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Willard Ystenes

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Willard Ystenes

April 23, 1944-Jan. 3, 2014

Willard "Willy" A. Ystenes, 69, of Audubon, died Friday, January 3, 2014 at Essentia Health-St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes.

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Services are set for 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 9 at the Northwest Harvest Barn Cowboy Church, rural Detroit Lakes, with Pastor Brian Erickson officiating. There will be visitation for one hour prior to services.

David-Donehower Funeral Home, Detroit Lakes, is serving the family.

Willard Allen Ystenes was born to Willam and Augusta (Fliflet) Ystenes on April 23, 1944 in Fertile, Minn. He grew up on a farm near Bear Park, Minn., with his parents and seven sisters.

When he was 17, he left the farm and joined the U.S. Navy, completing his basic training in San Diego, Calif. He was then stationed in New Iberia, La. After the military, he met and married his best friend, Avis Brtek of Bejou. They were married in Deadwood, S.D., and lived in Lead, S.D., where he worked at the Homestake Gold Mine.

They later moved back to Minnesota, where he worked various construction jobs in Minneapolis. He then worked at Kost Brothers in Moorhead, which was the start of his lifelong career as an over-the-road truck driver.

Willy worked for various trucking companies over the years including Merle Hough Trucking, Cossette Trucking, Rocor Transportation and Prime, Inc., where he worked 20-plus years.

While at Prime, Inc., he won several awards for on time delivery and safety. He was also a member of the Millionaire Program, driving over 4 million safe miles during his career.

Willy retired from Prime, Inc., in 2006 due to some health issues, but he didn't stay retired for long. He started working at the Audubon Co-Op Elevator, driving locally, and was employed there at the time of his death.

Whether you had just met Willy or knew him for many years, you always parted ways with him as a friend. He always had an encouraging word or a good joke to tell.

Willy taught himself to play guitar and entertained many people over the years. He loved to play while he was at home and also at family gatherings.

Willy was a kind and caring man who enjoyed spending time with friends and family, going for drives in the country and reading his daily devotionals.

He will be dearly missed!

Willy is survived by his wife of 49 years; his children, Terry (Sandy) of Downer, Minn., Natalie (Daniel) Bergstrom of Rochert and Anita Ystenes of Detroit Lakes; his sisters, Myrna Cigelski of Mahnomen, Diane (Van) Larson of East Grand Forks, Arla (Mark) Jensrud of Fertile, Norma (Willard) Johnson of Crookston, Laurel Ystenes of Crookston, Eileen (Phil) Basile of Fort Worth, Texas, and JoAnn (Steve) Smith of Ft. Worth; several grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his parents; several aunts, uncles and cousins; his niece, Shannon and his granddaughter, Tehya.

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