Fishing 05


Duane "Duey" Johnston

August 19, 1934 ~ October 1, 2018 (age 84)

Duey Johnston was born August 19, 1934 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to Lulu (Dahlheim) and Tom H. Johnston.  He was the oldest of four brothers. After graduating from Detroit Lakes High school, he attended Oak Hills Bible College in Bemidji, MN. Duey became a telegrapher for the Northern Pacific Railroad.  In 1955, he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served as a cryptographer in the Philippines during his active duty. 

After an honorable discharge from the USAF, he returned to Detroit Lakes to work with his father in their family business started by his grandfather (Johnston Excavating).  In 1960, he married Janet Nash and they took up residence east of Detroit Lakes.  Duey and Janet began to expand their family and welcomed Jenni and Scott into their home. In 1986, Duey sold his excavating company and went to work for Beltone hearing aids.

In July 1990, he married Nancy Huhtala and they moved to their new home near Hillview, west of Sebeka.  Duey drove school bus for the New York Mills and Sebeka school districts for years in his semi-retirement.  He continued to be active in his church serving as a deacon as well as leading a jail ministry program.  Duey traveled on several missionary trips to Columbia where he put his excavation skills to good use helping to build infrastructures.

Duey loved Darkhouse spearing as well as making and selling his fishing decoys.  He made his first decoy when he was 12 years old and continued to make them for over 70 years.  “Duey’s Decoys” are known nationwide.  He estimated that he had made over 4000!  He became chapter coordinator for the Minnesota Darkhouse & Angling Association and supported the startup of many other state chapters. 

Duey was passionate about duck, goose and deer hunting.  Throughout his life, he raised and trained many types of pedigreed hunting dogs.  His Big Boy tomatoes were the pride of his garden every year!  He continued to be involved as a ham radio operator (call sign K0QQP) and developing his homing pigeons as a hobby.

Preceded in death by his parents, wife Nancy Huhtala Johnston, and brother Thomas Johnston. Duey is survived by brothers: Marvin (Eileen) Johnston and Douglas Johnston; children: Jenni (Paul) Lubbers and Scott (Jennifer) Johnston; stepchildren: Anne Huhtala, Mark (Brenda) Huhtala, Phoebe (Lee) Vought, Charles (Wanda) Huhtala, Kirsten Lamar, and James (Rhonda) Huhtala; eighteen grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. 

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