Willard E. Misfeldt, Ph.D., age 87, of Bowling Green passed on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, as a result of injuries sustained in a single vehicle accident.
Willard was born March 14, 1930, as the third child of Edward and Jennie (Williams) Misfeldt, in Aitkin County, Minnesota. A 1948 graduate of Aitkin High School, Willard’s parents took a loan to enable him to attend his first quarter of college at St. Cloud State University. After successful completion of the first quarter, he was eligible for a scholarship awarded by his high school for his second quarter. Willard then transferred to the University of Minnesota – Duluth where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1952. He was very proud of his undergraduate degree and the fact that he worked to finance his way through college. In 1952, he joined the Army and was stationed at Camp Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas. Willard served during the Korean Conflict with the 5th Armored Division of the U.S. Army Artillery as a training instructor, heavy army artillery for the 105 mm Howitzer, for those soldiers being sent to Korea. He received an honorable discharge in 1954 with the rank of Sergeant.
He continued his education after leaving the Army, pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He received his Ph.D. in Art History from Washington University at St. Louis. His first university level position was at Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minnesota. In 1967, he joined the faculty of the Bowling Green State University serving as Professor of Art History in the School of Art. Much of his ongoing research revolved around the 19th century Victorian artist James Tissot, which was the basis for his doctoral dissertation in 1971 and also the subject of his published book, The Albums of James Tissot, 1982. He retired in 1998, but continued to teach part-time until 2001, as Professor Emeritus.
Throughout his professional career, Dr. Misfeldt pursued his passion of Community Theater as an actor, set designer, and director/producer. He also enjoyed attending community and professional theater performances. Involved in Community Theater through his lifetime, he was active with the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, the Village Players, and Fort Findlay Playhouse. He had a long-term relationship with the Black Swamp Players serving as a Board Member and Past President. He was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions through the years for both his professional and recreational activities. Most recently, he was honored in September by the Ohio Community Theater Association (OCTA) as the 2016 OCTA Lifetime Achievement Recipient.
His other hobbies included: painting, traveling throughout the world for both research and recreation, and more recently traveling the United States including a recent 13-day tour to the Bad Lands with Star Tours. He was a member of the Scandinavian Club of Toledo, and the Archaeological Institute of America – Toledo Society where he served as a Trustee.
In retirement he found other interests to pursue, including serving on the Governing Board of the Wood County Committee on Aging and engaging in programs and activities at the Wood County Senior Center. A life-long learner, he was proud of his success adapting to the ever changing world of technology and became proficient with his tablet, using email, Facebook and challenging both friends and random opponents to games of Words with Friends. He was a great story teller with an amazing ability to recall events and details, who possessed a dry wit, and had great loyalty to his friends and family. He will be missed.
He was predeceased by his parents, his brothers Norman Misfeldt and Donald Misfeldt, and his younger sister Margaret Misfeldt Olson. Willard is survived by his nieces: Diane (Jim) Sentyrz, Becki (Ron) Ollestad, and Gloria Misfeldt; nephews: Michael, Robert, and David Misfeldt, Steven Olson, Gary (Denise) Misfeldt, foster nephew Donald Gregory along with a host of great-nieces and great-nephews. He also leaves behind his very special friend, Denise Niese and dear friends Jack Klein and Carolyn Jakmides Black along with many other friends in the Bowling Green area.
Willard’s family would like to express their appreciation to the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and support staff at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Neuro ICU and Medical ICU, and Emergency Services for their compassionate service and support. Willard requested memorials to be made in his honor to the Friends of the Wood County Committee on Aging or the Black Swamp Players.
Visitation for Willard will be held Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 1:00 PM until the time of his Celebration of Life Service at 2:00 PM in the DECK-HANNEMAN FUNERAL HOME REMEMBRANCE CHAPEL, 1460 W. Wooster Street/P.O. Box 648, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402, Tele: 419-352-2171. Online Condolences as well as fond memories may be left for the Misfeldt family by visiting www.hannemanfh.com.