William (Bill) Decker, 87, passed away Wednesday, December 21st after a brief diagnosis of cancer, in Baudette, Minnesota. Bill was born January 30th, 1929, in Bertha, Minnesota. Bills parents were Adolf and Anna Decker, and he had one deceased infant brother. Bill attended a local country school until the 8th grade, and then attended the West Central School of Agriculture (present day University of Minnesota, Morris) in Morris, Minnesota. He graduated in 1946.
After graduation Bill started farming, and in 1951 He met Alice A Erickson, and they were married on November 17th, 1951. Bill and Alice celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this past November. Bill is survived by his wife, Alice and 12 children; Kathryn, Linda, Diane, Allen, Judith, Janet, Gary, Randy, Dennis, Sheryl, Angela and Bonita. Bill had 21 grandchildren and one deceased infant grandson, and 16 great grandchildren, the youngest born just 4 days before Bill’s passing. Other than a brief time as a John Deere franchise owner in Milaca, Minnesota, Bill farmed until 1991. A few years after retiring from farming, he and Alice moved to Baudette where they remained until his death.
Bill was an avid gardener, each year planning and planting a garden that gave him a great deal of pleasure to tend and harvest. He was also very interested in history, and read extensively, with a special interest in political history. Bill enjoyed traveling to their cabin in Canada where he maintained yet another garden. Bill also loved to fish, both in Minnesota and Canada. Many of his retirement years were spent fishing for walleye and northern pike in the Lake of The Woods area.
Bill was also involved in several activities and social programs during his life. In the late 1960’s to mid 1970’s, Bill was involved with snowmobile racing. He spent many happy winter days attending the races held throughout Minnesota. In the 1980’s Bill started his involvement with the National Mental Health Association, a program founded by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. He was an advocate for the mental health community, holding and attending meetings to work toward changes to laws that give those with mental illness more choices of care and services. Also in the 1980’s, Bill worked as a lobbyist, lobbying to save family farms. As part of his political activities he traveled to Washington DC and other states to attend meetings on behalf of family farmers, adding his perspective as a farmer to shape the nation’s agriculture policy.
Bill’s family asks in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Lake of the Woods Senior Boating Program, 412 3rd Ave. NE, Baudette, MN 56623 in his memory so others may share in the lovely scenery and waters found on the Rainy River