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Harlan Herman Wilkens, 79, of NYA

Harlan Wilkens

Harlan Herman Wilkens, 79, of Norwood Young America, died Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, at his home.
Memorial services were held Saturday, Sept. 3, at Friedens (County Line) United Church of Christ in rural Norwood Young America with the Rev. Joseph Clay officiating. Marilee Widmer was the organist. Soloist Burt Tellers sang “On Eagle’s Wings.” Congregational hymns were “Jesus Loves Me,” “Beyond the Sunset,” “O, God, Our Help in Ages Past” and “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”
Honorary casket bearers were Mike Meuleners, Marvin Meuleners, Tyler Meuleners, Jesse Graupmann, Pete Peterson and Roger Schmidt.
Interment was in the Ferguson Cemetery, rural Norwood Young America.
Harlan Herman Wilkens was born July 19, 1937, in Glencoe, the son of Herman and Cordelia (Wroge) Wilkens. He was baptized as an infant on Aug. 1, 1937, by the Rev. R.L. Ehlen at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Plato, and was confirmed in his faith as a youth on March 25, 1951, by the Rev. Schilt, at Friedens Evangelical and Reformed Church in rural Norwood Young America. He received his education in Norwood Young America, graduating with the Central High School class of 1955.
On July 20, 1957, he was united in marriage to Beverly Mueller at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Hamburg. The couple made their home on the Wilkens family farm in rural Norwood Young America. Their marriage was blessed with two children, Gail and Mark. The couple shared over 59 years of marriage.
Mr. Wilkens was a lifelong farmer on the Wilkens homesteaded farm. After retiring, he worked for Pinske Edge and Meuleners Farms. He was a true community servant, leader and volunteer, being active in many organizations, including the National Guard, Pork Producers Association, Eagle Lake Sportsman’s Club, a charter member of the Plato Lions, and faithful member of Friedens County Line Church.
In Mr. Wilkens’ younger years, he enjoyed water skiing, snowmobiling and building a scooter, boat and pontoon. He also engineered and designed farm equipment, including a portable feed mill, folding harrow. He built a hog roaster with Donny Werth, roasting hogs and grilling pork chops at many gatherings in the area. He built two man saws for the Plato Wood Choppers and other log-sawing competitors. After retiring from milking cows, he turned the barn into a workshop and the hay barn into an amazing party barn that hosted gatherings of all kinds, including an annual Halloween party.
In his later years, Mr. Wilkens rose early to make breakfast at the Meuleners Farm each day, feeding “the boys” there and his own need to stay connected to farming. Always excited for a new project, Harlan, his son Mark and Roger Schmidt began building ice saws and spears. He loved to work in his shop and his grandchildren always said, “Grandpa can fix everything.” His greatest joy may have been his great-grandchildren. He looked forward to nearly daily visits from Everett, Sissy and Georgie, and photos and videos of Ava and Stella.
He is survived by his wife, Beverly Wilkens of Norwood Young America; daughter and son-in-law, Gail and Jim Simmons of Franklin; son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Lois Wilkens of Plato; grandchildren, Erin (Rick) Hagglund of Norwood Young America, Amber (Bob) Arwine of Chicago, Britanny Wilkens and her fiancé, James Misuraca, of Plato, Bailey Wilkens of Plato, and Jeanna Wacker and Ankan Patel of New York, New York; great-grandchildren, Everett, Elise and Georgia Hagglund and Ava, Arwine and Stella Patel; sister, Karen (Homer) Martin of Plato; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Myron and Betty Franke of Norwood Young America, Pearl Schrupp of Norwood Young America, Loren and LaMane Mueller of Glencoe, Donald and Mary Mueller of Apple Valley, Glen and Liz Mueller of Sacramento, California, and Gary and LuAnn Mueller of Buffalo; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Cordelia Wilkens; siblings, Wendell Wilkens and Evon Franke; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Arnold and Esther Mueller; and brothers-in-law, Kenneth Mueller and Warren Schrupp.
Arrangements were with the Paul-McBride Funeral Chapel of Norwood Young America. Online obituaries and guest book are available at www.hantge.com.