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Willard Ernst Kassen

Willard Ernst Kassen, age 91, of Lester Prairie, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2001, at the Elim Nursing Home, Watertown.

Willard was born Sept. 4, 1910, in Cologne, the son of Ernst and Mary (Born) Kassen. The Rev. A. Rehwaldt baptized Willard at Zion Lutheran Church in Cologne Sept. 25, 1910.Willard was also confirmed at Zion Lutheran by the Rev. H. AmEnd in 1924.

He attended school through the eighth grade at both District 30 in Benton Township and Zion Lutheran School in Cologne.

Willard was united in marriage to Ester Panning Feb. 7, 1937 by the Rev. Baumann in Green Isle. The couple lived and farmed in Waconia and the Watertown/ Delano area until 1945, when they bought a farm near Winsted.

They farmed in Winsted until 1980 when they built a home in Lester Prairie.

Willard was a current member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie where he had once served as a trustee,

For enjoyment, Willard liked to go fishing and loved to play cards with his family.

Willard is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Ruth Kassen; brother, Vernon Kassen; and son-in-law, Harlan Hilk.

He is survived by his wife, Esther Kassen of Lester Prairie; daughters, Kathleen Hilk of Lester Prairie, LaVonne (Lyle) Stock of Shell Lake, Wis., Diane (Douglas) Ittel of New Germany; grandchildren, Kristin (John) Hilk Davis, Brian (Teri) Hilk, Michelle Hilk Herlund, Melanie (John) Hilk Caulfield, Troy (Kim) Goede, Dawn (Todd) Ellig, Ryan (Connie) Hedtke, Kelli (Dan) Osterkamp, Chad (Tami) Ittel, Traci (Jeff) Mackenthun, and Melissa Ittel.

In addition, Willard is survived by his great-grandchildren, Brandon and Colin Hilk, Lindsey Caulfield, Amber, Dustin, and Matthew Goede, Cody Ellig, Shawn and Joshua Osterkamp, and Jayda Mackenthun.

He is further survived by his sisters and brothers, Mildred Kusserow of Cologne, Lyla Kassen of Minneapolis, Mable Schwartz of Minneapolis, Luola (Wilbur) Manteuffel of Mounds View, Orville (Elizabeth) Kassen of Sandstone, Edwin (Janice) Kassen of Red Wing, Myron (Audrey) Kassen of Crystal Lake; sisters-in-law, Monica Kamps of Norwood Young America, Lorna Panning of Belle Plaine; brother-in-law, Fred (Leona) Miller; as well as many other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were Saturday, Sept. 22, 2001, 1 p.m., at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Lester Prairie, with the Rev. Grant Bode officiating.

Jane Holasek was the organist. The congregational hymns sung were "The Old Rugged Cross," "How Great Thou Art," "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," and "Amazing Grace."

Brian Hilk, Troy Goede, Ryan Hedtke, Chad Ittel, John Davis, and Dan Osterkamp served as casketbearers.

Interment was in the church cemetery.

Visitation and evening prayer service was Friday, Sept. 21, at the Paul McBride Funeral Chapel, Lester Prairie.

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