Willard "Bill" Prigge Profile Photo
1938 Willard "Bill" 2024

Willard "Bill" Prigge

May 29, 1938 — March 14, 2024

Winona

Willard “Bill” Reuben Prigge

May 29th, 1938 – March 14th, 2024                              

Willard “Bill” Reuben Prigge was born on a beautiful Sunday in late May 1938. Arriving on The Lord’s Day was a very appropriate start for this man who certainly led his life by the guidance of his Creator. Throughout the next 31,336 days (yes… 85+ years), there was an exemplary life filled with faith, family, and farming. On June 15th, 1938, he was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church (Silo) in rural Lewiston, MN.  During his childhood years, he grew up on the family farm in Hillsdale Township and attended country school at a location that is across the road from what would eventually be his final residence.

On April 6th, 1952, he was confirmed in his Christian faith at Immanuel Lutheran Church (Silo).    Plus, he proved to be a quick study as he wrapped up his formal education in 8th grade at Immanuel Lutheran School (Silo).  He excelled as a student and could’ve been valedictorian of his class. However, considering his humble manner, he passed on this recognition knowing full well he was needed on the farm rather than moving on to more schooling. This early start did not deter him from continuing with passion for this lifestyle over the next 70+ years.

As a proud American, he did take a couple of years to serve his country in the U.S. Army from 1961-1963 and spent a portion of that time in Germany serving during the Berlin Crisis. Upon returning, he picked up his farming duties and had some fun. Part of this fun was attending dances at the popular Pla-Mor ballroom where a particular farm girl from East Chain, MN caught his attention. She was living in Rochester and working as a nurse but soon would not be able to resist moving back to the farm. This young lady, Joanne Lenort, became his wife in 1968. 

It was now time to start expanding his farming passion which meant he would need some assistance. So, they wasted no time in adding to the family as their firstborn daughter Teresa was born in June 1969 followed by Terry, Torrey, Tracy, Trevor, Tamara, and 7th (and final) child Thomas, born just a little over ten years later in September 1979.  This was quite a busy decade, complete with purchasing a couple of farms and keeping this growing pack of children exploring and growing. Each of them had a great opportunity to assist and learn on the farm, as Bill was eager to teach his passion. 

As the busy years passed, much time was spent at Silo, considering his children attended school there through 8th grade.  He was very active in many of the leadership groups here and, in addition to regular worship and fellowship, he enjoyed supporting many school events that became traditions. The Silo community became like a 2nd family.  Eventually, his farmhands (ok…his children) became adults and soon came the joy of weddings and the excitement of many birth announcements. Grandpa Bill shared love, wisdom, and faith with his 22 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, who are all tremendous blessings.  He also took great pride in being able to continue farming with his family throughout all his years. While he passed the reigns down to the next generations, he never truly retired.  He remains the all-time Prigge Family Farm Volunteer of the Year! While farming and family kept Bill busy and happy, he always had time for his neighbors and friends.  Many stories can be recalled and shared about how Bill had a hand in the fun yet also helped get things done.  He was a man deeply rooted in faith, family, the value of hard work, and the sense of community.  While Bill is welcomed to eternal life with God above, his family will always hold him close in their hearts.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Adolph and Frieda Prigge, father-in-law and mother-in-law Felix and Agnes Lenort, brother John Prigge, sister Gladys Ellinghuysen and brother-in-law Marvin Ellinghuysen, sister Margaret Timm, sister-in-law Janice Lenort, brother-in-law Edwin Lenort, and son-in-law Jeff Fortsch. 

He is survived and cherished by his beloved wife Joanne and their children: Teresa Fortsch - Lewiston, Terry (Jana) Prigge – Winona, Torrey (Heather) Prigge – River Falls WI, Tracy (Kirk) Shipler – Lester Prairie, Trevor (Terri) Prigge – Winona, Tamara (Jason) Kreidermacher - Altura, and Thomas (Michelle) Prigge – Winona. He was also very proud of each of his 22 grandchildren, which includes: Jordan Fortsch, Marah (Tyler) Collins, Jade Fortsch, Adam Prigge, Cody (Elizabeth) Prigge, Elizabeth Prigge, Emily Prigge, Mason Prigge, Morgan Prigge, Katelyn Shipler, Caleb Shipler, Samuel Shipler, Ellie Shipler, Tiegan Prigge, Tyson Prigge, Sierra Kreidermacher, William Kreidermacher, Wyatt Kreidermacher, Clara Kreidermacher, Quinn Kreidermacher, Victoria Prigge, and Lillian Prigge. His three great-grandchildren include David Prigge, Kaylynn Prigge, and Loretta Collins.  Plus, another baby Collins is on the way.

Further survivors include brothers and sisters-in-law John and Arlene Meyer (Pine Island), Jeff and Christine Ganahl (Bloomington), Mary Lou Lenort (Fairmont), David Timm (Altura), and  Barb Prigge (Pine Island).

Funeral services for Bill will be 11 a.m., Friday, March 22nd at Immanuel Lutheran Church – Silo with the Reverend Bert Mueller officiating.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.  Visitation will be at the church from 4-8 p.m. Thursday and 10 – 11 a.m. Friday.  Hoff Funeral Service of Lewiston is assisting the family with arrangements.  www.hofffuneral.com.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, March 21, 2024

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Immanuel Lutheran Church - Silo

22591 County Rd 25, Lewiston, MN 55952

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Friday, March 22, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Immanuel Lutheran Church - Silo

22591 County Rd 25, Lewiston, MN 55952

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, March 22, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Immanuel Lutheran Church - Silo

22591 County Rd 25, Lewiston, MN 55952

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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