Duane Slunecka, 83, of Miller, passed away Friday, July 1, 2016 at the Avera Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls.
Funeral Mass will be 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Miller with Father Chester Murtha, celebrant. Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis. Visitation will begin at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday July 5, 2016 followed by a 7:00 p.m. prayer service, all at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.
Duane John was born January 18, 1933 in Miller, SD to John, Jr. and Matilda “Tillie” (Schlechter) Slunecka. Duane was the oldest of two sons, they spent his first 13 years growing up in the same house with his parents, brother Bob, along with his aunt and uncle, Minnie (his mother’s twin) and Fred (his father’s brother) and their three children: Arlene, Wanelda, and Audrey; all on the family farm in rural Hand County. He attended grade school at Campbell Township and went to school at St. Liborius part time as a boarding student. He attended Fairview High School in Polo and as a senior, attended South Dakota College Ag School.
In September of 1952, Duane enlisted in the Air Force. Served basic training in San Antonio, Texas and specialized in munitions in White Sands, NM. He went on to serve one year in the Korean War; returning to the states in 1954 until being honorably discharged in 1956. He stayed active in the Air Force Reserves until 1960.
During his time in the service, he met and married Barbara Jean Bell of North Carolina. While they were both serving in the military, Duane at ManZano Base and Barbara at Sandia Base, both in Albuquerque, NM. They were married on June 24, 1955. In the fall of 1956, he came back to South Dakota to join his father and brother on the farm in rural Hand County.
Duane retired from farming after 40 years and then went to work for Merle Bertsch until 2012. Duane and Barb moved into Miller in 2001.
In Duane’s free time, he participated in the American Legion and VFW, Hand County Extension Board member, Director on Hand County ASCS board, and member of the Miller Lions Club. He had a passion for old cars, tractors, antiques, and watching his grandchildren grow.
He will be missed by his wife of 61 years, Barbara of Miller; children: Fred (Sandy) Slunecka of Sioux Falls, Alan (Janet) Slunecka of rural Miller, James (Karen) Slunecka of Faulkton, Teresa (David) Schanzenbach of Belle Fourche, Leslie (Mary) Slunecka of Sioux Falls, and Thomas (Robyn) Slunecka of Mankato, MN; 13 grandchildren: Adam, Matt, Colin, Cory, Sarah, Jesse, Aaron, Dana, Heather, John, Wyatt, Will, and Jack; 6 great grandchildren; and one brother, Robert (Doris) Slunecka of Miller.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family request memorials to the Hand County Health, Wellness, & Community Foundation, PO Box 121, Miller, SD 57362.
Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Duane’s arrangements.