Duane A. McFarland, 94

January 09, 2023

Duane A. McFarland, 94, of East Grand Forks, MN, passed away on Saturday, January 7, 2023 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, ND.

Duane Arnfin McFarland, born March 26, 1928, was the second son of Ernest and Myrtle McFarland, farmers in the Bigwoods area just north of Oslo, MN. Duane would be joined later by two more brothers. The four boys grew up and played on a grain farm with cattle, chickens, a few pigs, horses, and a special dog named Spotty. Eventually the livestock went by the wayside and grain farming became the mainstay. All four children were remarkable according to their mother, Myrtle. They were clean, tidy, and very well-behaved. (Four boys—doubtful.)

Duane attended school, church, and some dance halls in the Bigwoods area. It was at a dance where he met Elaine Ruby Morberg who would later become his wife on September 14, 1952. Before that he enlisted in the army in 1948 and was part of the peace keeping efforts in Germany at the end of World War Il. Duane was honorably discharged in 1952. He was proud of his military service and military friendships he continued to maintain. He was forever grateful to the VA for all the support he received later in life. When Duane returned to the U.S., he and Elaine married and moved to Thief River Falls where he worked as an auto mechanic and parts manager for Custom Motors, Weiner Motors, and eventually owning his own business, Duke’s Auto Repair. Later he went to work for Lind’s Automotive Supply/Carquest where he sold auto parts over the road, again having coffee, chatting and selling to customers who also became longtime friends.

Duane and Elaine had three children: Gwen, Lance, and Kim. They were good parents. All three children grew up to be law abiding (mostly) adults and contributing members of society. Duane lost the first love of his life, Elaine, in 1982. Duane was proud of his kids, his grandkids, and great-grandkids. He enjoyed telling them his stories of the past as a kid, as a member of the armed forces, of travels to the southern climates.

A few years after Elaine’s death, he was introduced to Arliene Brown and the two became great friends and a strong, loving bond developed which lasted until Arliene’s death in 2018.

Arliene and Duane lived in Thief River until 2007 at which time they moved to St. Cloud, MN, and a year in Andover. During their thirty plus years together, they traveled to Arizona and Texas to escape the cold and reconnect with other snowbirds. Duane was always looking to make connections and learn about people, places, and things. He had an insatiable curiosity.

Living a long life of ninety-four years brings many tremendous joys and also pain. He experienced the loss of his parents; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Vernon (wife Ruby) and Arlan (wife Esther), Roma McFarland; a wife; life-partner; a son; a son-in-law (Randy Ness); and other close family and friends; and of course, his beloved dog, Max.

Left to miss this incredible man are his two daughters and their spouses Gwen Lappegaard (Terry) and Kim Ness (Bob Spangenberg); his daughter in-law, DeeDee; his little brother Weldon; his sister-in-law, Sandra (John) Schmidt; brother-in-law, John (Mary) Morberg; nieces and nephews; and “Grandpa Duke” will be missed by his ten grandkids and their spouses as well as his twenty-one great-grandchildren all of whom he was so very proud.

**in lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Thief River Falls American Legion Post #117 or a charity of your choice.

Memorial Service: 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 14 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, with visitation the from 10-11 a.m. prior to the service.

Inurnment with military honors will be in the spring at Greenwood Cemetery in Thief River Falls, MN.

An online guestbook can be signed at www.amundsonfuneralhome.com