Skadsem, Willis LaVerne (1941-2011)

Willis Skadsem, 69, died Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 at his home in Strandquist.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 24, at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, with Rev. Curtis Matz officiating. Casket bearers included David Bach, Ralph McKeever, Nick Maurstad, Larry McKeever, Ronnie Skadsem and Evan Maki. Military honors were provided by the Middle River American Legion.Interment was held at Opdahl Cemetery, rural Newfolden.

Willis LaVerne Skadsem was born March 25, 1941 to Oscar and Nellie (Johnston) Skadsem, in the little log home in New Maine Township, Marshall County. He joined six siblings at home, Doris, Orville, Norris, Alfreda, Vi and Mickey.

He was baptized at Mercy Hospital in Thief River Falls. He attended school in Newfolden.

Willis had a speech problem, he stuttered, but he could sing and never miss a beat. When he was 13 years old, he was able to attend a speech camp held at Red Wing. There, they taught him to be bold and walk up to strangers and interview them. Willis gained a wealth of confidence in himself and turned into quite an adventurer. He and friends traveled throughout the country and worked at whatever jobs they could land, to get them to their next destination. With so many siblings, there was usually one in a state they landed in. Willis was a very good singer and guitar player. He got his first guitar at an early age and taught himself to play. He was passing this talent along to his grandson, Hunter.

Willis served in the United States Army in 1960. He married Barbara Jean Garfve on Feb. 8, 1964 in Newfolden. To this union, were born three wonderful children, LuJean, Lorna and Lonnie. They brought tremendous joy and pride to his life.

Willis worked with heavy equipment. He was very good at his profession and never lacked employment. He worked on several huge projects including the Denver Airport.

Willis and Karen Hendrickson Skadsem were married on Oct. 31, 1985. They have lived all over the USA including, Georgia, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Willis retired in 2000 and they settled in Strandquist.

He was a member of the Middle River American Legion. He enjoyed playing cards and bingo. He also liked gardening and deer hunting. He also attended many of the grandchildren’s events.

Willis is survived by his wife, Karen; daughters, LuJean (Terry Tonneson) Newell of Ceylon, Lorna (Donavan) Nelson of Gillette, Wyo., son, Lonnie (Autum) Skadsem of Middle River; three step-sons, Chuck (Rhonda) Skadsem of Newfolden, Brian (Tami) Skadsem of Chisholm and Jason Skadsem of Newfolden; eight grandchildren, Nick, Jay and Kaitlyn Maurstad, Andrea (Nick Jorstad) Maki, Evan Maki, Hunter, Hallie and Ashley Skadsem; one greatgranddaughter, Kaycee May Jorstad; step-grandchildren, Corey, Craig, Jake and Zachery Skadsem, Tara and Cole Skadsem and Savannah Johnson Skadsem; step-great grandchildren, Gage and Kasey; one brother, Orville (Fran) Skadsem of Thief River Falls; three sisters, Alfreda Bach of Thief River Falls, Vi (Roy) Anderson of Thief River Falls, and Mickey (David) Anderson of Geyser, Mont.; one aunt, Lucile Skadsem, Newfolden, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his son, LaVerne Willis; his parents; brother, Norris; sister, Doris Kliner; brothers-in-law, Robert Kliner, Ralph McKeever and Jens Bach.

Found at: Johnson Funeral Service

Transcribed by: Cheryl Srnsky