Arnold Willaby

Obituary of Arnold James Willaby

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Arnold “Sonny” James Willaby was born August 19, 1931 to James and Myrtle (Peterson) Willaby in Selma Township Cottonwood County. He entered his eternal home on August 13, 2022. He received his education through eighth grade from Mayflower School District #61 Country School in Cottonwood County and graduated from Comfrey High School in 1948, after which he farmed with his father. They had dairy cows, pigs, chickens and a few beef cattle. Arnold married the love of his life, Leona Schultz, on April 6, 1953 at Zion Lutheran Church in Springfield, MN, where they were lifelong members. Arnold and Leona enjoyed 69 years of marriage together and were blessed with four sons and one daughter. Arnold, known to many as Sonny, helped his sons begin their farming operation and enjoyed farming alongside them throughout his life. Over the years, he fattened beef feeder cattle and grew corn and soybeans. Together, he and Leona taught their children how to work hard and care for the land. Sonny was also involved in his community. He served as the President of the Comfrey Shipping Association and was a Funk’s Seed Corn salesman for several years. He was also a member of the Cottonwood County Beef Producers and was awarded Beef Producer of the year in 1990. Sonny had a passion for “working with cattle” and enjoyed the relationships he made with other beef producers and cattle buyers. Sonny loved spending time on the farm with his grandchildren and taught them many life lessons through fun and hard work. His grandchildren have fond memories of doing chores at “The Other Place,” driving tractor while rock picking, fishing at Bingham Lake, and playing Tripoley around the dinner table. One of their favorite memories was building a tree house together in grandpa and grandma’s backyard. When ending time with his grandchildren, he would always remind them to, “Not work too hard,” referring to their various school activities so that they would return soon to visit him back on the farm. When his great grandchildren were born, even more smiles followed as he would continually light up with every opportunity to see them. Even into his late 80s, Sonny never stopped working hard to ensure the farm was well taken care of. He showed this through mowing the yard and road ditches, spraying for weeds on his four-wheeler, and driving grain truck to help his sons during harvest. When not working, he stayed informed with the latest farm news over a cup of coffee or his favorite meals made by Leona, which always ended with a dessert and ice cream. Arnold is survived by his wife, Leona; sons, Daniel (Nancy), Douglas, Dennis, Dean (Stephanie) of Mt. Lake, Debra (Andy) Voit of Shakopee, grandchildren, Aron (Kendra), Krystle, Derrick, Travis, Matt (Jordan), Jared (Grace), Brett, Andrew Voit, Alyssa Voit; and five great grandchildren; sisters, Irene Bochman, Myrtle (Jim) Vrieze; sister-in-law, Melva Willaby. He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Leo; sisters, Dorothy (Cyril) Stelzer, Arlene (Arnold) Schultz, and Phyllis (Jack) Ellenson. Other relatives include brother-in-law, Bud Bochman; daughter-in-law, Tammy Willaby; and grandson, Adam Willaby. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting to make your donation to Zion Lutheran Church, Springfield or the charity of your choice.
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Friday
19
August

Visitation 1

4:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, August 19, 2022
Sturm Funeral Home, Mountain Lake Chapel
420 - 10th St. N.
Mtn. Lake, Minnesota, United States
Saturday
20
August

Visitation 2

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Zion Lutheran Church-Springfield
122 W. Central St
Springfield, Minnesota, United States
Saturday
20
August

Service Information

1:30 pm
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Zion Lutheran Church-Springfield
122 W. Central St
Springfield, Minnesota, United States

Interment Information

Zion Lutheran Cemetery - Springfield
Address not given
Springfield, Minnesota, United States
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Arnold