Duane “Dewey” Herman Benson was born to Alvin and Marie (Grewing) Benson on April 3, 1945 in West Lyons Township, Wadena County. In his youth, Duane attended a one room school house (31 North) with his brothers and sisters, later attending Sebeka High School with the Class of 1963. Duane honorably served in the United States Navy from July 22, 1963 to July 21, 1967, on the ship USS Waddell with his brother Denny during the Vietnam War. After returning, Duane furthered his education at the Wadena Vocational Technical College and was later employed with ConTel Telephone Company.
In 1971, Duane married Elizabeth Wirkkala. They were united in marriage for 10 years and during their union, were blessed with two beautiful children, Stacy Ann and Curtis Duane. Duane later met Diana (Schwartz) Pomey; she and her daughter, Jessica Lee, moved into the family home in Milaca, Minnesota. During his residence in Milaca, Duane and his next-door neighbor founded the successful Du-ALL Handyman service, where house calls were frequent and there wasn’t a project they couldn’t handle. Duane and his two children moved to California in 1988. On June 30, 1990, Duane was united in marriage to Diana at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, in Sebeka. The family reunited and resided in Pinole, California where he continued his Du-ALL Handyman business before returning to Nimrod in 2004.
Duane enjoyed spending time with his family, his kids, and his grandkids who were the apple of his eye. He tried hunting, liked fishing, went camping and 4-wheeling, mostly donated while playing Texas Hold ‘Em and various card/dice games, and loved having a laugh, conversation and coffee with friends at the Nimrod Senior Center. He favored, most days, putzin’ in his shed, and riding motorcycle with the “Wild Hogs”. He was fondly called “Punky” or “Uncle Punker” to many friends, nieces and nephews and you were only a stranger to him until you met him.
Duane entered eternal rest on April 30, 2019 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, surrounded by his loving family. He is preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Curtis Benson, and sisters, Audrey Stinar and Marvis "Toddy" Haro.
He is survived by his wife Diana of Sebeka; daughter Stacy (Ryan) Swatek of Onalaska, WI; son Curtis Benson of La Crosse, WI; step-daughter, Jessica Pomey of Oakland, CA; two grandchildren, Emma (15) & Benson (14) Swatek; siblings Harvey Benson, Ilene Stinar, Gloria (Darrell) Lake, Dennis (Nancy) Benson, Gary (Ann) Benson; and many, many nieces and nephews.
Duane will be dearly missed by family and friends We will all cherish memories of his full belly laugh, salty stories and twinkle in his eye.