Howard ‘Jerry’ Willyard hails from the sturdy stock of North Dakota. Born on March 2, 1930 in Carrington, North Dakota, Jerry died on July 7, 2022 at the age of 92, at his residence in the senior living community of Arlington Place, Oelwein, IA.
Jerry was the salt of the earth; an unpretentious, strong, direct, steady and contented man. He raised two exceptional children and enjoyed an enviable, lifelong, loving marriage. He understood there are no greater rewards in life.
Jerry’s passions were his family, golf, friends, cribbage, poker, Euchre and more golf. He also enjoyed woodworking, taking care of his yard and building an HO model railroad for the enjoyment of his friends and grandkids. He was a member of the North Dakota National Guard, a veteran of the Korean War (1951-1952) and was awarded two Purple Hearts and various other commendations. Jerry is also the much-envied holder of three Aces (holes-in-one), and played in the storied, annual Waukon Golf Invitational for 30 years. His 39-year profession in the LP gas business took his family to Carrington, ND, Lewiston, MN, Rushford, MN, Waverly, IA, New Hampton, IA, Waukon, IA and back to Rushford, where he retired from Cenex/Land O’ Lakes in 1992. After retirement, the Willyards moved to Oelwein to be closer to family. Jerry looked forward every spring and fall to helping his son-in-law, Ronnie Graf, with the planting and harvesting of corn and beans.
Jerry won the lottery when he met and married Arliss, on November 9, 1952. Arliss died on October 9, 2019 and she and Jerry have been patiently waiting to be reunited. With Arliss, is when Jerry has always been most at peace.
Jerry is survived by daughter Sandra Graf of Oelwein, son Montel (Lori) Willyard of West Des Moines, granddaughter Jennifer (Ron) Worrell of Cedar Falls, grandson Shane Galligan of Ankeny, great grandchildren Samantha (Jason) Grill of Aplington, Jamie Worrell of Cedar Falls, Henry and Claudia Galligan of Ankeny, great-great-grandchildren Orion, Juniper, Birdie and Flora Grill of Aplington, brothers Alan (Cynthia) Willyard of Carrington, ND and James (Mary) Willyard of Anoka, MN. He was preceded in death by his wife Arliss, son-in-law Ronnie Graf, brothers Edward, Wells and George and his parents Warren and Edythe (Zink) Willyard.
Visitation will be from 9:00-11:00 AM on Wednesday July 13, 2022 at the Geilenfeld-Buehner Funeral Home in Oelwein. Military honors will begin at 10:45 AM with funeral services to follow at 11:00 AM with Pastor Josh Schunk officiating.