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Barn 03


Willard E. Buchholz

July 14, 1918 ~ June 28, 2018 (age 99)

Willard E. Buchholz, age 99, of Westfield, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at Silver Lake Manor in Wautoma, WI.

Willard was born on July 14, 1918 as one of four children to Gustav and Mae (Luedtke) Buchholz.  Willard grew up on a farm on the Mecan River near Montello.  He spent the remainder of his life (except for the first year of his marriage) on his farm on Dakota Avenue in Marquette County.  He was born and raised in a generation where you were judged largely upon your work ethic and your honesty.  Willard fared well.  He was respected and loved by all who knew him because he loved and respected others.

Willard worked at the pickle factory during the night shift when he was first married, in addition to farming.  He would come home late and Esther would ask him if he was going to sleep, and he’d reply, “No.  The trout are biting.”  Not only was he a hard-working man, but he was an unfailingly kind and caring husband, father, grandfather, and friend.  It is a true gift for one to have such physical grit and toughness and yet have the security and dignity to carry oneself with a gentle and soft spoken nature. 

Blessed with great longevity, Willard was able to enjoy many times with grandchildren and great grandchildren, who all loved him dearly.  Willard and Esther and the family traveled to Montana many times to fish and visit relatives, and later in life, he and Esther traveled together widely, often times with dear friends, Hank and Irma Slife.

Willard’s favorite past times included hunting and fly fishing for trout.  The Wedde Creek ran through his property and many a child enjoyed catching trout and Willard’s bridge thanks to his unwavering generosity.  Willard was one of a group of fly fishing legends who made hay in the 1950’s catching trout and sharing drinks, poker games, and laughs with Hilding Haag, Doc Dixon, Paul Griffith, John Lawton, and Don “Andy” Anderson.  Willard was the last of these legends.  He still talked about those old friends and the memories of fishing and good times from decades ago with a vividly sharp memory. 

Willard was a renowned deer hunter, using his trusty .308 until his last hunting season in 2016, at age 97.  He shot countless deer on his property, and family members and friends shot many more.  His home was a popular gathering place for hunters to come at night and see the deer, share stories and have a beer.   His deer hunting camp grew over the years to include his children, their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses, and even great grandchildren. 

In later years, Willard also enjoyed playing bingo in Dakota.  Willard also enjoyed going to listen to Maggie Mae country music in Oxford.  Willard was a member of St. Peters Lutheran Church for more than 75 years.

One short vignette that captures the essence of Willard Buchholz is that he had his knee replaced at age 92.  That is almost unheard of.  The doctor agreed to do it because of Willard’s excellent physical condition, but only if Willard promised to put the chainsaw down and stop cutting wood.  The doctor did the surgery.  But the Stihl was not yet ready for retirement.  This might be the only time Willard didn’t keep his word, but to him there was no reason not to be out cutting wood as long as he was able, and at age 92, he was still able to cut wood and so he did. 

Willard was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Esther (Schubert); his sisters, Hilda Fickel, Norma Jachthuber, Esther Matz; his son-in-law, Jesse Rivera; grandchildren, Doug Posorske and Deb Posorske.

Willard is survived by his two daughters, Karen (Larry) Posorske, Berlin and Mary Rivera, Westfield; four grandchildren, Brenda (Clint) Hartzke, Patricia (James) Miller, Jon Rivera and Meg Posorske; seven great grandchildren, Adam (Sara), Dr. Alyx and Anthony Posorske, Bella and Willard Miller, Caliber and Katera Hartzke; his best buddy, Wade; other relatives and friends.

A visitation for Willard will be held on Monday, July 2, 2018 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Steinhaus-Holly Funeral Home in Westfield and on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Richford.

A funeral service for Willard will be held on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Richford with Rev. Blaine Niskanen officiating.  Burial will be in Richford Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to Agnesian Hospice Hope, Fond du Lac or ALS Association Wisconsin Chapter. 

Willard was the salt of the earth.  They simply don’t make them any finer.  We are all lucky to have known and loved him. 

Please take a moment to view the online guestbook.  Send your condolences or share a memory of Willard with his family & friends.

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