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Duane Justin Christensen of Bemidji, MN passed away peacefully at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center on May 7th, 2018.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday May 14th, 2018 at Bethel Lutheran Church Bemidji, MN with Pastor Mark Kindem officiating. Visitation will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday May 13th, 2018 at Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji and one hour prior to the service on Monday at the church.
Duane was born April 24, 1931 to Christine (Kalland) Christensen and Martin Christensen in Kenmare, ND. After he graduated from Kenmare High School, Duane went on to receive degrees from Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota. He served in the US Army from September of 1953 to June of 1955. He married the love of his life, Elaine Gerhardson, on December 22, 1956, and started a family soon after. He devoted his career towards helping others. He was a teacher, high school principal, and eventually became the first Director of Special Education for BRIC when the family moved to Bemidji in 1969. He always had an enthusiasm for life, work, and new challenges. After his retirement, Duane and his daughter, Judith, owned and operated Maple Ridge Golf Course, where he and his brother, Dave, worked side by side helping to build the course. He was very active in Rotary International and participated in several humanitarian trips around the world. He has always been very active in his church, and in recent years was instrumental in starting the Child Care Center at Bethel Lutheran. He was an avid sports fan, enjoyed reading and keeping up with current events. Family was very important to him and he created many enjoyable memories through his hosting of family reunions, his story-telling, and his great sense of humor.
Duane is survived by his wife, Elaine, and children: Judith (Steven) Gelderman, Nancy (Russell) Lofthus, Brian Christensen, and Kevin (Trayce Peterson) Christensen, grandchildren: Andrew (Brittany) Lofthus, Adam (Ashley Perish) Lofthus, Grant (Samantha) Lofthus, Justin Christensen, and Janelle (Brendin) Nelson, and great grandchildren: Colin Lofthus, Callum Lofthus, and Kennedy Nelson, brother David Christensen, and many nieces and nephews.
Duane was preceded in death by infant daughter, Janice, parents: Martin & Christine, brothers: Alvin, Henry, John, and sisters: Emma Lien, Margaret Christensen, Ruth Nelson, Mary June Stritesky, Grace Skilbred, Aimee Lee, and Elsie Broden and daughter-in-law, Julie (Holland) Christensen.
Duane has touched many lives. Blessed be his memory. He will be greatly missed.