May 17, 1935 - February 26, 2017


A Memorial Service will be at 1PM on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at the Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home, St. Cloud for Judge Willard P. “Bill” Lorette, age 81 who passed away Sunday, February 26, 2017 after a struggle with cancer. Pastor Janine Olson will officiate. Visitation will be from 10 – 1PM on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at the Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home, St. Cloud. Relatives and friends are welcome to continue the celebration of Bill’s life during a gathering that will be held at 3PM at Jack and Jim’s in Duelm.

Bill was born to Willard T. and Sylvia Lorette on May 17, 1935 and grew up in Renville, MN. He attended Gustavus Adolphus College and then Columbia Law School. Upon graduation he moved to St. Cloud to join the law firm of Atwood and Fletcher. In 1966, he was appointed by the governor as a probate/juvenile judge and at that time, was the youngest judge in the state. Bill served as both a County Court Judge and in District Court. He was a planning commission member and helped to develop the first zoning code for St. Cloud, a past president of the Stearns/Benton Bar Association, and was involved in the Jaycees and Boy Scouts. Bill also developed a Tri-County juvenile restitution program, and initiated and established the OK House (a joint county juvenile shelter facility). As a judge, Bill was often controversial and frequently featured in the newspaper. He had a reputation for being tough but fair and he was especially dedicated to working with juveniles. Bill took his responsibility to the community very seriously, but never lost his sense of humor. He “retired” in 1995 but kept working as a part-time judge and mediator for many more years.

Bill always had a great love for the outdoors and his many fishing and hunting trips with his family and friends were the highlights of his years. He cheered on the Twins and Vikings, was a skilled watercolor painter, and was proud to be a hospice volunteer.

Bill married the former Debbie Kitzman in 1985 and they enjoyed traveling, socializing with friends and family, playing cards and golfing.

He is survived by his wife, Debbie Lorette of St. Cloud; his brother, Michael (Noreen) Lorette of Maple Valley, WA; two daughters, Christine (John) David of Stoughton, WI, Suzanne Lorette (Doug Jenson), and their mother, Mary Ellen Johnson of Lakeville; eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild (with a second due any day).

Bill was preceded in death by his son, Willard M. “Billy” Lorette.

The family thanks hospice and caregivers, Danielle and Alexa for their compassionate care.

Bill was a fan of Marcus Aurelius who said: “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” Bill was never afraid to live his life, and he lived it to the fullest.