, at Spruce Lane Farm, Moe Coulee, Holmen, on which he later was the fourth generation to farm. He attended Long Coulee Grade School and graduated from Holmen High School in 1940. He was farming with his Dad when he was offered a job testing milk for 30 herds in Jefferson County, Wis., which he did for a couple of years. Helen (Johnson), his high school sweetheart, and he were married Oct. 31, 1944, at Lewis Valley Lutheran near Holmen. They farmed for a couple more years with his Dad. On March 4, 1946, he started work at Krause Dairy in Onalaska, washing quart bottles which was the largest milk container at that time. By the time he retired in 1982, he had worked up to management with Borden's Dairy. During those years he also painted houses and farmed part time. He was a life member of Guernsey Breeders of America and a Neighborhood Commissioner for Boy Scouts of America for several years.
He was also a life member of Rotary International, having earned the Melvin Jones award for Service above Self. He believed in improving foreign relations one person at a time, so he and Helen hosted three Rotarian foreign exchange students over the years, from Mexico, Netherlands and Japan. They also hosted fellow Rotarian, Dr. Surrender Singh, a professor at UW-La Crosse, living in their home for six years while Dr. Singh supported his family and a free school in India.
As an active member of First Lutheran, he served on church council and did much volunteer work. He was on the building committee in 1953.
He was a hardworking and humble man who loved his Lord and Savior, his family and living life to the fullest. He was the best husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great-grandfather, duck, goose and turkey hunter, card player and pancake maker with which a family could be blessed! He was always thankful for his many blessings. He believed in the power of the Holy Spirit and if there were troubles or challenges he would say, "The Holy Spirit will take care of it!" His other best words of wisdom were "work hard!"
He is survived by his wife of 74 years, 10 months and 15 days, Helen; a daughter, Kay (Jim) Nelson; a son, Wayne (Sandra) Halverson; two granddaughters and their husbands, Stephanie (Nelson) and Al Peterson and Lindsay (Nelson) and Tim Rothering; and five great-grandchildren, Alaina and Samantha Peterson and Kasey, John and Leila Rothering. He is also survived by a sister-in-law, Evelyn Olson; and several nieces, nephews, the Cousins Monthly Lunch Club, the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club and many, many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an older brother and wife, Lloyd and Lorraine Halverson; and a younger brother and wife, Merton and Maxine Halverson; and a brother-in-law, Stanley Olson.
The family wishes to thank Gundersen Hospice for their wonderful care and support and loving family and great friends for their caring visits and help.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, at First Lutheran Church, Onalaska. Burial will be in the Long Coulee Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Dickinson Family Funeral Home, 401 Main St., Onalaska and again from 10 a.m. until time of services Tuesday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to First Lutheran Church, Onalaska; The American Cancer Society; or the church of donor's choice. Information and online condolences may be given to the family at www.dickinsonfuneralhomes.com.