Wilfred John Gisch, (born 1923) - Daryl's father -  was one of ten children (he had a twin
sister) and was raised on a farm. He lost his mother at the age of 12 and was raised by his older
sisters. Willie left home at the age of 13, having attained an 8th grade education. Willie went into
the airforce at age 18 and was an aircraft gunner during World War II, in the Pacific Theater. He
was gunned down 3 times in the Pacific Ocean and had to cut bodies out of the sunken
submarines in Pearl Harbor. After the war he rented land and farmed and eventually saved
enough money to purchase his own 160 acre farm in southern Minnesota. He married Charlotte
Claus and his only child was Daryl.  He farmed soybeans, corn and cattle for 60 years, while
also working at the local grain elevators. In 2004, we talked him into moving to a a small five
acre farmstead that is located just across the road from our farm. Papa was offically our
neighbor and partner in farming. We were very excited that our children were able to have their
grandfather so close by. And Willie was very pleased to have his own flock of Icelandic sheep
and even his own llamas, chickens & ducks to feed and enjoy. Willie raised sheep for about 7
years back in the early 1950s and it was very fitting that he was able to have his own flock
when he was in his 80s after 50 years of raising cattle. Willie was 80 years young when he
became our partner on the farm and we were very thrilled to have Papa a permanent part of our
lives here in Michigan. He lived with an Icelandic sheepdog named Vinur -- which he
pronounced "Winner" and then "Rosie" the apple of his eye decided she wanted to live with
Papa too. He was devastated when Rosie (see photo of dog above) died.

Up until he was 87, Papa still watched over sheep, built fences, dug water lines and repaired
anything that needed fixed. The loves of his life were his granddaughters. He would go fishing
with the girls, build playsets, tree houses, and do just about anything they wanted him to do --
including build them a horse barn and riding arena. He never did build them the gymnasium they
wanted!! But 87 years of working from sun up to sun down wore his body out. After his hip
broke, things pretty much went downhill from there. It broke his heart and his spirit not to be
able to be outside every day. The year of 2011 was very hard on Willie, although with a walker
and a strong spirit, he was able to live on his own, and cook for himself for most of that year.
His body became weaker in December and in January 2012, Willie lapsed into a coma and
passed away 5 days later, peacefully - in his own home, with family keeping vigil until the end.
Thank you Papa for all of your love and support and hard work. Papa's motto was
"God, Country, Family." See ya later alligator!
In Loving Memory of Papa - Willie Gisch
June 19, 1923 - January 24, 2012
"I've been meaning to tell you what I've been seeing since you told me
Willie was unconscious, but I couldn't get the words out of my mouth
and even now
I'm teary eyed... I have seen Rosie sitting, waiting patiently at a bridge
for Willie to come home. And this morning, before I called you, I saw
her romping around him while he was walking away through the
grass towards a tree so all I saw was his back, but I knew it was him
and I knew he'd passed before you told me. He was walking without
any difficulty, as though he were a young man again."  
- Anthea