(Dec. 25, 2007)
Duane Sanford Edmonds died at his Powell home Tuesday, Dec. 25, after a short, courageous battle with cancer.
He was born Aug. 21, 1931, to Manford Wayne Edmonds and Lillian Vesta Carlson Edmonds. The eldest of identical twins, Duane grew up on a farm just outside Powell and attended Powell schools. Duane married Jo Ann Elizabeth Graham of Powell Jan. 28, 1956.
The list of Duane's memberships, associations, contributions, accomplishments and awards is long. Among those that were precious to him is the Future Farmer of America "Degree of American Farmer" he earned in 1951 shortly before enlisting in the service. Assigned to the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command, he proudly served his country at home and overseas during the Korean Conflict.
Duane attended Northwest College in Powell before transferring to the University of Wyoming, where he earned degrees in chemistry and mathematics. Upon graduation, he moved to the Seattle, Wash., area where he raised his family and worked 30 years as an engineer for the Boeing Company. He was a member of design teams for the space shuttle, lunar rover and the Boeing supersonic transport. He retired in 1989 as the director of sales and marketing for the Commercial Airplane Division.
Duane followed through on his dream to retire to the Edmonds' family homestead in Powell. He became a civic leader in Powell, volunteering many hours to education as a mentor, fundraiser, president and member of the Park County School District No. 1, chairman and member of the Wyoming State Board of Education and member of the National Association of School Board Education. Duane also served on the Board of Cooperative Education Services and the Northwest College Foundation.
He was an active member of the Powell Rotary and served as Worshipful Master of Absarokee Lodge of the Masons.
Recently, Gov. Dave Freudenthal issued a governor's proclamation honoring Duane for his service to education and Wyoming's youth.
Duane "walked the talk" of service to others. He led by example and was quick to roll up his sleeves and pitch in to solve a problem or get the job done. He loved working the American Legion concessions stand at the fair and calling bingo on Sunday evenings. Some of his greatest pleasures were speaking to students about the importance of education and judging local science fairs and forensics tournaments. He was an avid, lifelong supporter of Boy Scouts of America and many other youth causes.
Duane was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Dwight Manford Edmonds; and a sister, Janet Elaine Burnett Hale.
He is survived by his wife, Jo Ann Edmonds of Powell; his brother, Alonzo John (Jack) Edmonds of Gillette (Dorothy); sons, Craig Edmonds (Julie) of Puyallup, Wash., and Gregory Edmonds (Ana) of Phoenix Ariz.; grandchildren Amanda and Chad Edmonds (Craig), Megan, Jacqueline and Rachel Edmonds (Gregory); a sister in-law, Myrna Dearcorn Edmonds of Crandall; and many nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved dearly.
The family is reminded of Duane's e-mail tag line, "Anyone can make a difference. Everyone should try!" His family, friends and community will miss him greatly.
A Celebration of Life Service for Duane will take place Saturday, Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Northwest College Nelson Auditorium, 231 W. Sixth St., Powell. Thompson Funeral Home is assisting the family.
For those who wish, the family would appreciate memorial contributions to the Powell Masonic Lodge #582, Powell Valley Hospice (777 Avenue H) or the Powell Schools Foundation (160 N. Evarts).