Cover photo for Thomas "Tom" E Willett's Obituary
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1933 Thomas 2020

Thomas "Tom" E Willett

June 16, 1933 — August 8, 2020

Thomas E. Willett, 87, of Fergus Falls, died Saturday, August 8, 2020, at his home.

Thomas Edward Willett was born June 16, 1933, in South Haven, MN, the son of Thomas Edward and Ruth Cecile (Swanson) Willett. He died August 8, 2020, at his “Home on the River” with his family. He was 87 years old.

He was baptized and confirmed at Annandale Lutheran Church in Annandale, MN. He grew up moving around Minnesota. His childhood was filled with fishing and hunting and his dogs.

After going to high school in Olivia, MN, he enlisted in the Navy. He spent most of his four years in the Korean War on a Navy Ship encountering four battles and was given an honorable discharge as a Chief Petty Officer. He was in the Navy Reserves for 20 years.

After the war, he met the love of his life, Jane. It was love at first sight for both of them. They married and had two children, Terry and Tom. They were married for 64 years. They have four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He went to Dunwoody Vocational School and learned the machine shop trade. After working for the University of Minnesota he got a job teaching machine shop and welding at the Fergus Falls Vocational School. He then went back to school and got his degree from Moorhead State University.

He loved his students. Through the years he couldn’t go anywhere in town without running into one of them, stopping to talk and catch up. Not every teacher receives shot guns or bottles of EJ for Christmas from their students! The first year teaching he and his students built the frame for the now famous Otter, on Grotto Lake.

Tom was a member of First Lutheran Church from the time they moved to Fergus Falls in 1971. He helped in many ways from washing dishes to being on the Council and just about everything in between.

He was a member of The Fish and Game Club, serving as president many times. He was member of the Legion and VFW, being a member of the Color Guard. He did the bugle for the Color Guard and the Veteran’s Home even after he had his stroke.

He was an excellent skeet and trap shooter, and passed his marksmanship to his children.

He really loved his volunteer work at the Fergus Falls Veterans Home. He would go into town sometimes three to four times a week and help bring the veterans to Ely for fishing trips.

Of course, he always loved to hunt and fish. He went to Canada on many fishing trips and numerous hunting trips for elk, bear, caribou and deer.

Most of all he loved his family. He was so proud of his family and the love we have for one another. He so enjoyed his time with his grandchildren when they were growing up. He and Jane took them on many trips and made sure they could go to games they played in sports, from grade school through high school.

After his stroke in 2016, he spent three years at the MN Veterans Home in Fergus Falls.

He is preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife, Jane Roberta; his daughter, Terry and her husband Tom Gervais; his son, Tom Willett and his wife Wendy; granddaughters, Dana and her husband Mike Seifert and Jamie and her husband Sam Lacy; grandsons, Tom Willett and Jim Willett; great-grandchildren, Olivia Siefert and Harper, Tennyson, Isabelle and Whitman Lacy; and SO many good friends.

Blessed by the memory of Tom Willett.

Masks required at graveside and please keep social distance from the family.

A Private Family Service will be held. Please refer to Tom’s tribute wall on the funeral home website for a Live-Stream of the service at 1:00 p.m.

A Public Graveside Service will be held 2:00 PM on Friday, August 14, 2020 at First Lutheran North Cemetery.
Clergy: Reverend Gretchen Enoch
Military Participation: Fergus Falls V. F.W. Post 612 and American Legion Post 30

Arrangements are provided by the Olson Funeral Home of Fergus Falls.
Online condolences may be sent to
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas "Tom" E Willett, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Live Stream Service

Friday, August 14, 2020

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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