Tribute to Willard Ogren

Mari Greene, Editor

As some may have heard, Willard Ogren, a devoted and generous supporter of South Shore, has passed away. Willard graduated from South Shore in 1951, and throughout his high school career, Willard was exceptional at baseball, basketball and track and field. After graduating from South Shore, Willard attended University of Wisconsin Superior while working at Security State Bank in Port Wing, Wisconsin. After a year of college, Willard left college to pursue banking full time. Eventually, after buying stocks, he and his wife Jeri became the owners of Security State Bank. Over time, they acquired multiple banks in the area, and made many other business ventures. 

Willard loved the South Shore School District and was one of our biggest supporters. He and his family donated to the Education Foundation to fund multiple initiatives.  Here are a few of his contributions: 

  • A recent donation includes the  funding of the 1:1 Computer to Student program. This provided all of the computers that each student receives to do schoolwork.
  • His donation made it possible for South Shore to create a fitness center, which is called the Willard Ogren Fitness Center. Students and athletes use the fitness center almost daily and during the summer and off seasons. 
  • Willard and his wife Jeri created the Willard and Jeri Ogren Scholar/Athlete Award, which is a scholarship that students may receive for outstanding academic and athletic achievement. He and Jeri provided scholarships for students attending South Shore High School, Northwestern High School, and University of Minnesota Duluth. 


Aside from giving back to the community and the school that he grew up in, Willard loved to give back by volunteering in many different organizations. He was a Lions Club charter member for 56 years, Salvation Army board member for 20 years, and had been a part of management for Toys for Tots and Teens.

Willard was extremely generous and gave back to his community in every way possible. We are all so grateful for the love and generosity Willard showed towards South Shore. We send our deepest condolences to the Ogren family at this time. 

A visitation will be held on March 21 from 4-6pm at Downs Le-Sage Funeral Home, followed by a family-only funeral on the 22nd. There will be a celebration of life at the Northern Pines Golf Course that all are welcome to attend from 3-6 pm on March 22nd.