Services for Durward (Ward) Minks, age 90, of Stillwater will be held Wednesday, 11:00 A.M. at OAKRIDGE COMMUNITY CHURCH, 610 County Road 5, Stillwater. Interment Fairview Cemetery. Visitation Tuesday, 5:00-7:00 P.M. at BRADSHAW, 2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater (NW Corner of Hwy 36 and Co Rd 5), and also one hour prior to the service at church.
Born August 15, 1914 in Princeton, MN, Ward passed away Saturday, September 11, 2004 at Stillwater Good Samaritan. He was the first-born child of Adolph and Anna Minks. Ward was raised on the 40 acre family farm near Long Siding, MN where he learned to work the fields with a team of draft horses and tend livestock. At the age of 14, he rented out a neighboring 40 acre farm and ran it successfully by himself.
Ward was fortunate to survive a burst appendix at age 21. It happened while serving in the National Guard at Camp Ripley. A surgeon was flown in from Duluth (a rare event then) and a four-month convalescence followed.
During the depression he drove caterpillar tractors and combines on the wheat ranches of Washington State. When WW II broke out he enlisted in the US Army. While training with the 90th Infantry Division in Camp Barkley, TX, he married Harriet Kiel of Milaca, MN on October 4, 1942.
Ward was no stranger to death, serving 332 straight days in combat. He fought at the front starting at D-Day on through Normandy, Metz, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Siegfried Line before crossing the Rhine near Frankfurt. He served briefly in the occupation in Czechoslovakia before returning home in late 1945.
He returned to the family dairy until moving to Stillwater in 1954 to work at the State Prison. He ran Cell Hall A, housing 500 inmates for 20 years.
Ward loved to hunt and fish. He was an expert shot usually returning with limits on grouse, pheasant and duck and successfully hunted moose in Ontario for many years.
Years of walleye and northern catches he brought home and cleaned, helped him grow tomatoes that were the envy of the neighborhood. He pulled trout and salmon out of Lake Superior for nearly 30 years while summering in Grand Marais.
Ward never met a stranger. He could and did talk with everyone. His fine sense of humor was present right to the end. He is missed.
Ward is survived by his wife of 62 years, Harriet of Stillwater; son, Ronald (Ann); grandson, Andrew of Katy TX; sister, Lorraine Bouma (Enno) of Stillwater; brother-in-law, Floyd Lundt (Laverne) of Stillwater; numerous nieces, nephews and friends. He is preceded in death by his infant brother and sister, Donald and June; brother, Ellsworth; sister, Laverne.