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Willard L. Ehrich, 76

Sep 20, 2015

Owatonna Willard L. Ehrich, age 76, of Owatonna, died after a valiant fight with Mesothelioma on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 at Homestead Hospice, in Owatonna.

Willard was born Jan. 4, 1939, in Elmore, the son of Walter and Ida (Hunt) Ehrich. He attended parochial and elementary school and graduated from Elmore High School in 1956. After graduating, he entered the army reserve and received an honorable discharge in August 1960.

He fell in love at first sight with Laurel Orthel and the couple later married in Buffalo Center, Iowa. They would have celebrated 55 years of marriage on Sept. 11. After their marriage, the couple made their home in Elmore before moving to New Ulm and on to Owatonna in 1967. Willard studied at the Dunwoody Institute. He worked with the Owatonna School System, Jostens and the Owatonna Canning Company Co. as the chief boiler operator.

He loved working with his hands and after completing his full-time work he would build twin homes and duplexes with the help from his sons. In his younger years Willard enjoyed trapping, hunting and more recently gardening vegetables and creating a beautiful flower garden where he spent many peaceful hours doing what he loved. Willard was also a member of the Kiwanis and helped with Meals on Wheels and the Bloodmobile.

He is survived by his loving wife Laurel Ehrich, of Owatonna; four sons, Tim (Traci) Ehrich, of Owatonna and their children, Travis and Anni (Nick) Yule; Jeff (Kathleen Luleff) Ehrich, of Euless, Texas and his children, Alexandria and Addison; Scott (Heather) Ehrich, of Rochester and their children, Jake and Spencer (Maddie); and Daniel Ehrich, of Rochester. Willard is also survived by two step grandchildren Melissa (Adam) and their son, Kayleb and Julie Sean); two great grandchildren, Charli and Luci Yule; a sister Irma Franke, of Blue Earth; two brothers Eldon (Janice) Ehrich, of Elmore; Arnold (Sharon) Ehrich, in Iowa; and special friend and her husband, Debbie (Bill) Rowlett.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and three brothers, Melvin, Ivan and Harland.

Funeral services were held Sept.14, 2015 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Rev. Mark Rosenau and Rev. Greg Schlicker officiated. Military honors were provided by the Steele County Military Funeral Unit.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Owatonna Home Care and Hospice or donor’s choice.