William “Bill” Gass Jr.

William “Bill” Gass Jr., age 87, of Bird Island, MN passed away surrounded by his family on Thursday, April 13, 2023 at the Olivia Hospital. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Tuesday, April 25, at 1:15 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bird Island with Rev. George Schmit as celebrant. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Visitation will be on Monday, April 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Dirks-Blem Funeral Home in Olivia with a prayer service at 7 p.m. and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Tuesday.

William Lawrence Gass Jr. was born on October 24, 1935 to William Sr. and Theresa (Brey) Gass in Olivia, MN. Bill lived and spent his entire life on his family farm in rural Bird Island. He was a life-time member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he received all the sacraments and attended St. Mary’s School. Bill was united in marriage to Eileen Ann Dillon on April 11, 1953 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Olivia. They were blessed with seven children and raised them on the family farm.

Bill and Eileen enjoyed dancing and roller skating together. Bill was an athlete and loved playing sports in his younger years and throughout his life. He played basketball on the St Mary’s High School Team, played on the “Red Owl” fast pitch softball team and the “Old Timers” Softball team.  Bill coached the 4-H Atomic Gophers softball team coaching his children and other players. Bill had a love for horses and at one point all his children had a horse of their own that they would ride and take to the county fair through 4H.

Not only did Bill raise crops, he and Eileen’s children raised beef cattle, chickens, and a farrow-to-finish hog operation. Although Bill worked hard on the farm, he still took time to make memories with his children. Whether it was making holidays special or playing basketball and softball between chores and field work, he put his family first. He is a beloved uncle to his nieces and nephews. Some of his most enjoyable memories involved showing what farm life was like to family who visited from the city.

Bill was a founding member of ‘Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Coop.’ “Grass never grew under his feet” as he was always keeping busy. He was a man that could fix anything on the farm, he liked woodworking making tables large enough to fit his growing family and picnic tables and spent a lot of time driving around on his golf cart, gator, and four-wheeler. Bill and Eileen spent 16 years wintering in Arizona, dancing and golfing after they retired from full-time farming. Bill will be remembered for teaching his family many life skills, including the importance of faith, family, and farming.

Bill is survived by his loving wife Eileen of 70 years, his children: Lon (and Candy) Gass of Olivia, Deanne Undesser (and Tim) of Hutchinson, Bill (and Julie) Gass of Clitherall, Paul (and LeAnn) Gass of Bird Island, Lori (and Lee) Pannkuk of Rochester, John (and Rhonda) Gass of Bird Island, and Dan (and Joann) Gass of Bird Island; his 21 grandchildren: Shanon (and Ben) Gass, Gina (and Travis) Readdick, Jay (and Kristina) Gass, Josh Undesser, Jason (and Billie Jean) Undesser, Molly (and Joshua) Wilson, Rebecca Barton, Christine Gass, Erik (and Shelby) Gass, Brad (and Liz) Gass, Dylan (and Carrie Jo) Gass, Justina (and Alex) Borwege, Alicia (and Lincoln) Schultz, Sophia Pannkuk, Brittney (and Ross) Henry, Sarah (and Jake) Harazin, Bailee Gass, Emily Gass, Nicole Gass, Riley Gass, and Brayden Gass; his 25 great-grandchildren; his sister, Marlys (and Dick) Nelson of Rochester; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Bill is preceded in death by his parents; his granddaughter, Michelle Gass; his great-granddaughter, Delaney Gass; and his sisters, Katie Lingl and Mary Ann Chladek.

Blessed Be His Memory

Dirks-Blem Funeral Service, Olivia, MN