Stephen Lee Willers
Stephen Lee Willers, Reeds Spring, MO, son of Clifford and Bettylou (Simmons) Willers, was born January 6, 1947 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and departed this life peacefully on April 12, 2021 at the age of 74 surrounded by his family .
Stephen was always a hard worker. In 1959, at the age of 12 years old, his dad told him that he needed to go to work for the family trucking business so he started cleaning livestock trailers. When Stephen was 15 years old, he started delivering trailers around town. Even though Stephen was only 18 years old (driving age on the interstate was 21 years old), he began hauling cattle and hogs to Albert Lea, MN and Austin, MN. During college, Stephen would work in the office at Willers Truck Service in the summer, then go to the yards and load trucks with cattle and hogs, and then take the last load out to Albert Lea or Austin and arrive back in Sioux Falls at 4:00 a.m.
Stephen graduated from Washington High School in 1965. It was in high school that Stephen met his wife, Jeanan Sather, in Economics class. Stephen went on to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln until he transferred back to Sioux Falls and graduated from Augustana College with a double major while working for the family business.
Stephen and Jeanan were united in marriage on August 16, 1969.
Stephen continued in his grandmother and father’s footsteps and worked for Willers Truck Service and Jet Leasing along with his brother until his retirement at the young age of 48 years old. Stephen was the president of the South Dakota Trucking Association from 1992-1994.
Stephen relocated to Reeds Spring, MO with his family to enjoy his retirement and spent many happy years fishing at Table Rock Lake.
He was an avid hunter and spent much of the fall and winter time in Pierre, South Dakota. He traveled great distances including Canada, Argentina, and Mexico with friends and family many times to hunt and fish. While in Pierre, Stephen assisted in the Governor’s Hunt for several years. Along with Brian Tracy and Wicker Bill, Stephen helped lead the children’s hunt.
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife of 51 years, Jeanan Willers of Reeds Spring, MO; daughter, Kari Eschenbaum and her husband, Kevin of Sioux Falls, SD; son, Derek Willers and his wife, Kristin of St. Peters, MO; brother, Kim Willers and wife, Katie of Sturgis, SD; sister, Christine Willers of Saint Louis Park, MN. The greatest joy of his later years was his three grandchildren, Kaitlyn Eschenbaum of Sioux Falls, SD and Violet and Henry Willers of St. Peters, MO. Stephen was also very proud of his nephew and nieces, James Willers, Leigh McCoy and Tiffany Waturuocha. Stephen will be missed by a host of his close friends.
Stephen was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Laura Hudson along with his hunting dog and constant companion, Dolly.
Memorial service will be held Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. with Pastor Wes Larson officiating at United Methodist Church, Kimberling City, MO where Stephen was a member. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the backpack program at the United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are under the direction of Stumpff Funeral Home Kimberling City, MO.