Bereavement Announcement – Rayburn Norling, former President of Willmar Poultry Company

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Rayburn Norling, former President of Willmar Poultry Company and Affiliates, at age 89.  He departed peacefully on April 23, 2024 surrounded by his family and loved ones, including his wife Harriet of 68 years.  We can take comfort in the knowledge that he embraced life to the fullest, making his faith and family a priority.

The son of Albin Norling, one of the original founders of Willmar Poultry and Egg company, Ray began his career with Willmar Poultry Company in 1958.  He agreed to come on board “temporarily” to assist with some bookkeeping.  From there he was asked to stay on to help improve the accounting system, transitioned to Office Manager, and soon was involved in every aspect of the business including Hatchery Manager and PALS manager.  While he spent several winters in Arizona, enjoying the sun and golfing, he was an integral part of our organization until stepping away in 2022.

Ray, in partnership with Ted Huisinga, led the organization for 60+ years.  They began the trend of investing in new technology, taking risks and establishing those roots for us early on which still guide us today.  Ray’s approach to business was to lead with integrity and frugality.  While Ted was the visionary, Ray, was the implementer.  He came alongside to analyze the options, determine what was feasible, and guide the decision making.  

Throughout the years, Ray lead with a quiet confidence that was respected throughout the industry.  The impact he had on the industry, the organization and the community will be remembered.  In honoring Ray’s memory, let us carry forward the values he exemplified: trustworthiness, excellence, and stewardship.  We should celebrate the profound impact he had on the organization and the legacy he leaves behind. 

As more information becomes available we will be sure to keep you informed.

Life-Science Innovations, Leadership Team