Duane John Moran, “Dewey”, of Longville, Mn, known locally as Papa Dewey, passed away on May 21, 1921 at the age of 89 1/2, having been born on November 21, 1931 in Stewartville, Minnesota.
In 1946, at the age of 14, Dewey along with his family loaded all their belongings in an International flatbed truck with wood side panels, leaving Stewartville, they made the trip up to a 60-acre farmstead on the Boy River, just south of Ten Mile Lake. The truck cab was full of his folks and three young siblings, so Dewey and the family dog “Duke” road the entire trip on a mattress strapped to the top of the load. Getting down off the truck at the end of a day long journey, when he tried to speak, his face and lips cracked and bled, being sun and wind burned to a crisp. Their homestead, as many from the time, was “primitive”, meaning no running water or indoor plumbing, so a pitcher pump, a wood cook stove and an outhouse were the amenities. Living off the land was a necessity, so he learned quickly to angle or spear for fish, particularly in the spring, hunt all types of game, (including deer over a salt lick) trap muskrats and mink, plus numerous other chores, including cutting firewood. Canned venison became such a routine staple that he would trade for other sandwiches at lunch time in school.
After graduating from Hackensack High School, he served in the US Air Force from December 1949 until September 1953 which included assignments in Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Bahamas and Massachusetts. He was a Korean War Veteran.
Duane married Ann Bourdon in Hackensack in 1956 and together they raised six children, moving to different communities with each Forestry job promotion.
Dewey’s career with the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division spanned six decades. Starting as a Laborer, or a Forest Guard in 1954 at Backus. He moved north to Baudette in 1956, then to McGrath in 1957 after being promoted to Ranger II. His next move was to Brainerd as Assistant Area Forester in 1965, then in 1968 he became the Area Forester in Littlefork, making his final move to Bemidji as the Area Supervisor in 1975, where he became a fixture in Forestry, particularly aerial fire detection, as the voice of “Hawkeye” (the radio call sign for the fire observer). After 32 years with the Division, he retired in 1987. However, during the next fire season it was determined forestry could not find a suitable replacement, or someone who had the stomach and could take the beating in a light plane, flying circles in hot windy weather, so after retirement, he was brought back and continued to fly aerial detection as Hawkeye spring and fall, through 2006, serving an additional 18 years. (At a laborer rate) It was well known by his peers that Dewey was exceptionally good at determining the exact location of the fire and then directing the needed resources to handle the fire scene. It was estimated that over a 32-year span of flying aerial detection, Dewey with his various pilots, logged in approximately 4500 hours!
The past 15 years Dewey lived in a lake cottage on a private point of land, near the end of the road, on the east side Little Boy Lake. Each day he was busy with his chain saw clearing blow-downs on the road, cutting and splitting wood (Most times by hand), clearing the beaver dam on McCartney Creek was a daily task and weed whipping by hand the banks of the rivers at the bridges on Sioux Camp Road. He always had time to pause and speak with folks going in and out, which was done all day long every day. He traveled to Hillcrest Cemetery in Hackensack routinely to brush the moss or debris off all his family’s headstones, then those who he could recount from days gone by, then those, who by looks, had been forgotten. The entire town of Longville embraced, looked out for, and took care of Papa Dewey, until the end. Dewey was a considered one of the best natural athletes, a true woodsman, all-around outdoorsman, deer hunter and mink trapper. An outstanding cook, whose recipes for smoked, pickled or deep fried fish were always in demand. He always had an abundance of co-workers, peers, teammates or lifelong friends who admired and respected him. Beginning in 1985 his favorite place on earth was the Northome deer shack with his four sons, eight grandsons, Alan Knaeble, his two sons and their black lab “Magnum” where he was the camp wrangler - cleaning, cooking, clearing the trails and keeping the barrel stove full of firewood.
Duane was predeceased by his parents, Joseph Daniel Moran, and Ann Elizabeth (Ringey) Moran, a brother Vincent Joseph Moran, and two sisters Mary Jean Suomalainen and Jovita Ann Fleisher, and a daughter Kathleen Mary (Moran) Smith.
He is survived by five children and their families, Patrick and Barbara Moran of Longville; Laurie and Michael Cassidy of Sheboygan, WI; Michael and Sally Moran of Winona; Daniel and Heather Moran of Bemidji; Thomas and Becky Moran of Bemidji; son-in-law Michael Smith of Walker; 17 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hackensack, MN Thursday July 1st, with visitation at 9 a.m., the service at 10 a.m. and burial at the Hillcrest Cemetery, which will include the Honor Guard from the Hackensack American Legion Post 202 Post. Following these services, a Celebration of Life will be held back in Longville at Patrick’s Fine Dining with lunch served, a social hour and plenty of time for fellowship.
Duane's care has been entrusted to Northern Peace Funeral Home of Walker, MN. Online condolences for the family may be left at www.northernpeace.com
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