Willard Engel, age 84, of Marshall, died on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., with family by his side. A memorial service was 3 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at Agape Fellowship in Marshall. Interment with military honors followed in the Marshall cemetery. A reception for attendees was held at the church. Visitation was 5–7 p.m. Friday, June 16, at Hamilton Funeral Home in Marshall. The evening concluded with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation continued one hour prior to his celebration, 2–3 p.m., on Saturday, at the church.
Willard James Engel was born May 3, 1939, in St. James, the son of William and Esther (Cooling) Engel. Willard grew up near Amboy and graduated with the Truman High School Class of 1956. He proudly served his country in the United States Army the following two years.
On June 8, 1958, Willard was united in marriage to schoolmate, Colleen Nickerson. The couple lived briefly in El Paso, Texas, where Willard finished his military commitment and upon his honorable discharge the couple moved back to a farm outside of Truman. Some years later they moved into town until 1975 when they made the move to Marshall, where they since resided.
Willard worked at several farm operations early in his career before moving to the Truman Elevator. In 1975 he accepted a position as general manager of the Lyon County Cooperative Oil, Co. in Marshall where he served for nearly 23 years prior to his retirement in 1997.
Willard was incredibly dedicated to his community and served in many roles over the years. Board positions included the PTA in Truman, for several churches, Western Co-op Transportation Association in Montevideo, Northwest Petroleum Association in St. Paul, Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, Marshall Cemetery Association, Farmland Industries in Kansas and Missouri, Farmland Insurance in Des Moines (Iowa) and Nationwide Insurance (serving in Ohio, Arizona, Wisconsin and Iowa). He was a charter member of the Marshall YMCA Board of Directors and also served as chair for both the Avera Marshall Foundation and the SMSU Foundation boards. In the time he had left, Willard also enjoyed serving others through the Rotary Club, driving for Western Community Action, volunteering as director for the Lyon County Red Cross, singing in quartets, playing golf, collecting old farm tractors, taking fishing trips, listening to music and chatting about politics.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Colleen of Marshall; three children, Drew (Julie) Engel of Marshall, Ward (Tracy) Engel of Burnsville and Erin (Bryan) Gleis of Balaton; seven grandchildren, Kristina (Chad) Evers, Jared (Meg) Engel, Jacob Engel, Natalie Engel, Austin Gleis, Alyssa Gleis and Riley Gleis; five great-grandchildren, Patrick, Lucas, Logan, Everly and Lilly; sister, Audrey Becker of Truman; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
Willard is preceded in death by his parents, William and Esther Engel, and parents-in-law, Stan and Mary Nickerson.
Arrangements were by Hamilton Funeral Home in Marshall. 507-532-2933. Guest book, service recording and tribute wall are available online at www.hamiltonfh.com.
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