William Joyce Wildman, 97, of Willmar, died Wednesday, January 6th at Bethesda Grand in Willmar. His funeral will be 2:00 pm, Saturday, January 9th at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar. Facial coverings will be required along with social distancing. Interment with Military Honors by American Legion Post #167 will be in Fairview Cemetery in Willmar. A recording of his service will be posted to our website following the service. www.hafh.org
All of his life, he was called, “Joyce.” He was born February 25, 1923, in Burtrum, MN, the son of Clyde and Hattie (Johnson) Wildman. He attended country school through the eighth grade in Greenwood where he earned the job of starting the fire for the teacher which he did for 15₵ per day except for Monday’s when he earned 25₵! In 1936 he bought a farm and a tractor for $600, but following the start of WW II he enlisted in the US Army, at the age of 20, and served honorably in Austria and Germany and was discharged on June 29, 1946. After he was discharged, he returned to the farm.
On August 19, 1947, he was united in marriage to Mildred Ruth Faust, a school teacher. They farmed in Todd County until 1956 when they moved to Buffalo where Joyce served as an artificial inseminator of dairy and beef cattle for Minnesota Valley Breeders for 15 years. During this time, he was awarded for servicing 5,000 cows in one year. In 1970 they moved to Springfield where he drove the direct service truck for Minnesota Valley Breeders covering the Dakotas and southern Minnesota. It was while living in Springfield where they were founding members of “Levi’s and Lace” square dancing club. In 1977 he became a salesman for Minnesota Harvestore, selling the “big blue structures” in Renville and Meeker Counties.
In 1979 they chose to move to Willmar to spend their retirement years. In his semi-retirement years, he worked as a bailiff for Kandiyohi County, volunteered as a driver for family services and worked at Lakeland Nursery. He also transported cars for Mills Automotive.
He spent 28 years as caretaker of their 4-flex apartment building, manicuring shrubs to perfection and tending to the green lawn. Later, they moved to a townhome and he purchased a sewing machine at a garage sale and they rolled bandages for the White Cross distribution in Africa. Continuing to work part-time, Joyce did janitorial services for PALS and bottled turkey semen for Willmar Poultry. Not only did he sew, he cut blocks and sewed patches together while helping Mildred make quilts for their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Joyce had a strong work ethic and being a humble man, he always found something to do to be productive and benefit others. He took an interest in growing top notch geraniums.
He had been attending Living Hope in Willmar where he volunteered as an usher, greeter and attended adult Sunday school.
Surviving him are his daughters, Cherie (Roger) DeYoung of Hugo, Connie (Rev. Mike) McCain of New London, and Cindy (John) Haugland of Litchfield; nine grandchildren, Rev. Jodi (Ben) Moore, Darren (Amy) DeYoung, Rachael (Jesse) Evers, Dillon (Hayley) Anderson, Kirsten Haugland, Erika (Buddy) Hixon, Marci (Beau) Golberg, Garrett (Amanda) McCain and Lori McCain and 15 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife, Mildred, on June 13, 2017, three sisters and four brothers-in-law.
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