Herald Journal Obituaries


Willard Edwin “Bill” Hempel

Willard Edwin “Bill” Hempel, age 95 of Cokato, died Thursday, Jan. 27, 2005 at the Meeker County Memorial Hospital in Litchfield.

He was born Nov. 4, 1909 to Henry and Josephine (Yorken) Hempel on his parents’ farm in Victor Township. He was baptized and confirmed at St. James Lutheran Church in Howard Lake.

The family moved to Cokato Township in 1925. Following school, Willard farmed with his family for several years.

Willard was married to Eldora Calgren June 12, 1937.

The couple was involved in many businesses. They owned the Owl Club in Montrose, and also the ice business in Howard Lake.

In 1943, Willard sold the ice business to Ralph Holt as he entered the US Army. He served his country from October 1943 to November 1945.

Following his service, Willard opened a hardware store and a heating and plumbing business.

In 1956, the couple moved to San Diego and purchased a hardware store and motel. Upon retirement, they remained in San Diego, returning to Cokato during the summer months. In 1985, Willard and Eldora moved back to Cokato.

Willard enjoyed golfing and being involved in the stock market.

Although they had no children of their own, Willard always enjoyed spending time with children. As a couple, he and Eldora enjoyed giving to organizations that benefitted youth, as well as to multiple charities and their church.

Willard is survived by his sisters-in-law Lucille “Jinny” Anderson and Marian Hempel; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Eldora, who died in January 1996; brothers Lester and Vernon; and sister Irene Janckila.

Funeral services were Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato with the Rev. David Sorensen officiating. Music was by Karen Anderson and Amy Thostenson. Interment followed in the church cemetery.

Visitation was Monday, Jan. 31, from 4 to 9 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato, and one hour prior to the funeral service on Tuesday.

Casket bearers were Brady Anderson, Todd Hempel, Dean Janckila, Justin Anderson, Bob Janckila, Phillip Janckila, Shannon Hempel, David Janckila, and Thor Lund.

Arrangements were by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato.

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