Duane R. Dahnert | Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

April 1, 1923 - July 28, 2019

Duane R. Dahnert, age 96, passed away peacefully on July 28, 2019, in the care of his loving family. He is survived by children, Roger (Nancy), Keith (Lee), Linda Voight (Allan) and Ellen Busse (Robert); 11 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, as well as many other relatives and friends. Service is Saturday at 11 am at Oak Grove Lutheran Church, 7045 Lyndale Ave. S., Richfield. Visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment at Ft. Snelling at 1:30 pm on Tuesday.
A 50-year Richfield resident, he retired from Alloy Hardfacing & Engineering Company and continued engineering consulting into his mid-eighties. He was a loving husband and caregiver to his late wives: Elsie (61 years) and Beverly (7 years).
He was born on a farm outside Neillsville, Wisconsin where his father was a tenant farmer. From ages 2–4 he lived with his parents at a logging camp in Northern Wisconsin in a cabin with a dirt floor. Shortly thereafter they moved to a farm that the family bought, located outside of Neillsville where he lived through high school. He walked or rode his bike 2 miles to school each day, uphill in both directions.
Following high school, in October 1941 and before WWII, his father signed for him to enlist in the Army because he was under age. He closed his service in the India/Burma/China theaters as a technical inspector on C47’s for General Chennault’s Air Cargo Combat Squadron. During his service he met his wife, Elsie, in St. Louis at a USO dance that his buddies encouraged him to attend.
Following the War, thanks to the GI Bill, he attended and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a Degree in Agricultural Engineering. His first job out of college was with the Public Service Company in Mendota, Illinois, selling electrical service to farms that had never had electricity for lighting houses or to power farm equipment.
Life went on from there taking the family from Illinois to Michigan to Pennsylvania, back to Illinois and finally to Minnesota (more detail available in his autobiography “Life of a Wisconsin Farm Boy: As Best I Remember It”).
It is worth noting that at his age he was computer literate, purchasing computers before some of his children. About 10 years ago he drove himself to a cell phone store and bought his first iPhone so he could text and Facebook to stay in touch with his children, grandchildren, extended family and many friends, which he did until his death.
Duane was a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He also loved traveling, fishing, woodworking, and building toys for grandchildren. He passionately developed detailed plans and built scaled remote-control model airplanes, which are documented in his “80+ Years of Model Airplanes” Album. In 2017 and 2018 two planes were both Scale and Pilot’s Choice Winners in the Twin Cities Grassfield Radio Control Club: the Bellanca CF and the Curtis Robin. He actually went to the Smithsonian Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington DC to do research to develop the plans for the Bellanca which had never before been modeled.

Memorials preferred to:
Trinity First Lutheran School
1115 East 19th Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

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