Willard E. Gerner

Willard E. Gerner, 88, from the town of Oakland, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2007 at the Countryside Home in Jefferson.

He was born in West Bend on Nov. 3, 1918, the son of Edwin and Milda (Groeschel) Gerner, and on July 24, 1945, Willard married Sylvia Fickert at St. Peter and Paulís Catholic Church in Nenno.

Willard and Sylvia farmed together in partnership in the West Bend area until 1955 when they moved to Oakland Township and continued farming.

They owned a large registered Milking Shorthorn herd and exhibited their show cattle throughout the years in many different states.

In 1989 they retired from dairy farming, but continued to grain farm in partnership with their son, Jeffrey, for several years thereafter.

Willard graduated from West Bend High School, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison Ag Short Course and Graham Artificial Breeding School.

He was an active member of The Jefferson County Farm Bureau, Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, State and National Milking Shorthorn Association and the Dairy Shrine Club.

He was a cattle judge for many national cattle shows throughout the nation.

Willard enjoyed his cattle, combining grain, mowing lawn, playing cards and spending time with his family and friends.

He was especially proud of the garden he helped care for during his time at Countryside Home.

Survivors include his wife, Sylvia of Fort Atkinson; five children, Jerold (Donna) Gerner of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Eugene (San-dra) Gerner of Tucson, Ariz., Donna (Donald) Damrow of Ju-neau, Phyllis (Patrick) Agnew of Oconomowoc and Jeffrey (Monica) Gerner of Fort Atkin-son; 15 drandchildren; 10 step-grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; three sisters, Winifred Gerner of West Bend, Beulah Leis-sring of Fredonia and Caroline Risse of Sling-er; brother and sisters-in-law, Bruno and Fabia Landini of Milford, Mass.; Rosemary Fickert of Campbellsport, Na-deane Yogerst formerly of Menomonee Falls; Marie Yogerst of West Bend; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceeded in death by his parents; brother and sister-in-law, Leslie and Enola Gerner of Whitewater; sister and brother-in-law, William and Harriet Steele of Oconomowoc; and three brothers-in-law, W. Ferdinand Fickert of Campbellsport, Harold Yogerst of Menomonee Falls and Hilbert Yogerst of West Bend.

A Funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson, with Fr. Bill Noland officiating.

Interment will be in the Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Atkinson.

Friends may call at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Wednesday starting at 9:30 a.m. until the time of service.

A luncheon will be held at the church after the interment and friends and family are welcome to attend.

Memorials may be made in Willardís name to Countryside Home of Jefferson, or made directly to the family.

Nitardy Funeral Home 1008 Madison Ave., Fort Atkinson, WI 53538, is assisting the family.

The family would like to give a special thanks to all the wonderful employees at Countryside Home for the wonderful care and compassion they gave Willard during his time there.