Robert Arnold Willink, age 87, of Park Falls, Wisconsin, died on March 23rd, 2011 at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, JoAnne and Scott Straetz, in Park Falls. He was under the care of Flambeau Home Health and Hospice.
Robert was born on February 1, 1924 to Arnold & Dorothy (Snoeyenbos) Willink in Baldwin, Wisconsin. The second of three boys, Robert grew up in Baldwin and graduated from Baldwin High School in 1942. In 1943 he enlisted in the US Army and served with the 70th Infantry Division in the European Theater during WWII. He was honorably discharged in February of 1946 and returned home to Baldwin. In 1946 he was married to Ruth Shafer of Diamond Bluff, Wisconsin. The marriage was blessed with three children; Gary, Jean & JoAnne. The marriage would dissolve in 1973. In 1946 Robert attended classes at UW Stout in Menomonie. He would graduate in 1950 with a BS degree in Industrial Arts. The Willink family moved to South St. Paul and opened a business selling and servicing Sunbeam appliances. He would continue to work in that industry until 1964 when he accepted a teaching position at the Southwest Minnesota Vocational Technical School in Jackson, Minnesota. In 1975 he was united in marriage to Ardis Ford in Sioux Falls, SD. Robert retired from teaching in 1985 and in 1986 he and Ardis moved to Silver City, New Mexico. They lived there until Ardis’ death in 2006. Robert returned to Baldwin to be closer to his family. Following his dream, Robert bought land on the Flambeau River in Park Falls, Wisconsin and began building a cabin. In 2010, with the cabin completed, Robert moved in and lived out his days on the Flambeau River.
Robert was a lifetime member of the VFW and the Lions Club even serving as President of the Silver City Lions. He was an avid horseman, hunter & fisherman. He also enjoyed woodworking, building furniture, cabinets and other assorted home furnishings.
Robert will remain in the hearts of his friends and family. This includes his; son, Gary (Sheila) Willink of Jackson, MN; daughter, Jean (Scott) Wilson of Issaquah, WA; daughter, JoAnne (Scott) Straetz of Park Falls, WI; two step-daughters, Lynn Ford of Minneapolis, MN and Lori Ford of Silver City, NM; seven grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren; brother, Paul Willink of Baldwin, WI and other relatives and close friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, wife, Ardis, and brother, Donald.
A memorial gathering for Robert will be held on April 9, 2011 from 2-3:30pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Graveside services will follow at the Baldwin Cemetery. Military Honors will be performed by the Baldwin VFW and American Legion. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Robert’s name to the American Cancer Society and Flambeau Hospice. Services are in the care of the O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Countryside Crematory, Baldwin, Wisconsin.