Duane E. Merritt, 80, of Osseo, formerly of rural Fairchild, passed away Tuesday evening, October 24, 2017 at Mayo Clinic Health System – Eau Claire.
Duane Elvin Merritt, son of Ezra and Evelyn (Bishop) Merritt was born June 16, 1937 in Waseca, Minnesota. He was raised on a farm in Freeborn, Minnesota and it was there that he attended school.
Duane entered the U.S. Navy in June of 1954 and was stationed at U.S. Fleet Sonar School in San Diego, CA. With the Navy he served on a ship that sailed in the Pacific Ocean along the west coast to Alaska. While in California he met Irene Iles who he later married on Nov. 16, 1957 in San Diego. When he was discharged in 1958, he and his wife moved to Fairchild where his parents had purchased a farm. With few jobs in the midwest they returned to California but eventually returned back to Fairchild permanently in the mid - 1960s. From 1968 until 2000 he operated a dairy farm in the Town of Fairchild, and continued to farm the land until just a few years ago. In the spring of 2017 Duane and Irene moved into the city of Osseo.
Duane was extremely civic minded and for 40 years served on the Board for the Town of Fairchild Eau Claire County, 32 of those years as board president. He also served on the Eau Claire County Town Association Board, serving as president and also on the State Town Association Board. He also served others in the Fairchild community by serving on the board of the Fairchild Fire Department, serving with the Lions Club, on the Fairchild Library Board, and also on the board of the Community Co-op Store. For 18 years he served on the Osseo-Fairchild School Board and was also instrumental in the formation of the Area Historical Tribute in Fairchild. In appreciation for his dedication to his community he was awarded the Fairchild Citizen of the Year, 3 different years. Duane thoroughly enjoyed attending meetings and helping his fellow man but spending time with his family was equally important. Between his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren he and Irene attended many sporting events, concerts and other school related activities.
Duane will be dearly missed by Irene, his loving wife of nearly 60 years; 3 daughters, Wanda and Frank LaBerge of Elk Mound, Nadine and Don Hanson of Eau Claire, Denice Merritt of Altoona; son Neil and Pamela Merritt of Osseo; 12 grandchildren, Miranda, Jamie, Matthew, Joseph, Joshua, Ashley, Benny, Laura, Cory, Leah, Lindsey and Megan; 10 great grandchildren; brother, Kenneth (Donna) Merritt of Janesville, MN; and sister, Louise (Alan) Petersen of Austin, MN. He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Myron and Janet Merritt; and great granddaughter, Natalie Krenz.
A visitation was held Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Anderson Funeral Home in Augusta, where funeral services followed at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Burial was held the following Monday at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner.
Online condolences can be left at www.andersonfhaugusta.com.