Wilfred Albert Westphal, age 97, of Brainerd, formerly of Howard Lake, passed away Tuesday, May 17, 2016.
Services will take place Monday, May 23 at 11 a.m. at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd with Pastor John Stiles officiating. Visitation will begin the hour prior to the services at the church. Military honors will be provided by Brainerd American Legion and VFW Color Guard. Burial will be in Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery.
Memorials are preferred to First Lutheran Church.
Arrangements are with Nelson-Doran Funeral Home, Brainerd.
Wilfred was born May 11, 1919, in Howard Lake, to Frederick and Mabel (Jestus) Westphal.
He graduated from Howard Lake High School in 1938, and was inducted into the US Army April 8, 1941, serving in World War II with the 125th Field Artillery 34th Division. He was with the first contingent to go overseas in 1942, landing in Northern Ireland and participating in numerous campaigns in the African and European theaters.
Will returned to the US on a hospital ship in 1944, having served overseas for two-and-one-half years, and being honorably discharged Jan. 8, 1945.
He then began work as a civilian crash firefighter for the US Air Force at the former Wold Chamberlain Airfield in Minneapolis.
Will was united in marriage with Mary Elizabeth Berg March 31, 1945. They were blessed with the births of three sons.
In 1952, Will was promoted to assistant fire chief, serving in that position until December 1957, when he transferred to the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota as a civilian fire chief. He worked in this field until he retired in January 1978.
After retirement, Wilfred became a Realtor in the Grand Forks area, pursuing this career for eight years.
In August 1997, he and Mary moved to Baxter.
Will loved his family and church, golfing, fishing, square dancing, and spending time with his grandchildren.
He was a member of First Lutheran Church of Brainerd, the American Legion, and a life member of the DAV, as well as the Eagles.
Will is survived by his wife, Mary; sons William (Susan) of Iola, WI, Scott (Marilyn) of Marysville, WA, and John of Baxter; nine grandchildren: Jessica, Rebecca, Mara, Abby, Leia, Sera, Josh, Jordan, and Jacob; 10 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Will’s parents; a sister, Eleanor Sexton; and brothers Donald and Roger preceded him in death.