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Herbert Junior Willard "Herb"

October 13, 1934 — January 8, 2022

Herbert Junior Willard "Herb"

Herb passed away on January 8th, 2022 at home with family at his side. Herbert J. Willard was born to Herbert and Eva (Lederer) Willard on October 13, 1934, in Bay City Michigan. He never knew his father, who passed away before he was born. As a result, he had a very special relationship with his brother Clifford, who often took on the role of a father, as well as a brother and a friend.
After marrying the love of his life, Marlene Pierson, on October 17 1953 he joined the Air Force serving as an airplane mechanic. After discharge from the Air Force, they returned together to Bay City to raise their family. When his family was young, he worked at Defoe Shipbuilding. He later worked as an electrician for RWC until his retirement. They enjoyed their many years of retirement at their home on the bay, enjoying the views, drinking coffee, and spending time with their children, grandchildren, and great-children. In her last years, Marlene, who had always kept their life in order, suffered from Alzheimer's, and he adapted quickly to his new role as her caretaker.
He and Marlene filled their 67 years together with love for each other and their children, grandchildren, and eventually great grandchildren. He found community at their church, Mount Olive Lutheran, and enjoyed time with extended family and entertaining friends. They often camped throughout the state with family and friends.
Herb was often a man of few words, an observer of life who commanded attention when he did have something to say. He was an avid fisherman and woodworker, jack of all trades, an amazing cook, and a devoted husband to Marlene. He will be missed by his family and many friends, but they rejoice in the fact that he is once again reunited with his beloved "Mar".
He is survived by his children Randy (Sherri) Willard, Susan (Dell) Thompson, and Shari (Dennis) VanPelt; His grandchildren Sarah (Dan Keeler) Willard, Ryan (Dana) Vanpelt, Aaron Willard, Jeffrey Thompson, Rebekah Willard, Benjamin (Stephanie Steichen) Thompson, Nick (Amanda) Thompson, and Deni VanPelt; His great grandchildren Sam, Gabriel, Cecilia, and Levi Keeler, and Kaiden, Kamden, Kinzee, and Krew Thompson; along with many nieces, nephews, and other extended family members.
His family would like to thank the staff of McLaren Hospice, who helped him through the end of Marlene's life, and then through his own last months. The family is forever grateful that Herb was able to stay at home in these last months thanks to the wonderful care of his son Randy and daughter-in-law Sherri.
Funeral and Committal service will take place on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Mt. Olive Ev. Lutheran Church, with Military Honors taking place at the church after the service. Officiating will be Pastor Zach Steinke with private interment in Floral Gardens Cemetery. Friends may visit at the Gephart Funeral Home on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Herb will be taken to the church to lie in state on Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Contributions may be made to Mt. Olive Ev. Lutheran Church. For online condolences. www.gephartfuneralhome.com
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Herbert Junior Willard "Herb", please visit our flower store.

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