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Duane Miles Smith, Sr.

Born: Thu., Sep. 22, 1927
Died: Tue., Jun. 11, 2019


Graveside Service

12:00 PM Mon., Jul. 15, 2019
Location: Salem Heights Cemetery


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Duane Miles Smith, Sr. passed away on June 11, 2019, at St. Cloud Veterans Hospital, St. Cloud, MN. Duane was born on September 22, 1927, in LaPorte, IN.

  Duane was originally from Fish Lake, Indiana. After enlisting in the Navy at 17 Duane served on the USS Stormes (DD780) and the USS Fechteler (DD870) serving as Oil King on both ships. Shortly after reenlisting on his 21st birthday Duane’s ship returned to Norfolk, Virginia. While on Liberty Duane and a friend were injured while assisting another motorist, causing severe injuries which necessitated Duane’s transfer to Great Lakes Naval Hospital for treatment. While there he met Barbara, the Navy Nurse who became his wife. Duane began working when he was 12 years old at the Purdue Farm near Fish Lake which fed his curiosity and love of plants and their many nuances which continued throughout his life. After Duane and Barbara were married they made Minnesota their home and Duane earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy from the University of Minnesota. After graduation Duane was employed by MN Crop Improvement Association, Barzan Seeds, and the University of Minnesota Plant Sciences Department. He went on to become an integral part of the development and research departments at the University of Minnesota. Duane also worked at the Minnesota State Fair from 1956 to 2018 in Farm Crops and the MCIA departments, serving as the Superintendent of Farm Crops from 1975-2001, and adding Crop Art to the competition in 1965.  During his years of working with the University, in addition to his own children and grandchildren Duane took under his wing and mentored many undergrad and grad students in the nuances of plant research, particularly the Alfalfas. Many of those students are still his friends. Duane had a life-long love of learning. An inveterate reader he also loved watching and feeding the birds, gardening, traveling back to Indiana for annual family reunions and class reunions at Mill Creek School and talking about the extensive genealogy he has compiled for all of us. You knew to settle in for a long conversation when you heard him say: 'And where did you grow up, if I may ask?'  It was surprising how many people he asked that of that had a connection to someone or someplace he knew. He loved his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren, and will be sorely missed by all of us. Duane was predeceased by his first and third wife Barbara and their son Daniel (Laurie), his second wife Martha, by his brother Gayle and infant sister Elsa, and by brothers- and sisters-in law. He is survived by his children Rebecca, (Floyd), Duane (Tammy) and Ellen (John) of Minnesota, his stepdaughter Darcy, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, his sister Patsy Six of North Liberty, nieces and nephews and his brother-in-law and great friend Hugh. On Sunday, July 14th, at the Smith family reunion, a Celebration of his Life will be held. On Monday, July 15th, at 12:00 P.M.(CST) a graveside service at Salem Heights Cemetery, 3501 IN-4, La Porte, IN 46350, with military honors will be held. For information please call 612-741-0239 and leave a message.

 Hanley and Sons Funeral Home “Southwest Chapel” handled local arrangements and extends our sympathy and heartfelt prayers to Duane’s family.

 Condolences may be expressed on our website: www.hanleyandsonfuneralhome.com

 

 

 

 

 

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