Bandera,  Kerrville

Willie Langholz

Willie Langholz, Telling His Story

As Willie spent his last few days on the earth, he was surrounded by family and friends that loved him dearly. During this time, we asked Willie to talk about his life. This is part of his story. We’re sure all of you have your own Willie story to tell.

Born in Waverly, Iowa to Rudy and Edna Langholz, he was known to some as Bill and others as Willie. Since both of his grandfathers were named William, his father chose to call him Willie, and that name stuck. He was a brother to 6 sisters. But being the only boy, some of the fondest childhood memories Willie shared, were those he made with
his Dad.

Willie’s love for flying started as a child – making his own airplane with his Dad at age seven. Rudy fostered Willie’s dreams to fly by cutting out a frame, a prop, and seats. Willie tied a rope on the end, pulled it to the top of the chicken coop and experienced his first flight (crash) to the ground. Willie wanted to go into the Air Force to be a
jet pilot, but a football injury prevented that.

In 1973, Willie moved to Rochester, Minnesota to attend college. He also farmed during the day and worked as an orderly at St. Mary’s Hospital during the evening. Willie would frequently tease the nursing students and Mary Jo who was a student nurse in 1978, was no exception. But it wasn’t until 3 years later in December, 1981 when Mary Jo went to Dayton’s to look at the Christmas decorations and spotted Willie working in the commercial carpet sales department. Mary Jo invited him out for a cup of coffee to reconnect. From that point on, their romance ignited
and in the summer of 1982 they were married in Barcelona, Spain. They had one beautiful adventure after another and were blessed with their son John in 1990.

That same year Willie joined Pipestone Veterinary Clinic to help develop the swine division. By 2011, Willie was traveling internationally and helping PIPESTONE9 expand their operations to China and Mexico. Willie worked tirelessly to help this vision become a reality. He loved this work, but more importantly he loved the people. And they loved him back. There is a farm in China, affectionately named “Willie Farm”.

Willie passed the love his dad showed to him onto John. They shared that same love for tinkering on anything that had an engine; tractors, old trucks, old and new cars, and of course, airplanes.

Willie fulfilled his dream to fly with John by his side, both becoming licensed pilots. They flew Mary Jo, and with many friends on trips throughout the U.S.. Their plane collection grew from their first Cessna 172, Cessna 206, an Aeronca and to Willie’s favorite, the Stearman bi-plane. In 2015, he semi-retired and he and Mary Jo moved from Lake Benton, Minnesota to Pipe Creek, Texas to spend more time flying.

It’s fair to say that Willie was born a cowboy and farmer. He loved the land, loved animals and, loved his family. It’s almost like everyone seemed to know Willie Langholz, and if you didn’t, you could pick out his deep voice and infectious laugh anywhere. His larger than life personality made him an unforgettable presence in everyone’s life. If there was a problem to solve, Willie would find a way to solve it. He wasn’t afraid to make mistakes. He also was never afraid to try something new. There was no one that Willie thought didn’t deserve help, and if you asked him
for his opinion, you got an honest answer.

Willie was preceded in death by his 2 brothers, David Paul and Randy, his parents, Rudy and Edna Langholz, and sister Ruth Manderud. He is survived by the love of his life, Mary Jo, John his pride and joy and friend Page Bowman, of Charlotte, N.C., 5 sisters; Melodie (Ron) Foelske of Denver IA, Jan Fleming of Ottumwa, IA, Mary Langholz of Cedar Falls, IA, Rita Wurzer of Oklahoma City, OK and Susan (Joe) Ceccarelli of New York, NY, 2 brothers-in-law; Mike (Deb) Andries of Cumberland, WI and Bradley (Laurie) Andries of Ledyard, CT ; 3 sisters-in-law; Pat (Gary) Gillin of Pipestone, MN, Becky (Mike) Macken of Rochester, MN, Tammy (Dan) Eickhoff of Wykoff, MN, father-in-law, John Andries, Rochester, MN and 21 nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations will be made to his favorite charities.

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