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Wilbert Hoyhtya


Will Hoyhtya passed away on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at the age of 83.

Will was born June 3, 1936 in rural Wolf Lake to John and Hilja (Tanney) Hoyhtya. He was the youngest of the boys in a family of eleven.

Will attended school in Frazee until he enlisted in the service, which led him to a 20-year career in the US military. Will was a US army paratrooper from 1955 to 1957, then joined the Air Force in January 1958. Will’s career started in Arkansas and sent him to jump school in Kentucky, then to Germany in March 1956. Will injured his back and broke his leg on a mass jump when he tangled with another man and they both came down in one parachute. After receiving his honorable discharge on January 1958, Will went through a refresher course at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Will’s first assignment sent him to New Mexico as a radar operator and from there he went to serve in Spain, Florida, Greenland, Iceland, Montana, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and finished his military career at Minot Air Force base where he was honorably discharged in June of 1976.

Will and Shirley (Stine) were married on May 7, 1966. Their marriage was blessed with their children: Jeff, Lyn, and Kevin. Will and Shirley purchased the Hoyhtya family farm in July 1975 from his mother. The farm was originally purchased in 1893 from Will’s grandparents Henry and Greta Tanney. In 1904 the farm was passed on to their daughter Hilja (an only child) and her husband John Hoyhtya. After Will and Shirley purchased the farm, they maintained a dairy operation for several years until switching to beef cattle. They also did some logging, which he enjoyed, as well as the country life. Will was very active in the outdoors, as well as being active in bowling, billiards, and horseshoes.
Will led a very active life and enjoyed being with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchild.

After Shirley’s passing in 2008, Will lived at the farm until January 2019 when he had surgery for ankle replacement. Recovery from the surgery and other health issues kept him in Oaks Crossing Detroit Lakes until his passing.

Will is survived by his children: Jeff of Tucson, Arizona, Lyn (Lee) of Park Rapids, and Kevin (Erica) of Saint Francis. He will be missed by three grandchildren: Leah Tretbar (Greg), Logan Moorhouse and Sophia Hoyhtya, and one great-grandchild Brendan Tretbar along with his family and friends. He is also survived by siblings: Mayme Harstad, Sylvia (Leroy) Luedke, Ruth (Don) Toppari and Millie (Ron) Burkman. He is preceded in death by his wife Shirley, parents John and Hilja; in-laws Orville and Ida Stine; siblings: Elmer, Walter, Arnold, Abner, Marie Jokela, Allen, and infant sister.

Funeral services were held August 2, 2019 at Wevley Funeral Home in Sebeka. Interment will be at Wolf Lake Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to Wevley Funeral Home of Sebeka. Online condolences may be left at

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