Duane Leonard Smart went home to be with his Heavenly Father on June 1, 2020 holding the hand of his beloved wife of 50 years, Virginia. No services are planned at this time.
Duane was born October 31, 1947 on a small, second generation dairy farm along the banks of the Nokassippi River, near Brainerd, Minnesota. He was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard ‘Jack’ and Edith Smart, infant brother and two sisters, Ruth Frishau and Shirley Coughran. He is survived by his sister Donna Purinton of St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Duane met Virginia (Meyer) in the youth development organization 4-H. After the couple graduated from Brainerd High School he completed pre-apprenticeship electrician training at Brainerd Vocational and Technical College. Using his degree he joined the United States Naval Construction Battalion (better known as the Seabees) and served in the Vietnam Conflict between 1969 -1971. During the weeks separating his tours, Duane married Virginia, January 24, 1970. When he returned home from service, he registered at Anoka-Ramsey Technical College, where he obtained his Master Electrician License. Duane joined the IBWE Local 292 Union of Minneapolis Electrical Workers finding employment at the Star Tribune and other companies in the area. In 1973 and 1975, daughters Janell and Shelly, were born. During the summer of 1977, Duane and his family made the decision to leave Spring Lake Park, Minnesota and take over the family farm. A few short years later he added the independent contracting business of Smart Electric which he maintained close to a decade. However, farming is what sustained the family and was their way of life.
Duane will be remembered for his sense of humor, ability to spontaneously break into song, kindness, compassion, and hard work ethic. These are the legacies he leaves with his children, grandchildren, and all who knew him.
He lives in our memories, is deeply loved and missed by his wife, Virginia Smart, his daughters, Janell (Jason) Ost and Dr. Shelly Richardson, and his grandchildren, Liam, Callum, and Kieran Richardson.