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Obituaries from the week of December 4, 2013

M. Duane Smith, 84


M. Duane Smith, age 84, of Walnut Grove, MN passed away peacefully November 14, 2013 at his winter home in Roadhaven Resort, Apache Junction AZ.  As the first responders on the scene said, “it seems he was having a nice cup of coffee on the screen porch, quietly put his head back, and went to sleep.”

Duane was preceded in death by parents Bertha and Harry Smith, sister Marcella Turner, and brothers Leo, Jack and Vincent. 

He is survived by daughters Kathy (Michael) Fiala, Belinda (John) Henle, sons Blair (Tania) Smith, Guy (Elizabeth) Smith, Steven (Anne) Smith, David Smith, Jeffrey Smith, sisters Cleone Flynn, Madonna (Bud) Jablinski, Connie (Glen) Berndt, brothers Robert (Norma) Smith, Dennis (Movane) Smith, and many nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Duane was born in Tracy MN June 8, 1929.  He attended school in Walnut Grove, then later in Butterfield.  After serving two years in the US Navy, he met his future wife Charlotte DeRider in Russell MN where Duane was working on an area farm.  Charlotte and Duane were married November 18, 1950 and from that date began a remarkable 50+ year farming career together at the home place south of Walnut Grove.

He was a skilled farmer, highly respected by neighbors and peers.  Something of a perfectionist, Duane always insisted his fields be ‘clean’ of any weeds or errant growth.

He inspired his seven children with his own character attributes of a strong work ethic, self-reliance, motivation, and confidence, encouraging their unique talents and abilities, and enabling them to achieve success in various walks of life.

In his leisure time, Duane enjoyed playing cards, dancing, fishing and golf, most often with Charlotte at his side.  They travelled extensively both in the US and abroad.  From Kenya to Ecuador to Alaska and many places in between, they were always game for a new adventure.

Duane was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.  He served on the Holly Township Board, and was a lector at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Westbrook.

During the last years of Charlotte’s life, Duane took on the role as her caregiver with compassion and selflessness, dedicating himself to her dignity and comfort.

The funeral Mass will be held at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Walnut Grove, Saturday, December 7 at 11:00 am.  Visitation at the church two hours prior to the Mass.  Interment will be in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Walnut Grove.  Memorials preferred to St. Paul’s Catholic Church or the charity of your choice. Stephens Funeral Service of  Walnut Grove is handling the arrangements.