HOLLAND, Ohio – Willard Henry Burmester, 94, of Holland, Ohio, died Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at home in Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek, Holland. |
He was born on May 19, 1918, in Waterman, to Carl and Anna Burmester, where he was raised and graduated from high school. He married Mary-Lou Hiatt on June 2, 1940, and they lived in several locations around the country, raising a family of four children and assorted dogs and other animals.
Willard served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He moved with Mary-Lou to various locations in the United States in preparation for deployment to the war in the Pacific as part of the Army Air Corps. Because of SNAFUs with communication, his deployment never happened, and he and Mary-Lou returned to civilian life in DeKalb. Willard's working career was spent entirely with the J.C. Penney Co., beginning on the sales floor and advancing to store operations. From the store in DeKalb, he progressed to larger stores in Huntington, Ind.; Battle Creek, Mich.; South Bend, Ind.; and Toledo, Ohio. In each location, Willard and Mary-Lou made new friends, became active in church and continued to nurture their family.
After 45 years, Willard retired and became a full-time general contractor so he and Mary-Lou could build their "dream home" for retirement in the Hocking Hills area of southeastern Ohio. Working with his own hands and Mary-Lou's supervision, along with occasional help from friends and family, he created "The Patch" in the woods, where they continued their love affair with squirrels, raccoons, deer, turkeys and other birds. Even in his advancing age, Willard worked tirelessly to keep The Patch in shape, growing tomatoes on the roof (the only reliably sunny location) and feeding the critters.
The family remembers his sense of humor, the twinkle in his eyes when he would tease Mom, his continuing maintenance of all things mobile, and his ingenuity in making something from nothing or from the amazing assortment of discarded parts and components he saved – just in case. His creations included roof-top carriers and mobile cabinets for camping, trailers with lights that worked only after the family was loaded into the car, and tools for every occasion. In addition to being a truly sweet man, he was the rock for his family and they will miss him dearly. They take comfort knowing he is reunited with Mary-Lou in eternity with his Lord, leaving four children, Joe, Peggie, Jeff and Greg; six grandchildren, Leslie, Matt, Jake, Bethany, Shawn and Rita; and four great-grandchildren.
Visitation was Dec. 7, at Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, 501 Conant St., Maumee, Ohio. Funeral services were held Dec. 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 4560 Glendale Ave., Toledo, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, The State of Ohio Park System or the
Online condolences can be shared with the family at www.WalkerFuneralHomes.com.
Published in Daily Chronicle on Dec. 12, 2012