Howard William Volkart, 101, passed away at his home, Sunday, July 12, 2020, of natural causes surrounded by his family. The day before he passed, Howard said the following to a granddaughter who had wanted him to write the story of his life: “I wrote the first line. I was born on a farm in Pleasant City and died on a farm in Minnesota City, with a view of the Wisconsin bluffs. So for over 100 years, I’ve seen a lot of Gods nature and creation. You can fill in the rest of what happened in between.”
Howard graduated from Winona High School in 1937. He was a pilot in the Army Air Corps from 1942-1945, serving as an instructor. After the war he came home and became a dairy farmer. He married Gladys Church in 1946. They raised three children and enjoyed their life together on the farm. She died in 2016, just months short of their 70th wedding anniversary. Howard was active in his community, serving on the Rollingstone Township Board, Midland Cooperative Board and committees at his longtime church, McKinley Methodist.
Howard enjoyed fishing and hunting and survived the Armistice Day Blizzard, in the Mississippi River bottoms. He liked playing 500, scrabble, reading, beekeeping, gardening, wood carving, all the cats and loyal dogs on the farm and watching birds and wildlife. He so appreciated the beauty of his farm and woods, and enjoyed watching the seasons change. Howard was a good mechanic, carpenter and all-around handyman. He could make things out of old odds and ends and saved a LOT of stuff, “in case we might need it for something!”
He was preceded in death by his wife, Gladys; parents, Albert and Elizabeth (Johnson) Volkart; mother and father-in-law, Raymond and Christina Church; his sister, Violet Buswell and her husband, Warner; his brothers and sisters-in-law, Russell and Edith Church, Roy and Olive Buswell and Vera Reps.
Howard is survived by his children, Bruce (Carmen) Volkart of Medina; Greg (Mary) Volkart of Winona and Nancy Volkart O’Malley (Tim) of Arden Hills; nine grandchildren, Brannon (Heidi) Volkart, Kate (Jim) Crowell, Aaron (Kira) Volkart, Megan Volkart (Matt Bonniwell), Andy (Stesha) Volkart, Kim Volkart, Michelle (Josh) Kilgore, John (Kimberly) O’Malley, Liz O’Malley (Zach Moxham); and 13 great-grandchildren. He was so glad to hear a few days before he passed, that there was another great-grandchild on the way!
His family feels so lucky to have had his wisdom, wit and love for so long and we will all miss him tremendously. He has left us a wonderful legacy of love and family. We know that Gladys and his beloved yellow lab, Mitzi, were waiting for him.
A private funeral with military honors will be Saturday, July 18, at Oakland Cemetery. A celebration of his life will be held at a later time on his farm, when the pandemic is over.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Winona Area Hospice, 175 East Wabasha St., Winona, Minn., 55987; or Freedom Honor Flight, PO Box 505, La Crosse, Wis., 54602-0505.
Services entrusted to Fawcett Junker Funeral Home & Crematory, Winona and Fountain City, Wis. Words of sympathy and remembrance can be given at www.fawcett-junkerfuneralhome.com.
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