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Dee Durst

May 31, 1930 - January 31, 2017

Life Legacy

Dear Family and Friends,                                                                 

It is with both a heavy heart and a profound sense of peace that we write to tell you that our beloved father Dee has joined his Lord and dear wife in heaven.  Mom’s passing in October 2014 was a devastating and painful loss for him.  He remained at their senior living home, The Villa San Ramon, with bright moments of grandkids and great-grands visits, his favorite chocolate malts from The Habit, and Paula and Rich’s daily care, but his failing memory and health, combined with the sadness of missing mom took its toll.  In October 2016 his care needs surpassed those provided by the Villa and we desired a home environment with constant care and consistent care givers for him.  Paula found just the place in the Danville Care Home, a cheerful house with a room for Dad, staffed by angels and just minutes from Paula and Rich’s house.  Hospice care was truly a blessing, anticipating his changing needs and modifying his care during the last weeks.  We gathered to be with him and he passed peacefully at 10:30 pm on January 31st. 

In lieu of a service, we are sending you this written remembrance with the hope that you will have a moment to sit, reflect and celebrate his life with us.

The 23rd Psalm was a favorite of his.  As you read it, the promises of the Lord shine through clearly:  hope, faithfulness, abundance, discipline, protection, relationship, healing, blessing and eternity.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This poem was recited at their 60th Anniversary party in 2012.  It was perfect then and it is perfect now.

                          He is her song, She is his melody; 
                                 Together they are music. 

                          He is her provider, She is his keeper;                                  
                                 Together they are unity. 

                          He is her sunshine, She is his star; 
                           Together they are a guiding light.

                          He is her smile, She is his comfort; 
                              Together they are harmony.

                          He is her heart, She is his life;
                         Together they are happiness. 

                          He is her vow, She is his faith; 
                           Together they are devotion. 

                          He is her past, She is his memories; 
                              Together they are a lifetime. 

                          One completes the other; 
                                Together they are whole.                                              

We take great comfort in knowing that his most fervent desire, to be reunited with his bride of 62 years and his Maker, has come true.  We will miss you dear Dad.  See you in Heaven!

 With love, Paula, TimAnn, and NanMarie

Dee Durst, age 86, passed from this world to be with his Savior on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from lung cancer in Danville, CA. 

Dee was born on May 31, 1930 to Elmer Andrew and Ora Runke in Gregor, WI.  He joined older brother Roy and was followed by sister Joyce.  Their first home was in the country, above the cheese factory where his Father worked.  When Dee was eight they moved to Algoma, living briefly with their Grandmother until moving to the family home on Navarino Street.  He and his buddy Lloydie played in the nearby empty lot building grass huts and getting into a bit of trouble pinching wood from an old brewery for their river dock. 

Dee, called “Happy” by his classmates, attended Algoma High, graduating in 1947.   He was a strong athlete, lettering in basketball and football.  He was also Junior Class Prom King.  Outside of school, he excelled in baseball.  In college, during the summers he was a pitcher for the Algoma Eagles, and the Little Sturgeons.  In 1951 he graduated from State Teachers College (River Falls).

One college weekend Dee ventured to Minneapolis to acquire a London Fog coat.  That he did, but on the bus ride home, after receiving permission to sit by the only other rider, Ede Olsen, he eventually acquired much more - a beloved wife who would be by his side for 62 years.  Ede and Dee married in New Richmond, at the Congregational Life Church on May 17, 1952.  They honeymooned up into Canada, including Niagara Falls, where we credit him for taking the first “selfie” using a real stick.

From 1951 to 1955 Dee served as a Staff Sergeant in the US Air Force.  He received basic training in New York and was stationed at McClellan AFB in Sacramento, and then at Eielson AFB in Fairbanks.  He flew “weather” missions from Eielson and learned to appreciate canned spam and K-rations.  His squadron leader summarized him personally as “extremely neat in appearance, possessing fine military bearing, and being courteous, pleasant and well mannered.” 

After his honorable discharge he taught math, science, and physical education in Fairbanks.  Upon obtaining his Masters in Superior, WI he began his career in secondary administration, culminating in the opening of the new Jr./Sr. High, Bartlett-Begich.  The school opened unfinished, with a large incoming student body, and Dee who had fallen down the stairs and broken his arm the day before at the building inspection.  Despite this auspicious beginning, he was instrumental in leading Bartlett to become a school credited for it’s excellence in academics, sports, and the arts.

Dee was Father, Dad, Dadbo, Papá and leader of the universe to his three daughters.  Paula Dee was born in Sacramento in 1953, TimAnn in Fairbanks in 1959, and NanMarie in Anchorage in 1967.  His strong and silent parenting style complemented the soft and nurturing style of his wife.  Together they raised their girls in the great state of Alaska exposing them to it’s beauty, wonder and expanse.  One special joy was experiencing the aurora borealis.  Many family trips were taken boating and fishing out of Whittier and the Kenai peninsula resulting in salmon, halibut, crab and plenty of good memories. 

Hunting moose was something that Dee enjoyed with his close friend Milan Baker and they were good at stocking the family freezers.  They were particularly excited to go on a trophy hunt where they each bagged a Dahl sheep; Dee’s hung proudly in his home office.  In the early years Milan piloted the two of them to remote areas to ice fish via ski plane.  There were always new places to explore and adventures to be had.  They were lucky to have a story to tell, after crashing upon take-off returning from a trip to Montague Island.  They were unhurt and able to communicate that to family, but were forced to stay overnight before being rescued. 

Frugality and industriousness were traits that Dee seemed to acquire at birth.  One of his first jobs was standing up the pins at the local bowling alley for a penny apiece.  He occasionally received a free soda from the little old ladies who appreciated an extra nudge to a stubborn pin.  In college he hauled five gallon drums of heating oil up three flights of stairs for different little old ladies for five cents a trip.  He was a legendary sale shopper of groceries, sometimes to the cook’s (his wife’s) dismay.  His knack for economy afforded more of everything for his schools, his family and many a food bank!

After child rearing and retirement, Dee and Ede toured the states in their RV before resettling in Tucson at the Voyager RV Resort.  Wanting more space, they eventually built a home in the northwest area of Tucson.  They spent a terrific decade there, making new friends, hiking, playing tennis, patio entertaining, going to the Gaslight Theatre, and hanging with the NABS Hot Air Balloon Group. Summers usually found them heading north, frequently to their daughter’s homes in California and Wyoming, or visiting family and friends in Wisconsin. They enjoyed some spectacular international travel before feeling the need to move closer to family.  The Villa San Ramon, near Paula, was the chosen place.  After Ede’s passing Dee lived there for another two years before moving to the Danville Care Home. 

Dee is survived by three daughters and sons-in-law, Paula (Richard) Townley of Danville, CA, TimAnn (Stuart) Day of Casper, WY, and NanMarie (Mikal) Kartvedt of Los Angeles, CA; seven grandchildren, Sarah (Ben) Bradford, Shelby (Chris) Brown, David Townley, Matthew (Melissa) Townley, Erica (Arik Smith) Day, Lindsey and Noelle Kartvedt; six great grandchildren, Abigail and Ethan Bradford, Ryder and Owen Brown, Denver and Wade Townley, and numerous nieces and nephews.  He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother and his wife.

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