Willard Albert Graunke of Cannon Falls, formerly of Delano, passed away peacefully on October 4, 2013 at the age of 89. Willard was preceded in death by his parents Albert and Emma (Rolf) Graunke; his wife Charlotte; son David Graunke and a daughter-in-law Sandra (Goodman) Graunke. He is survived by his children Daniel (Mary Jo) Graunke, Dale (Lynn) Graunke, Jennifer (Michael) Griffith; grandchildren Daniel, Nicki (Rob), Alexis, Darrick, Jaime (Joe), Nicholas, Sean (Tara); great grandchildren, Logan, Caden, Lily, Noah, Tyler, Brayden, Evan, Savannah and Maci; sisters Leora, Donna, Carol, Myra and Janice.
Willard was born August 5, 1924 in Camden Township, Minnesota, graduated from High School in 1945 and on May 7, 1947 married his sweetheart, Charlotte Neisen. Willard and Charlotte raised their family in Delano, retired in Detroit Lakes and moved back to Cannon Falls to be close to family.
Willard grew up during the depression. His work life started at an early age, he was walking behind a plow horse at the age of 7, helping his father run the farm. As he grew older, he trapped, hunted, and fished to help provide for the family.
Willard owned a blacksmith shop in New Germany, moved to Delano, farmed, and started working for Minneapolis Moline. He became a Conservation Officer-Deputy Sheriff of Clay County, started and worked in the construction industry for many years and then retired.
While living in Delano, Willard was a member of the Delano Athletic Club, Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Delano Sportsman Club and helped start the youth gun training program here.
Willard was a WWII and Korean War Veteran who willingly and proudly served his country. During his service, he was a cook, paratrooper and sharpshooter.
Willard’s hobbies were playing cards, reading, gardening, fishing, and hunting.
Memorial Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Peter Catholic Church in Delano, Minnesota. Inurnment with military honors was in the Calvary Cemetery in Delano, Minnesota. Military Honors were provided by the Delano American Legion Post #377.