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November 14, 1927 – Saturday, July 25, 2015

Service Information
Salem Ev. Lutheran Church-Greenfield
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
11:00 A.M.

Visitation Information
Monday, July 27th, 2015
4-8 P.M.

Willmar Edward Bechtold was born on November 14, 1927, the last of three sons and one daughter born to Wilhelmina & William Bechtold.
His sins were washed away in Holy Baptism on December 11, 1927 here at Salem Ev. Lutheran Church. He grew up on the family dairy farm just south of Hanover and attended school in Hanover. He received his confirmation instruction from Pastor W. P. Haar, formally professed faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and was confirmed here at Salem on March 17, 1940. He was given Matthew 6:33 as his memory verse: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Willmar graduated from Buffalo High School in 1945. He was drafted into the Army Air Force following graduation and served his country in the occupation of Japan after WWII.

On June 10, 1950, here at Salem, he was united in holy matrimony to his high school sweetheart, Caroline Harff, whom he loved serenading with his guitar.

The newlyweds moved to Minneapolis, and on August 13, 1953, their son, Timothy, was born. Tim married Anne Taylor in 1979, and Willmar and Caroline were blessed with a granddaughter, Halley, in 1986.
Willmar and Caroline spent most of their married life together living in Robbinsdale, and in 1973, moving into a new house in New Hope, yet always remaining lifelong, active members in God’s house here at Salem.

Willmar began his career with Bill Boyer Ford, which later became Boyer Trucks. He retired from full-time work in 1995, at the age of 67, but continued working several days a week until he was 83, which capped off over 63 years of service with the company.

Throughout his life, he volunteered immeasurable hours of service to Salem Ev. Lutheran Church, West Lutheran High School, Wise Penny Thrift Store, American Cancer Society’s Annual Garage Sale, Hennepin County Fair, and Country Pizza Parlour. Caroline and Willmar were recognized for years of committed community service in 1999 by being named Hennepin County Outstanding Senior Citizens.
A long-time Viking season ticket holder and avid country music fan, he also loved gardening, fishing, dancing the polka, and assisting his wife, Caroline, with canning and preserving home-grown fruits and vegetables, as well as being her right-hand and full-time dishwasher during the busy holiday baking season.

Shortly after Caroline went to be with our Lord on January 21, 2011, Willmar moved into Lee Square Cooperative in Robbinsdale where he resided for the past four years.

After a long struggle with Lewy Body Dementia, with his family at his bedside, our gracious God took Willmar’s soul to heaven on July 25, 2015, at 10:40 in the morning at North Memorial Residential Hospice in Brooklyn Center. Jesus blessed Willmar’s life on this earth for nearly 88 years and now has welcomed him to His eternal home where together with Caroline and all believers he will worship and praise God forever in eternal bliss.

Willmar was preceded in death by his loving wife of 60 years, Caroline; parents, Wilhelmina and William Bechtold; sister, Margaret (Harold) Schutte; and brothers, Bernard (Bernice) and Vernon (Marguerite) Bechtold. He is survived by his son, Timothy (Anne) Bechtold; granddaughter, Halley (Reed) Endersbe; sister-in-law, Renata (Jack) Russek; brothers-in-law, Howard Schleif, Ronald Tiemann, and Duane Beise; many nieces and nephews; and numerous friends and relatives, all of whom he loved dearly.

Willmar’s life touched ten decades, and he used his time of Grace on this earth to glorify and praise his Creator and to serve his family, friends, coworkers and the church he loved so much. His mortal remains will now be laid to rest in the cemetery of Salem Ev. Lutheran Church until the day of resurrection.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said … “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

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