Willie Henry Oltmans, 92, Luverne, formerly of Lake Benton, died Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne.
A memorial service with military honors will be at 11 a.m. Monday, May 13, at Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.
Willie Oltmans was born to Fred and Minnie (Ahliets) Oltmans on June 29, 1926, in Rushmore. He was raised and attended grade school there. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the United States Navy. He had his training from May-August 1944, and then spent time serving on three ships: USS Winged Arrow (AP-170), a troop carrier, from August 1944-March 1945, USS Meredosia (IX-193), a tanker, from March 1945-July 1945, and lastly aboard USS Point Cruz (CVE-119), an aircraft carrier, from July 1945-May 1946. He was injured during the January 1945 invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Philippines, which eventually led to his honorable discharge in May of 1946.
On Feb. 12, 1949, Willie married Elsie Ann Schmidt in Flandreau, South Dakota. The couple settled in Luverne. Willie worked at a service station before the couple moved to Tracy. In 1959 he started building the Tyler Motel in Tyler and it opened in 1960. Willie and Elsie Ann ran the motel side by side for 15 years. He also worked at the nearby Amoco station. They then moved to Slayton and operated a bar and restaurant for a few years until ultimately moving to Lake Benton and doing odd jobs until retirement. Elsie preceded Willie in death on April 11, 2000.
Willie was a dedicated member of the American Legion and earned his Certificate of Continuous Service for 73 years. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, hunting, woodworking, card playing and making soup including one of his specialties, turtle soup.
Willie is survived by his son, Steven Oltmans, of Arvada, Colorado; two granddaughters, Lori (Brad) Kautzer and Jessica (Matt) Lynch; a grandson, Anthony (Rebecca) Dressen; and six great-grandchildren, Cole, Lexi, Fletcher, Isabelle, Sophia and Wyatt.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Elsie Ann, his parents, three brothers, and a daughter, Lou Ann.
Arrangements are provided by Hartquist Funeral Home of Lake Benton, www.hartquistfuneral.com