Duane Eugene Bartels passed away on May 6, 2024, at St. William’s Living Center in Parkers Prairie with his family by his side. He was 88 years old. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Clarissa, Minn. with a prayer service starting at 4 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 17, 2024, at the church with visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment and full Military Honors will be at Oak Valley Cemetery by Wrightstown at 1:30 p.m. the same day as the service. 

Duane was born on August 14, 1935, in a house in Clitherall to Arnold and Leona (Pieper) Bartels. He was baptized and confirmed in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Henning. During the first 12 years of Duane’s life, they lived on a farm by Inspiration Peak and he walked 2 miles to a country school each day and skied to school in the winter. In 1948, the family moved to the Henning area and there he went to country school through 8th grade. Duane attended Henning High School for 2 years and then was drafted into the US Army for 2 years. 

In 1960, he met Joanne Woodard at Hiway Park Dance Hall and they were married on October 28, 1961. The couple’s first home was an 8’ by 28’ trailer house on his parents’ farm. Duane helped his dad farm and he drove a can milk truck for the Vining Creamery. While living on the farm, the couple was blessed with five of their children, Brenda, Becky, Bradley, Brent, and Barry. In 1968, they moved to the Bertha area where Duane drove a bulk milk truck. In 1969, they bought the Harold Rasmussen farm by Clarissa. Side by side, Duane and Joanne raised dairy cows, pigs, and chickens and were members of the Farmers Union. At their new farmstead, the couple was blessed with 6 more children, Bernal, Byron, Belinda, Bonita, Brandon, and Brett. They sold the dairy cows in 2000 and Duane drove a school bus for Browerville School until he retired. 

After having COVID-19, the couple lived with their daughter, Bonita, and her family for 7 weeks and then moved to an assisted living in Glenwood for a year and a half. After this, Duane moved into St. William’s Living Center and Joanne returned to the farm.

Duane liked to have a cold one, play cards, and dance the polka and waltz. He loved the Minnesota Vikings and Twins, his cows, and his tractors. Duane also enjoyed afternoons of fishing, watching his boys play ball, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. He will be remembered for his storytelling and he will be dearly missed.

Duane is survived by his wife, Joanne; children, Brenda (Larry) Knutson, Becky (Kevin) Boyer, Bradley (Angie) Bartels, Brent (Michelle) Bartels, Barry (Karen) Bartels, Bernal (Jennifer) Bartels, Byron (Trisha) Bartels, Belinda VanHoever, Bonita (Kenton) Chromey, Brandon (Tabitha) Bartels, and Brett (Katie) Bartels; 28 grandchildren; 6 step-grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren and one on the way; sisters, Marlys Eckhoff; brothers, Donald (Alice) Bartels, Ronald (Patricia) Bartels, and Alden (Phyllis) Bartels. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arnold and Leona Bartels; brothers, Delmer and Arvid Bartels; sisters-in-law, Kareen and Phyllis Bartels; brother-in-law, Leonard Eckhoff; and grandson, Eli Bartels.

I n lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to St. William’s Living Center in Parkers Prairie, MN.

Arrangements are with Iten Funeral Home. www.itenfuneralhome.com