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Bernard "Ben" J. Willger


February 17, 2021

Bernard “Ben” J. Willger, 87, of Sparta, WI, passed away Thursday, February 11, 2021, at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, WI. Ben was born March 17, 1933, to John and Martha (Weber) Willger, on St. Mary’s Ridge. Ben served in the US Army during the Korean War Conflict.

On March 30, 1954, he was united in Holy Matrimony to Linda Woodard. They were married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Ben farmed and worked for Leo Schroeder Construction and later made a career with General Motors in Janesville, retiring after 30 plus years.

He was a big supporter of the local VFW Post 8485 and held the title of Post Commander at different times. Ben was active in the club activities, especially the smelt fry. He was proud of the work he and his fellow veterans did for the community. He also was a member of the American Legion and the Norwalk Lions Club, earning him the Melvin Jones award. Ben was a Monroe County Sheriff Reserve member retiring again after 27 years. Ben loved to have fun and be with people.

Ben was an avid hunter and fisherman. He enjoyed spending time outdoors and loved scavenging the woods for Ginseng. Ben was a lifetime member of the Coulee Sportsman club.

Ben is survived by his wife of nearly 67 years, Linda; son, Roger (Jeanie) Willger of Cashton; daughters, Cathy (Jerry) Mann of Hanover, WI, Colleen (Gerald) Gilbertson of Ontario, WI, Mary Markert of Homewood, IL, and Bonita (Duane) Bryant of Buffalo, MN; brother, Michael (Madonna) Willger of Janesville, WI; 8 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews and dear friends.

Ben was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Martin, Albert, Herman, Lawrence “Oscar” Willger, sisters, Marie Erickson and Anna Willger, and grandchildren, Eric Willger and Kevin Gilbertson.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, February 20, 2021, 11:00 a.m. at The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church on St. Mary’s Ridge. Burial with full military honors will follow in the church cemetery. Family and friends are invited for visitation Friday, February 19, 2021, 4:00-7:00 PM at the Torkelson Funeral Home in Cashton, WI. Visitation will also be held Saturday from 10:00 until the time of service at the church on St. Mary’s Ridge. Memorials may be given in Ben’s name to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church or to the Dickman-Spaeth VFW Post #8584.

Online condolences may be offered at

Keeping our families and community safe is important to us, therefore, we ask that those in attendance please wear a mask to the visitation and funeral. Masks will be available at the funeral home and church.


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