Willem Frederik van Vliet was born July 9, 1979, in Menomonie, Wisconsin. He was raised in Northfield and graduated Northfield High School in 1997. He attended Augsburg College and shortly after began pursuing his career as a landscape architect. Over the years he worked for several landscaping companies in the Northfield area. He excelled at his craft and was highly regarded amongst his peers.
Will was a compassionate, unpretentious thinker. He loved to read and learn and mastered anything he set out to do. He enjoyed fishing, being outdoors and his family.
Will’s reward in life was to bring happiness to those he loved, and forgiveness to those who have gone astray. Such beautiful compassion was evident early, as the local wildlife found solace in Will’s refuge, even though the sandbox was not the ideal location to salvage the wounds of the natural world. Only after knowing the things he loved were taken care of, could he then rest assured. Will’s heart shall be forever a shining example of unconditional love.
Survivors include his parents, Connie Nelson-Beaudrea and Tom Nelson of Northfield and Rick and Cindy van Vliet of Prior Lake; his sister, Nina (Chad) deBoer of Portland; 2 brothers: Adam Nelson of Portland, Nicolaas Nelson of Minneapolis; his grandmothers: Betty Strohbeen of Little Canada, Grace van Vliet of Inver Grove Heights; and many other relatives and good friends. He was named after his Dutch Opa, Willem F. Van Vliet who is waiting for Will with pole in hand. His step-grandparents Gordon and Vivian Nelson also await him with arms wide open.
Will died in Dundas, Minnesota, on Sunday evening, September 23, 2012, at the age of 33.
A remembrance gathering for Will will be held at Memorial Park in Dundas beginning at 1:00PM on Saturday, September 29, 2012.
In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to Willie’s Memorial Fund at Premier Bank Minnesota – Northfield office, 112 E. 5th St, Nfld, MN 55057.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com