Duane Gordon Anderson, 71, of Williston, passed away at the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday evening, February 12, 2019, with his family at his side, under the care of Hospice.
In keeping with Duane’s wishes, no funeral will be held. A memorial service may be held at a later date. Duane donated his body to the University of North Dakota Medical School for educational purposes.
Welcoming Duane to eternal life in heaven is his Savior, Jesus Christ. Others welcoming him to his new home in heaven are his parents, Gordon and Emma (Landers) Anderson; his brother, Deane Anderson; his grandparents, Richard and Amelia (Halvorson) Anderson and Harry and Gina (Monson) Landers.
Duane was born at Crosby, ND on April 5, 1947 to Emma Anderson and Gordon D. Anderson. At the age of 5, Duane ran toward the front storm door of the Anderson home and went partly through the glass window, opening an artery in his arm. The quick thinking of his mom who wrapped his arm in a towel before getting medical attention saved his life.
Each day, after elementary school dismissed, Duane would run home to spend several hours listening to radio programs such as Roy Rogers, The Great Gildersleve, and The Lone Ranger.
Duane played trumpet, baritone, and tuba in the school bands. He marched and played at Band Day in Williston through high school. He also worked for and attended Band Day representing the Williston school bands for approximately 40 additional years. The Williston Band Day committee honored Duane in 2014 when they selected him to be their Parade Marshall. He greatly appreciated this honor!
As a freshman at Crosby High School, Duane was proud of building the “Swish” (a 15 foot plywood boat) in the same vocational agriculture shop that his Dad had taught, in 1946 and 1947.
While a senior at Crosby High School in 1964, Duane founded a one-person high school cross-country team. He hitchhiked to meets across ND to represent the Crosby Maroons. Later while a student at UND, Duane was a member of the University of North Dakota “Fighting Sioux” cross-country teams of 1966 and 1967. Duane graduated from UND in 1970. He also attended carpentry school in Alexandria, MN and the UND Williston Center.
After college, Duane was a social worker in Rolla and Crosby. He also worked in construction for a few years. At the age of 30, Duane found his “dream job” with the Williston School District. He spent the next 32 years working full time followed by 8 more years of part time work for the District. Poor health forced his total retirement in June of 2018. Duane served as maintenance supervisor many of those years. Some of his other duties included lock and key work in all district buildings and operating and supervising the operations of the high school indoor swimming pool.
In the 1980’s, Duane owned and flew a 1946 Aeronco Champ tail-dragger airplane. He enjoyed flying around the local area from “Welcome Airport” near Epping, ND. The runway was a grass airstrip 850 feet long, located near the Deane and Gail Bjella rural home. Duane also enjoyed riding in Deane’s Citabria and Taylorcraft airplanes. Duane, along with Deane’s brother, Greg, also flew to Montana where each trained for and made one parachute jump.
Other hobbies Duane enjoyed over many years were writing, reading, and historical research. Many hours were dedicated to sorting, labeling, and scanning to computer the extensive photo collection of his dad and mom, both of whom had been amateur photographers. Two Face book sites created by Duane are “Divide County Historical Schools” and “Divide County History”.
Amateur Theatre was a hobby of Duane’s all his life. He was well known for attending and working with high school theatre productions, “Youth Education on Stage”, “Cardiac Capers’, “Miss North Dakota Pageant”, and “Entertainment Inc.” He also managed the Williston High School Auditorium for school events and rentals for 19 years.
Several years ago, the Williston High School Fine Arts Department gave Duane one of the greatest honors of his life when the department established a new annual theatre award in his name.
Surviving Duane are Elizabeth (Azure) Anderson, his wife of 46 years; sons: Lonny (Jessica), Bismarck; Gordon (Darcy), Williston; grandchildren, Brynn, Collin, Jacob, Mason; brothers: Bruce Anderson, French Lick, Indiana; Keith Anderson (Marj), Crosby, ND; Donald “Andy” Anderson (Diana), Franklin, TN; lifelong friend: Deane Bjella, Epping, ND; numerous nephews and nieces; and many friends and caregivers from the Leonard Nelson Cancer Center in Williston, ND.
Duane “Papa” Anderson authored the following prayer for his family and friends: “Stay Safe, Be Kind, Have Fun!”
Everson Coughlin Funeral Home of Williston is in charge of arrangements. Memorials received will be used to support high school theatre.
Friends are welcome to visit www.eversoncoughlin.com to share memories of Duane or leave condolences for his family.