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1925 Roy 2020

Roy Emil Billmark

July 2, 1925 — June 5, 2020

You use click on this link to watch Roy's funeral service     Roy Billmark Funeral Service

Roy Emil Billmark passed away on Friday, June 5, 2020 at the Little Falls Care Center at the age of 94 years, 11 months. Most of his last two days were spent as he would want them, in the presence of his six children and holding the hand of his beloved wife of 71 years, Joyce Feigum Billmark.
Roy and Joyce met in 1947 at the Calhoun Ballroom in Minneapolis where he taught her the Mazurka and swept her off her feet. They were married on December 3, 1948 in Minneapolis and moved into their first house in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 1949.
Roy was born July 2, 1925 in a foundling hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was raised by Emil and Hilma Billmark as a single child in South Minneapolis, and he embraced their Swedish heritage and culture throughout his life. He began his career as a millwright working for the Milwaukee Railroad in Minneapolis when he was 17 years old. He next worked in the insurance industry followed by several years in the propane gas business including Plant Manager positions in Milaca and in Duluth. In between he was District Manager of Montgomery Ward in St. Cloud, Minnesota and he even served out a term as Mayor of Milaca. Eventually though, Roy returned to the work he loved best, that being working in construction and owning and operating rental housing in Minneapolis.
Roy served in the Merchant Marines during World War II from 1943 to 1947. He often spoke to his children about his adventures at sea and the many Asian and European ports he visited. In 1994, Roy was honored to be asked and very proud to once again serve as a crew member on the restored decorated Liberty Ship, the S.S. John W Brown on her inaugural memorial cruise and first offshore voyage since decommissioned in 1946. Roy was a member of the American Legion Honor Guard.
Roy’s life-long hope was to find his roots and hopefully any biological family still living. His research that included several trips to Canada was unsuccessful until in 2018, DNA testing led him to discover blood relatives in McCreary and Winnipeg, Manitoba. At 92 years old and for the very first time, Roy met his two wonderful and caring sisters from Winnipeg. They along with their families have visited several times and remain in close contact with the Billmark family despite the U.S./Canadian COVID 19 border closing.
Roy loved to dance and he loved to play music. He was an excellent dancer and could play piano, guitar, harmonica, drums, accordion or button box by ear without ever taking lessons or having learned to read music. Roy played in old-time polka bands at different times in his life and continued to play his button box at local events and senior living facilities past the age of 93.
Roy wanted everyone to know how proud he was of his wife and all six of his children and … that he loved them all the very best that he knew how.
Roy is survived by his wife, Joyce; their two daughters, Christine (Merlyn Nelson) and Julie (Myron Yatckoske); their four sons, Arnie (Mary), Larry (Hilda), Dan (Diane) and Gordie (Nettie); two sisters, Beverly Smith and Sandy Bissoon (Henry); 14 grandchildren, Kaycie Lawson (Jeremy), Cameron Nelson (Meghann), Luke Nelson (Jenna), Kyle Nelson (Amanda Shofner), Daine Billmark (Nichole), Nadie Billmark, Kayla Billmark, Kesha Leets (Ryan), Bjorn Johnson, Annelise Johnson (Sean O’Brien), Baily Jarvis, and Brittany, Jonny and Alexander Yatckoske; 12 great grandchildren, Nichole, Cian, Bram, Reid, Isabelle, Emily, Evelyn, Senya, Gus, Heletta, Mackenzie, and Evelina.
He was preceded in death by his parents Emil and Hilma Billmark, his biological parents Lillian Gates and Albert Fletcher, his grandsons Troy and Benjamin, his half-brother Jimmy, his half-sisters Nancy, Aline and Gwen, his Aunt Alice and Uncle Conrad Billmark, and his cousin LaVonne Schaefer.
A private funeral service was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Milaca with Reverend Tim Bauer officiating. Burial with military honors followed at Forest Hill Cemetery.  Memorials can be made to Trinity Lutheran Church for the purpose of purchasing a memorial bench.  If there are additional memorials, a donation will be made to the US Merchant Marines.  

You use click on this link to watch Roy's funeral service     Roy Billmark Funeral Service

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