AVERY CHARLES BILLINGS September 4, 1933 - December 10, 2014 Avery Charles Billings, age 81, of Park Rapids, MN, formerly of Bloomington, MN, passed from this life to eternal life on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at his home on Lake Gilmore, north of Park Rapids with his wife at his side. Avery was born on September 4, 1933 in Delhi, Iowa to Mac and Adale (Sprague) Billings. He grew up working on his family's farm where he learned the value of good hard work. He attended the Earlville Public High School in Earlville, Iowa where he was a standout basketball player. He graduated with the Class of 1952. After graduation, he entered the United States Army where he completed basic training at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas and then served at Ft. Benning, GA. He was united in marriage to Marilyn Ruth Clayton on September 3, 1955 at the Aldrich Presbyterian Church in Mpls. Their marriage was blessed with three daughters: Kathy, Beth and Shelley. Avery received his honorable discharge in January of 1957 and began working for the Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. as a cable splicer. He diligently worked his way up to management working for many years as a telephone engineer in a career that spanned over 33 years until his retirement in 1990. In the mid-1980's, Avery and Marilyn, in partnership with Avery's brother, Wayne and his wife purchased a farm in northern Iowa. Avery loved farming and enjoyed working the land each spring and nurturing the crops all summer until fall harvest. A serious illness nearly took Marilyn from him in 1993 and Avery decided to sell his interest in the farm to Wayne so he and Marilyn could travel and spend more time together. In retirement, Avery and Marilyn enjoyed spending their winters in Apache Junction, Arizona where they made many close friendships. They also enjoyed four-wheeling and hiking through the desert and mountains. Avery loved the out doors and especially enjoyed fishing and hunting when ever time allowed. He was a skilled wood worker and made many wood work projects for family and friends. He looked forward to his daily coffee time each morning with his precious wife, Marilyn. He was an active member of Riverside United Methodist Church where he volunteered in many areas of ministry. Above all, Avery devoted his life to his wife for these past 59 years, Marilyn; his daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren who he loved with all his heart. He leaves behind until their reunion in heaven his wife, Marilyn; his three daughters: Kathy Billings of Burnsville, MN, Beth (Tom) Dircks of Bloomington, MN and Shelley (Jim) Forsyth of Farmington, MN; three grandchildren: Brian (Becca) Kerkow of Savage, MN, Lisa Kerkow of Inver Grove Hts., and Angie Kerkow of Elko, MN; four great grandchildren: Taylor, Justin, Haley and Wyatt; one brother, Wayne (Margaret) Billings of Dorchester, Iowa and one sister, Kaye (Merlin) Redfern of Beaufort, SC; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. Avery was preceded in death by his parents. Memorial services will be held 1 PM Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at the Riverside United Methodist Church with Rev. Lee Kantonen and Rev. Steven Streed officiating. The organist will be Linda Szuszitsky. Dave Keller will sing, "His Eye Is On The Sparrow". The urnbearers will be grandson, Brian Kerkow and the honorary urn bearers will be friends: Kip Lof, Dick Cox, Oscar Pederson and David Gruis. Interment will take place in the Riverside Memorial Gardens in the spring. Military honors will be conducted by the Star of the North Marine Corps league with Ray Vaadeland playing the army anthem and "Taps". Visitation will begin one hour prior to the service at the church. A luncheon will be hosted by the church following the service. In lieu of flowers the family has requested that a donation may be made to the Kidney Foundation or Riverside United Methodist Church. To leave on line condolences or to view the video tribute please visit www.jonespearson.com.