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William “Willy” Benjamin Stephenson, age 59, of Austin, Minnesota, unexpectedly passed away at his home on Tuesday, January 25th, 2022. He was a bright light in the Austin area and surrounding community who shared his culinary gifts with many throughout his over 25 years of service as Catering Manager and food service employee at HyVee in Austin.
Willy Stephenson was born on January 6th, 1963, in Austin, Minnesota. He was one of six children born to Stanley and Jane (Srnec) Stephenson. He was confirmed in the Catholic faith and attended St. Augustine’s in Austin. Willy attended school in Austin, graduating high school in 1981 and taking courses in Computer Science and Media Arts at Riverland College.
Willy’s artistic talents in drawing, painting, and restoration projects were passions that he shared with many friends and family members. These gifts extended beyond his inner circle to many catering events in and around Austin - many can credit his coordination and creativity for making their area event a success and memorable affair, whether in a simple conference room or a grand occasion at the Hormel House in his hometown.
Willy was an avid lantern collector and antique enthusiast. Whenever traveling, he was often distracted by the window displays of shops. He would also try out and taste the local cuisine to incorporate into new recipes back home in the kitchens of his workplace.
Willy is survived by his son from a previous marriage, Joseph Stephenson and his wife, Jessica Helmers, and his life partner, Jean Blaser. He is also survived by his siblings: Julie Stephenson, Denny and Ann (Tubbs) Stephenson and their children, Adam, Caitlin, and Erik; Karen Stephenson, Janice (Stephenson) and Joel Maxfield and their son, Andy; Janine (Stephenson) and Brian Nordland and their children, Jacob and Brynn; his stepdaughters and grandchildren, Heather and Andy Buhmann and their children, Kennedy and Saylor; Ashley & Jeff Kiefer and their children, Brekken, McKinley, and Evia; and Jessica Hill and her son, Carter; and by his life partner’s family and in-laws, including: Donna May, Karen & John Rich, Deb Blaser, Pam and Michael Nagele, Bonnie & Dave Carr, Bev & Mark Beaver, and many nieces and nephews.
Willy is preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Jane Stephenson; grandparents, Benjamin and Louina Stephenson and William and Eva Srnec; and a brother-in-law, Bill May.
There will be a private ceremony for immediate family and then a public memorial gathering (open house) at Worlein Funeral Home, 1801 4th Street NW, Austin, MN 55912, from 3-6 pm on Thursday, February 3rd, 2022. Masks are required. In lieu of flowers, please send condolences or memorial gifts to Worlein Funeral Home, care of Joseph Stephenson. Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements.
Thursday, February 3, 2022
3:00 - 6:00pm (Central time)
Worlein Funeral Home - Austin
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