Willard Dean James passed away January 26, 2022 surrounded by his family.
Willard was born on April 11, 1935 to John and Bertha James, the 7th of 11 siblings. Willard spent his childhood in Elk River until the age of 22 when he married the love of his life Carol Peavey. The couple moved to New Brighton, MN. They spent 10 years there until they bought an old schoolhouse in Otsego, MN, which they remodeled and made it their home for the past 54 years, where they raised 5 children, Debbie (Kanouse), Denise (Mark) Billstrom, Deanna (Tim) Greninger, Dan (Christine) James, and Duane (Cynthia) James. Willard was a draftsman for a short time until he went to drive for Elk River Ready Mix where he spent the rest of his working years.
Willard loved woodworking and was a talented cabinet builder that can be seen in his home. Willard also loved collecting toys, art, and music. In retirement, Willard and Carol spent the winters in Arizona to avoid the Minnesota cold.
Willard was preceded in death by his parents, John and Bertha; 2 sisters, Ruth “Sis” and Mildred; 2 brothers, Kenny “Bud” and Clyde, and 1 grandson, Shawn Billstrom.
Willard is survived by his wife Carol and his 5 children. Funeral service Monday, January 31, 2022, 2PM with a visitation starting at 1 PM all at Peterson-Grimsmo Chapel 250 E. Broadway Monticello, MN. Interment Otsego Cemetery. Arr. Peterson-Grimsmo Chapel 763-295-2918 www.petersongrimsmochapel.com
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