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Willard C. Parpart, 84

Willard “Willie” Carl Parpart, age 84, of Lester Prairie, passed away Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017.

He was born June 11, 1933, in Lester Prairie, to Wilhelm and Emilie Parpart, one of 12 children. At the time of his death, he was the only surviving member of his family.

Willie was baptized July 2, 1933, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie; and confirmed March 30, 1947, at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie.

He graduated from Lester Prairie High School in 1951.

Willie served in the US Army during the Korean War, and was stationed in Korea and Tokyo, Japan from 1953-1955.

He married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Thiel of Lester Prairie, Aug. 20, 1955, at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church. The couple made their home in Lester Prairie, and shared over 62 years of love and friendship.

Willie attended Dunwoody Institute, Hennepin Technical College, and Minneapolis Vocational School. He owned his own business for several years, before retiring in 1995, from Metro Engineering.

An active member of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Willie had served as elder and chairman. He was also a member of the Lester Prairie American Legion Post 463 since 1959.

He loved to golf, and spent many days on the links. If not on a golf course, he would be found at the “19th Hole” – the family cabin in Annandale, where he enjoyed the lake views, boat rides, yard games and bonfires with his kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, extended family and friends.

Willie and Barb’s travel adventures took them to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Hawaii, Italy, and several islands in the Caribbean. They also enjoyed spending several winter months in Texas and Arizona, perfecting Willie’s golf game, shuffleboard, and cards.

Willie’s greatest love was time spent with his family. Whether it was singing songs to the grandkids on the guitar he taught himself to play, teaching poker to his then 6- and 4-year old granddaughters, fixing the sons-in-law the perfect Manhattan, golf with his grandsons, watching hundreds of sporting/school events of his family, long pontoon cruises, and cabin projects where more laughing was done, than work. He also enjoyed bean bag toss contests, card games, silly jokes, and being there for every one of his family members – always.

Willie’s spirit lives on through his wife, Barb; daughters Patti Schwartz (Don), Sherri Ruesink (Rick), and Kelli Parpart; grandchildren Jenni Steingas (Charlie), Jacki Rightler (Jesse), Josi Boll (Wes), Jon Schwartz (Jenny), Madison Ruesink, and Sydney Ruesink; and great-grandchildren Zach, Will, Ben, Nora, Harper, Lydia, Henry, Meredith, Graham and Natalie.

Visitation took place Thursday, Nov. 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m., at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie. A private family celebration of life with interment in the church cemetery followed Friday, Nov. 3.

The Rev. Eric Nelson officiated at the services. Jane Holasek was the organist. Special music included “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “God’s Family Waltz” – a recording by Chuck Thiel. Congregational hymns were “Because He Lives,” “Old Rugged Cross,” and “A Closer Walk With Thee.”

The urn bearer was Jon Schwartz.

Jenni Steingas, Jacki Rightler, Josi Boll, Madi Ruesink, and Sydney Ruesink were honorary urn bearers.

Arrangements were with the Paul-McBride Funeral Chapel of Lester Prairie. Online obituaries and guest book are available at www.mcbridechapel.com; click on Obituaries/Guest Book.

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