Willis "Willie" J. Cambern, 73, of Fountain, died Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at the Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield.
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Willie was born June 28, 1940, in Preston, to Daniel and Evelyn (Smith) Cambern. He attended school in Preston, where he graduated from Preston High School in 1958. He served in the United States Army from 1963-1965 as a cook and baker. During Army service he was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, when the 1964 earthquake took place. On Oct. 23, 1965, he married Leona M. "Beezie" Jech at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Rochester.
Willie and Beezie owned and operated Willie's Grocery & Locker in Fountain since 1972. Willies warm and inviting smile, gift of gab, and genuine love and interest in his customers made him a community icon. Whether you came for a ring of Bologna, or a conversation full of baloney, chances are you left with a smile on your face after spending time with Willie.
While he was very proud of his store, Willie's greatest joy came from time spent with his family. His grandchildren were the light of his life.
His is survived by his wife of 48 years, Leona of Fountain; daughter, Kimberly (Ken) Anderson of Crosslake and son, Darrin (Sarah) Cambern of Fountain; grandchildren, Alyse, Riley and Ella. Also surviving are brothers, Daniel (Marjorie) of Fountain and Ernest of Preston; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Willie enjoyed polka music, whistling and helping others. He loved the community of Fountain. He served as the Fountain Fire Chief from 1965-1975. He often connected with children that came into the store, referring to them as future customers.
Willie is preceded in death by his parents and infant sister.
A funeral service celebrating the life of Willie will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 23, at the Fountain United Methodist Church, with Rev. Deanna Woodward officiating. Willie was an active member the church for many years. Do to limited space at church, an overflow area will be available for friends to gather during the service at the Fountain Community Center. Burial with military honors will be accorded by Fountain American Legion Post 492 at the Fountain Lutheran Cemetery. Following the service a luncheon will be served at the community center.
Visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Riley Funeral Home in Chatfield. Visitation will continue one hour prior to services at the church.
Willie's family wishes to extend their deepest thanks and gratitude to all the staff at the Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield, for the outstanding care and support given to Willie and his family during his final days.
Riley Funeral Home in Chatfield is assisting the family with arrangements. 507-867-4310. rileyfuneralhomes.com
Riley Funeral Home - Chatfield
800 Main Street South Chatfield, MN 55923
Published in The Post-Bulletin on Mar. 20, 2014