Dennis Willert, age 84, of Lake Benton, Minnesota, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 23, 2024 at the Pipestone County Hospice House.  Visitation will be held on Monday, February 26, 2024 from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM at Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton.  Prayer Service will take place Monday at church at 6:30 PM.  Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 11:00 AM at Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton.  Interment will follow in the Diamond Lake Cemetery near Lake Benton.  Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hartquist Funeral Home – Pipestone Chapel.

Dennis Lee Willert was born on September 6, 1939 to Walter and Viola (Bebensee) Willert of rural Verdi. The eldest of two sons, Dennis learned, at an early age, the art of farming and tending livestock. During his formative years, he attended Verdi Public School in Verdi, MN where he graduated high school. He attended church at First English Lutheran, now Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton, where he was confirmed. On June 12, 1959, Dennis was married to his high school sweetheart, Darlene DeWeerd. For 64 years, Darlene has been his wife and partner through good times and bad.  To this special union five children were born, Kerry, Kristie, Kevin, Klint, and Dennis Jay.  Dennis and Darlene began their married life on a farm near Elkton, SD and then moved to farms near Ruthton and Holland, MN. Then, in November 1966 they purchased their current farm and home near Lake Benton, MN where they worked to grow their farming and livestock operation along with their children. Dennis was a devoted family man. Whether it was providing a listening ear, offering words of encouragement, or simply being present during both triumphs and trials, Dennis was a steadfast and supportive figure for all. He found joy in helping his children and grandchildren.  Dennis was a dedicated farmer who had a passion for crops and raising livestock. He found great pleasure in planting, tending, and harvesting his crops. Dennis continued to make hay, even as recently as this past summer. In addition to row crop farming Dennis was a busy dairyman tending to his herd of Holstein cows and selling milk to Land O’ Lakes Dairy for 40 years. Many hours were spent in the barn with the family.  Dennis was an Archer Oil dealer for 45 plus years.  He found joy in selling Archer Oil, calling on family, friends, and neighbors each year.  In his earlier years, Dennis belonged to a bowling league. Additionally, he enjoyed helping his children with 4-H projects. He liked to fish and take his family to Norwegian Creek after evening chores. He was an active member of a card club with special friends for over 55 years where they worked on mastering the game of Smear. Later in life, Dennis enjoyed connecting with friends and familiar faces at the Pipestone Sale Barn along with following the activities of his grandchildren including 4-H events and fairs. Dennis also enjoyed listening to Polka music on the radio. He enjoyed finding treasures at farm auctions and visiting with others about crops, grain prices, and livestock.

Dennis passed away peacefully with family at his side on Friday, February 23, 2024 at the Pipestone Hospice House in Pipestone, MN.

He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Darlene; children, Kerry of Keller, TX, Kristie Wildung (Stan Fopma) of Grinnell, IA, Kevin (Laura) of Kilgore, NE, Klint (April) of Aurora, SD and Dennis (Trista) of Brookings, SD; 14 grandchildren, Natalie, Rachel, Cassie, Collin, Wesley, Kesmond, Kestlyn, Xzavier, Denley, Huxley, Ayden, and Selwyn; one great-grandchild, Braxton; and special friends, Shane Johnson and Bill Grenz. Dennis is preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Viola Willert; brother, David Willert, and grandsons, Delbert Willert and Cuyler Willert; along with many other close family members.

Memorials will be donated to one of several local charitable organizations of the family’s choice.