Duane L. Hardy, age 88, died suddenly and peacefully October 15, 2016 in Clearwater, Florida. While Duane's presence will be sorely missed, we rejoice as he is eternally re-united in Heaven with his beloved wife Bonnie.
Funeral services are 10:30 AM, on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Yankton with Reverend David Wildermuth officiating. Burial will be in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton with military honors provided by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post No. 791, US Navy Honor Guard, and Patriot Guard. Visitation will begin at 5:00 PM, on Friday, October 21 and a prayer service, video tribute and time of sharing will be held at 7:00 PM. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the funeral on Saturday at the church.
Pallbearers are Duane's grandsons: Chad McInerney, Brian McInerney, Josh McInerney, Eric Hardy, Adam Hardy and Jonathan Hansen. Honorary pallbearers are his granddaughters, "Papa's girls": Amy McInerney Schmidt, Shena Hanson Shoemaker, Stephanie Hardy Austin and Hannah Baily Swanson.
Duane was born to Clifford and Eva Hardy on December 1, 1927 in Dassel, Minnesota. Duane was raised with a loving Mom and Dad, an older brother Jack, and two younger sisters Joan and Betty. Memory of Duane's very first appearance is noteworthy. Duane was not only born at home but also weighed in at 11 lbs.! Duane grew up around lake cabins and walleye fishing. Duane graduated from Dassel High School in 1945. He excelled in all sports. He also was Class President, lead role in senior class play and homecoming king. With Duane as quarterback, his football team never lost a game. Duane was recruited to play football for the University of Minnesota but tragedy hit hard when his two friends were killed in WW II. Duane enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 7, 1945. He served aboard the battleships USS Duluth and the USS Iowa. His Navy experiences took him to countries throughout Asia and all across the South Pacific. Over the years Duane spent little time talking about the Navy, what he experienced or medals awarded. Duane was an American patriot. He talked about what it means to be a citizen of the greatest nation on earth, America. He told his kids to never take what they have and the freedoms they have for granted. The Navy did however, have an impact on him. He said he will never forget the wonderful feeling it was to finally be going home and to be walking on dry ground.
When Duane, on leave from the Navy to attend his grandmother's funeral, was at his parents' filling station as the story goes, "this beautiful, long-haired school girl walked by with her girlfriends and she caught my attention". Meeting his future bride, Miss Bonnie Reinhold, remained with Duane as his fondest memory along with how he walked her that day to "The Coffee Cup" and bought her an ice cream cone. Duane and Bonnie were married March 17, 1951 at Central Free Church in Minneapolis.
A daughter was born, Barbara Lynn, in Minneapolis where Duane worked for Ford Motor Company and General Mills. An opportunity came along for work in Yankton, S.D. with Means Athletic Company. Means opened the first door into the field of athletic equipment reconditioning. Another daughter Crystal Dawn was born in 1954 and a son Mark Duane, born in 1959, completed their family. The work with Means (1953-1959) and then with Domestic Athletic Company of Wichita, Kansas, prepared Duane for developing a company of his own.
The family returned from Wichita to Yankton to begin re-construction of the Means Company and a possible opportunity for a dream come true. The risk, sacrifice, hard work and seemingly endless hours paid off as Duane, starting from scratch, made a success story out of nothing. He single-handedly re-built and repaired the various plant equipment and sewing machines; eventually developing a sound, working field of operation repairing and manufacturing football equipment. On a proud day, Duane incorporated his own business and became President of the new Royal Athletic Company. Duane demonstrated a cheerful determination and valued being a good example for his employees as he was usually at work before the crew arrived. Duane's vision paid off as Royal's award-winning reputation became nationally known as "the company serving most of the schools and college programs throughout several mid-western states." Duane and Bonnie were familiar faces at state coaching and athletic director clinics. Especially fun and memorable were the Riddell Athletic conferences held each year across the country.
Duane took a season away from Royal in 1976 as he fulfilled a dream to work for a professional football team. As assistant to the equipment manager for the NFL team Miami Dolphins it was an experience of a lifetime. Learning operations, and traveling with the Dolphins remained a cherished memory and the ultimate for the kid from Dassel. Yet with all the pomp and circumstance, the quality of life he valued won out as he remained part of the business he loved and living in its community.
Duane was proud of Yankton. Anyone visiting his family in Yankton would get the "grand tour of Yankton", along with beautiful Lewis and Clark Lake and Gavin's Point Dam. In addition, of course a tour of the ever expanding Royal Athletic Company. Having picnics at the lake overlooking the damn and going to the beach were a delight for him and he made it fun for everyone. With roots and extended family in Minnesota, his business travels and the family vacations to the homeland were fondly anticipated. Being in sales was no mistake for Duane. He had many friends and was an easy-to-like-people-person. He was complementary, encouraging and fun to be around. He was a loving husband and a caring Dad. He enjoyed playing records and music filled his house. He loved the Fourth of July and lighting fireworks with the grandkids by the dam. Friends would say he was a friendly gentleman with an engaging sense of humor and a memorable laugh. He was a fan and supporter of all Yankton Buck sports and walked the football game sidelines come rain, shine or snow. He was a booster of the Yankton College Greyhounds and the University of South Dakota, regularly giving students employment at Royal and often having them to his house for dinner. He was honored by the Yankton Quarterback Club and given the Friend of Football Award by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association. In the early years of life in Yankton, Duane came to love the game of golf and was a charter member of Hillcrest Golf and Country Club, serving on its board of directors. He loved tournament times and was always eager for men's day and Thursday afternoons off. Hillcrest gave Duane and Bonnie years of memories with forever friends. Duane was a member of the VFW, Elks and Moose clubs. There was a priority and importance with Duane concerning his belief in Christ and family life in his church, Trinity Lutheran. Over the years, he was faithful and determined each week that his family attend church and his children be in Sunday School.
From their first visit to Florida, it was love. Bonnie and Duane over the years became "snow-birds" to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Duane loved the ocean, beach, deep-sea fishing, golf courses, palm trees, birds, flowers and vacationing there with friends. Eventually Duane and Bonnie migrated to Clearwater Beach, Florida to be near their daughter and family living there. With retirement came making that area their year-round home and in 2009 took up residence with Barb and Mac. Duane sadly said "good-by for now" to his true love, Bonnie, on November 17, 2014 after 63 years of marriage and they were ever so grateful they could remain together at home until the final day of Bonnie's departure. It remained Duane's delight and comfort to remain living with his family in Florida. Often and until the very last, he would express humble gratitude and utter amazement to be living out his years in such a beautiful place.
Duane is survived by his three beloved children: Barbara (Steven) "Mac" McInerney of Clearwater Beach, Fl., Crystal (Rob) Baily of Dell Rapids, S.D., and Mark (Lisa) Hardy of Yankton. Nine precious grandchildren: Amy (Dave) Schmidt of Tampa, Fl., Chad McInerney of Safety Harbor, Fl., Brian (Suzanne) McInerney of Lithia, Fl., Joshua (Caroline) McInerney of Orlando, Fl., Eric (Linda) Hardy of Harrisburg, S.D., Adam (Joni) Hardy of Sioux Falls, S.D., Stephanie (Charlie) Austin of Sioux Falls, S.D., Shena (Justin) Shoemaker of Sioux Falls, Jonathan (Sheila) Hanson of Dell Rapids, and Hannah (Josh) Swanson of Beresford, S.D.; 20 Great-Grandchildren; two sisters, Mrs. Joan Benson of Dassel, Minn. and Mrs. Betty Freeman of Annandale, Minn.; sister-in-law, Mrs. Joyce Hardy of Alexandria, Minn.; and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding Duane in death are his parents, Clifford and Eva Hardy; wife, Bonnie Hardy; and his brother and best friend, Jack Hardy.
Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.
Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your father. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Richard & Renee Woods
My condolences on Duane's passing. My thought and prayers are with you and your families.
Crystal, your and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You have my deepest sympathy.
Very sorry to hear of Duane's passing. He was a good man and will be missed. Our prayers are with the family.
Daniel and Bill Lynch
Barb and family -- our prayers and sincere sympathy on the loss of your father, grandfather and special man in your lives -- may God surround you with his love as you say your final goodbyes to this very much loved man.
Hugs and Blessings.
the Sullivan families
Duane & Bonnie were the best neighbors anyone could ask for--always so kind, caring, and friendly. Our thoughts and prayers are with Barb, Crystal, Mark and your families. May your memories be filled with visions of warm, summer days on their deck!
Kathy & Norm Wright
Barb, Mac, and the children, We both know the loss of a father and a grandfather. May the peace that passes all understanding be yours.
Alan and Janis Stevenson
Bard & Mac,
We were so sorry to hear of the loss Barb's father. No matter how old you are, loosing a parent is always a difficult thing to go through. You both took such good care of him and we know that your love for him will live on in your hearts. May God bless and comfort you during this time.
David & Brenda Hildebrand
Our sympathies for the loss of your dad. My childhood Murphy Lane memories of Duane will always be remembered fondly. I remember your dad giving football equipment to me and the other neighborhood boys. We thought we were real cool dudes wearing REAL helmets and pads.
Bill and Suzi Showers
Mark & Family - So sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. It is so painful to lose our parents. My thoughts & Prayers are with all of you. Big Hugs from Me.
Connie K. Luke
Wow, your dad sounds like a great guy. So sorry that you have to go through this part of life's journey. May God give you His peace and harmony.
May the LORD's peace and comfort be with you for the loss of your father and father in law. Your memories will be a blessing as you review his life.
My deepest sympathy to you Cris and your family! It's always hard being left behind when you have a father who was so outgoing! However, he is rejoicing being reunited with your mother. My God's arms hug you and carry you all though this loss on earth knowing someday you will meet again.
Kay (Horlyk) Christopher
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