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William H. Stokes, 69

William (Bill) Howard Stokes, age 69, of Howard Lake, died Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 at home.

He was born Jan. 27, 1943, the eighth of nine children born to Ray and Bernice (Keller) Stokes at Chatfield. William grew up there on the family farm.

He graduated from high school at Chatfield.

Bill married Shirley Bow Sept. 30, 1967, at Rochester. The family moved to Howard Lake in 1977.

After working at Lesters Builders, Air Tech in Cokato, and as a carpenter, Bill returned to dairy farming, and later raised pigs and steers. He was a farmer at heart and enjoyed watching the crops and seasons change.

Growing up, Bill spent a lot of time fishing on the Mississippi River near Wabasha. He also enjoyed hunting in the fall and winter. As a teenager, he enjoyed roller skating with family and friends. He received his first guitar as a Christmas gift as a teenager and continued to “pick away” for his own enjoyment, and later for the grandkids.

Bill enjoyed trips to McDonalds, and looked forward to going to Duluth each fall with his daughter and family. He said he didn’t like sports, but often watched at least part of the Viking game. Bill told terrible jokes, and loved desserts, especially pie, cookies, chocolate candy, and egg nog at Christmas. He was accepting of all and never had an unkind word to say about anybody.

Bill had a special place in his heart for the nuns at Clara’s Well, the people and priests at Kings House, and the guys at Sunset Ridges. During his illness, he enjoyed visits from friends and neighbors and especially quality time with his kids and grand kids. He never complained, and when asked how he was doing he’d say “pretty good.”

Bill is survived by his wife, Shirley, of Howard Lake; sons Kevin (Kelly), and Dan, all of Howard Lake; daughter Teri (Kevin) Vetsch of Cokato; grandchildren Alexa and Colton Vetsch, and MacKenzie, Braden and Jace Stokes; and brothers, Jerry (Betty) Stokes of Rochester, and Mike (Carol) Stokes of Chatfield.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Bernice; four brothers; and two sisters.

Mass of Christian burial took place Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Waverly, followed by interment in the church cemetery.

Visitation was Tuesday, Oct. 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s; with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m.

Arrangements were handled by the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Howard Lake.