Willard Harold Hoskin, a pillar of strength, kindness, warmth, and dedication, peacefully passed away on October 20, 2023, at the West Burlington Hospice House, with his family at his side.
Willard was born on September 25, 1928, to Alva Harrison Hoskin and Bessie Myrtle (Jemison) Hoskin at the Hoskin Farm in rural Keosauqua, Iowa. Willard’s journey through life was marked by enduring love, steadfast commitment, and a tireless dedication to his family and community. He began his education in the humble setting of the one-room schoolhouse at Taylor No. 1, eventually graduating from Keosauqua High School in 1946. After high school, Willard contributed his talents to Van Pattens Implement Co. and Lee’s Sales & Service, where his industrious spirit shone. However, it was on the floor of a roller rink where destiny brought him face to face with the love of his life, Waverly Camille Crenshaw. Willard’s job as a skate boy, putting on her skates and teaching her the ways of the roller rink, would lead to a lifetime of shared dreams, family, and happiness. On November 5, 1950, they united in marriage, setting out on a journey together that would span time and eternity.
Following their wedding, Willard’s love of country and sense of duty led him to enlist in the Air Force during the Korean War. He held the rank of Staff Sergeant and served as an instructor at the Airplane and Engine School on Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. His service was a source of immense pride for him.
Returning to Keosauqua with Waverly, they welcomed their only son, Mikel Ivan, in 1955 and built the home that they lived in until their passing. They purchased the Allis Chalmers Implement Co. and later started the first Anhydrous Ammonia enterprise.
Willard expanded the Hoskin Farm and worked the land for the rest of his career. He dedicated his time to working with children, leading the Boy Scout Troop on Sheppard Air Force Base and later in Keosauqua, and founded the Junior Rifle Club in 1963.
Willard’s service to his community extended to his role on the Van Buren County Fair Board and then the Iowa State Fair Board. After his granddaughters participated in a couple of pedal pulls, Willard began building tractors and sleds so that they could practice in the barn. Willard and Waverly then started Hawkeye Pedal Pull and organized pedal pulls for 36 years, impacting the lives of countless youngsters throughout the Midwest. They were both inducted into the Iowa State Pedal Pull Hall of Fame.
Willard passed on his love of adventure, tinkering, camping, inventing, storytelling, and sweets to his family. He was always up for Misty’s chocolate ice cream, making scotcheroos, puppy chow, and chocolate malts with his granddaughters. He was usually found in his shop where he built pedal pull tractors well into his 90’s. He always drew an audience for his jokes, riddles and quippy stories. His favorite to tell was Railroad Crossing, a poem about a horse team and a railroad track that he learned as a child. He took great pride that he and Waverly visited all 50 states together over the course of their marriage.
Willard and Waverly are survived by their beloved son, Mikel Hoskin, and his wife, Debbie, of Keosauqua, as well as their four cherished granddaughters: Mindy (Ryan) Torrey (Argyle, TX), Jennifer (Daniel) Lewis (Great Falls, VA), Nikki (Damian) Butts (Burlington), and Fallon Huffman (Keosauqua). They were also blessed with five great-grandchildren: Olivya Lile, Cameron Butts, Hayden Huffman, Monroe Torrey, and Lochlan Lewis. Their treasured nieces and nephews are also missing them dearly.
A celebration of Willard’s life will be held at the Keosauqua United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at 10:30 AM, with Pastor Mary Kathryn Hart officiating. The funeral home will begin accepting visitors at 2:00 PM on Friday, October 27, 2023, at Pedrick Funeral Home, where the family will be available to receive visitors from 5-7 PM. Following the service, Willard will be laid to rest at Purdom Cemetery, followed by a luncheon at the Church to honor his memory.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to a memorial in Willard’s honor, with the specific designation to be determined later. Memorial gifts may be left at the funeral home or mailed to the family at 1003 7th St., Keosauqua, IA 52565. For those who wish to express their condolences and share cherished memories, please visit www.cranstonfamilyfuneralhome.com
Willard’s memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him, and his impact on his community and family will be felt for generations to come. May he rest in peace, forever loved and never forgotten.