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Willard M. Holcomb

Willard M. Holcomb

Willard M. Holcomb, age 91 of Elmwood, passed away peacefully on Friday, April 28, 2017 at the Heritage of Elmwood Nursing Home in Elmwood.

Willard was born March 16, 1926 in Minneapolis, MN.  He was the adopted son of Alvin and Bessie (Garfield) Holcomb and grew up in the Rock Elm Township, rural Elmwood.  Willard graduated from Elmwood High School in 1945.  Willard spent most of his life in the Rock Elm Township as a farmer.  He married Roberta Welch on June 11, 1948 at the Rock Elm United Methodist Church.  After marriage, they raised their family on the farm where a favorite activity was making maple syrup. They moved into the Village of Elmwood in 1985, where he remained the rest of his life.

Willard was a devoted and active member of the Rock Elm United Methodist Church and contributed to the making of hundreds of gallons of homemade ice cream of which many of you have enjoyed over the years.  He also spent many years as the caretaker of the Poplar Hill Cemetery and took great pride in caring for it. He loved making Christmas come alive for children. For over thirty years, he helped Santa (brother-in-law, Herb Husby) deliver presents to homes all over the countryside on Christmas Eve.

He had many hobbies including woodworking, making Heath Kit Radios and anything mechanical that had an engine.  He loved airplanes and was very close to obtaining his pilot’s license when a heart attack prevented that from happening, so he sought out small plane owners in the area who would take him flying.  Willard enjoyed taking his grandchildren and anyone who would go with him to ride the miniature trains in River Falls.  He loved old cars, John Deere tractors, camping with the family at Nugget Lake and chocolate! He had a wonderful sense of humor, loved to tell stories and laugh, but most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Willard is survived by his wife Roberta of 68 years, his children, Odell Portz (fiancé` Jim Evans), David (Tricia), and Ronald (Denise) Holcomb, Kay (Mark) Ellingson; 12 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.  He is preceded in death by his parents, a son Scott in 1983, and Scott’s wife, Laura Holcomb (Don) Bergelin in 2014.

Memorial services will be 11:00 AM Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Rock Elm United Methodist Church, rural Elmwood with Rev. Michael Weaver officiating.  Burial will be in the Poplar Hill Cemetery in the Township of Rock Elm.

Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Thursday at the Rhiel Funeral Home in Elmwood and one hour prior to services at the church on Friday.


  1. Margie Collett

    My sympathies to the Holcomb family. Willard was an active supporter of the Pierce County Ecumenical Choir in those early years. You were always there to help out. Willard, you were great fun to be around and Ron for sure shares that comical side. When I think of you, there is a warm spot in my heart.

  2. Renee Wood

    We loved visiting with Willard, he was a wonderful friend & neighbor to our family. He will be missed greatly.

  3. Jeanna Huebner-Teel

    I am so sorry for your loss, I have many fond memories of Wilard & the farm. I will miss him very much.

  4. Jan and Joe Drier

    Our Deepest Sympathy to the Holcomb Family!!

  5. LuAnn Mercer Holt

    So sorry to hear of Willard's passing. Sounds like he had a full and wonerful life. I fondly remember visiting Willard and Birdie with my mom and dad Leroy and Mildred Mercer. God bless Willard's family as you mourn.

  6. Ann Nelson Siegel

    My sympathies to Willard's family. My memories of him are in the shed making ice cream. Now he and Uncle John can make it together. Rest In Peace Willard.

  7. Judi and Gary Bauer

    Our sympathy to the Holcomb family. Remember our days when we used to meet up camping in various places. Tevi

  8. Kristina Holcomb

    My deepest sympathy to all of you. I have many fond memories of Willard. I'll miss his laugh & stories.

  9. Robbie Crump

    My thoughts and prayers are with you & your family over the loss of your father! Wishing you peace in God's Promise!

  10. Ann Webb

    Sympathy to the entire Holcomb family. Another great man from Elmwood joins heaven. Image him and Herb catching up!

  11. P Bowen

    Cal and I will have continued fond memories of Willard. Our sincerest condolences from the Bowen Family (TX) to the Holcomb family as they pray for their loved one. Rest in Eternal Peace, Willard. You were loved.

  12. Charles DeMaris

    Blessings and peace for all. Willard was a most dignified genial man. Glad we knew him. The Lord bless him and all who loved Willard.

  13. Mike and Sue Lovell

    Willard was a wonderful man, we will never forget our time working on the farm. We send our Prayers for the family.

  14. Frank Holt

    My condolences to the Holcomb family. Willards quick wit, his stories and his great sense of humor will be missed. He was a fun guy to be around. God bless.

  15. Mark Gibson

    If Life is measured by the amount of Love folks have for you then Grandpa Willard surely got his Gold medal at the Pearly Gates.

  16. Suzi Crownhart

    My condolences to Willard's Family - he was a wonderful guy!

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