William 'Bill' Joseph Shekleton, 68
William “Bill” Joseph Shekleton, age 68 of New Hampton, died suddenly Thursday, August 1, 2019, at his home.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, August 5, 2019, at Holy Family Parish, New Hampton with Rev. Brian Dellaert celebrating the Mass.
Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery, New Hampton with Jim Shekleton, Ed Shekleton, Jim Eckenrod, Randy Lenehan, Gary Schultz, Jason Shekleton, Joe Shekleton and Bob Shekleton serving as pallbearers.
Friends may greet the family from 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. Sunday August 4, 2019 at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton, with a 6:00 p.m. Parish Scripture Service. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Monday.
William Joseph Shekleton was born March 28, 1951, the son of Walter and Rosella (Kobliska) Shekleton in New Hampton, Iowa.
Bill grew up on a farm in the Boyd area, and like many farms in those days, the Shekleton’s not only grew corn and soybeans but had a plethora of animals — ranging from beef cattle to hogs to chickens.
He attended St. Joseph’s Community School and graduated from New Hampton High School in 1969.
In 1971, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and he spent a year-long tour in Vietnam as a military policeman. When he received his honorable discharge, he returned to run the family farm.
His family’s farm was just up the road from Kathy Schultz’s farm, and he spent years wooing the “neighborhood girl,” and the two were married on Sept. 8, 1979, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in New Hampton.
The couple eventually welcomed two children — Paula and Chris — and although Bill was to some a man of few words, it was his nightly ritual to “tuck in” his children at bedtime, talk about their days and say prayers with them.
Bill was a lifelong farmer and he loved his family, the land and his pigeon collection.
His Uncle Willy Kobliska introduced him to the birds, and Bill eventually built one of the most renowned assortment of pigeons in the world. He raised two breeds — fantails and rollers — and he had a gift when it came to his birds. He met countless people from around the globe who traveled to his farm just to see Bill Shekleton’s pigeons.
He was also a man who was well read. He loved Louis L’Amour westerns, but he also spent time on his computer reading about a variety of issues. He also owned a beautiful bright orange 1972 Dodge Charger that he purchased after he returned from Southeast Asia, and he was a Dodge Charger man for the rest of his years.
Bill was a man of deep faith, and if it was 4 p.m. on a Saturday, he was at Holy Family Parish, celebrating Mass.
He was “Papa Bill” to his two grandchildren, Wesson and Eden Duff, and if anyone had him wrapped around their finger, it was Wesson, who scored plenty of candy from his grandfather, even if Bill had to “sneak” a little extra to his grandson after Wesson’s parents said he had enough.
Bill is survived by his wife, Kathy; his children, Paula (Andrew) Duff of New Hampton, and Chris Shekleton of New Hampton; his grandchildren, Wesson and Eden Duff; two brothers, Ed (Sandy Shekleton) of New Hampton, and Jim (Barb) Shekleton of New Hampton; sisters-in-law, Janet (Jim) Gorman of New Hampton, Julie (Jim) Eckenrod of New Hampton, and Patty (Randy) Lenehan of New Hampton; brothers-in-law, Gene Schultz Jr. of New Hampton, Chuck (Jane) Schultz of New Hampton, Gary (Michele) Schultz of Waverly; Ralph (Joan) Schultz of Fredericksburg, and Mike (Sue) Schultz of Valley Park, Missouri; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Eugene Sr. and Ruth Schultz; sisters-in-law, Pat Schultz and Mary Jane Schultz; and brother-in-law, Tim Volk.