Billie Olhoft of Norcross passed away at the Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria on December 28, 2006, having lived to reach the age of 85 years. Billie was born at the family home in rural Norcross on November 8, 1921 to parents William and Ethel (Cummings) Olhoft. He grew up in the Norcross area attending the Corndale Country School in rural Norcross through the eighth grade. In 1942, Billie enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was in active duty in the Pacific during WWII. In 1945, Billie was discharged from the Navy and returned home to Minnesota. After returning home, Billie farmed with his father. Soon after, he met his soulmate, Phyllis, at a dance in the hall in Norcross. They were married at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Norcross on June 28, 1947. After their marriage, Billie and Phyllis settled on a farm near Norcross, farming and raising their four children. Billie farmed together with his son, Barry, until Barry passed away from cancer in Nov. 1997. After Phyllis's death in 2004, Billie remained on the farm but retired from farming. He stayed at his home until he moved into the Knute Nelson Home in Alexandria in November, 2006. Billie was a member of the United Methodist Church in Norcross. He was a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge in Herman. Billie was also a lifelong member of the American Legion, serving as commander of the Norcross Legion in recent years. Billie had a love for John Deere machinery. His pride and joy was the John Deere 730 that he bought when it was brand new. He had it restored in recent years, and he was so proud to drive it in local parades. Billie loved to hunt, fish, and go bowling in earlier years. More recently, he enjoyed collecting John Deere toys and spending time with his family. He was devoted to his family, and always gave unconditional love and support to everyone. He will be sadly missed by his family and everyone who knew him. Billie is survived by three daughters: Sherry (Blake) DeCamp of Chokio, MN, Debra Olhoft of San Diego, CA, and Pam Christians of Morris, MN; seven grandchildren: Bobbi (Mike) Grear of Bennet, CO, Allison Berger of St. Paul, MN, Amanda (Terry) Schmidt of Herman, MN, Brandon (Christie) Olhoft of Morris, MN, Jayme and Taylor Christians of Morris, MN, and Courtney Olhoft of Bennett, CO; three great-grandchildren: Jessica and Seth Grear of Bennett, CO and Braylen Schmidt of Herman, MN; one brother, Vernon Olhoft of Norcross, MN and one sister, Alice Wycoff of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; one brother-in-law, Folkert Bruns of Herman, MN and one nephew, Lyndon (Jeannie) Bruns of Herman, MN and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Phyllis, and his son Barry; three brothers: Walter, Lawrence, and Kenneth Olhoft; and one sister: Gladys Bruns. Funeral services were held at First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, MN, at 2:00 PM on Wed., Jan. 3, 2007 with Pastor Mark Winther officiating. Visitation was held Tuesday evening at the Ranney Funeral Chapel in Wheaton from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM with an Odd Fellows prayer service at 7:00 PM. Pallbearers were Bob Dilly, Sr., Brad Johanson, Dean Olhoft, Blake DeCamp, Dwight Veldhouse, Scott Christians, Leon Berger. and Lyndon Bruns. Honorary pallbearers were all of Billie's many friends. Interment with military rites was in Wildwood Cemetery in Wheaton.
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