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January 22, 1943 – May 4, 2023

Duane F. Raffenbeul, 80, of Buffalo, MN, died on May 4, 2023, at home while in hospice after a nearly 30-year battle with cancer. His family was grateful to spend this last Easter with him. Duane was born on January 22, 1943, in Langdon, ND, the youngest of four children to Richard and Alma (Brehmer) Raffenbeul. The Raffenbeuls later moved to Detroit Lakes, MN, where Duane was a three-sport athlete and graduated high school in 1961.

Following high school, Duane worked in California before returning home. He later enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard and received an honorable discharge following six years of service. On December 18, 1965, Duane married Marlys Johnson in Moorhead and they later moved to Winona, where Duane graduated from Winona State University with a degree in Education. After teaching stints in southern Minnesota, the Raffenbeuls made their home in Granite Falls in 1974, and Duane continued his teaching (and some coaching) career at Bert Raney Elementary School, retiring in 2003. He and Marlys were long-time members of Granite Falls Lutheran Church, where Duane served as an usher and as the chair of the Pastor search committee.

In his spare time, Duane refinished furniture, enjoyed fishing and spending time at the lake up north, accomplished unending house projects, and attended Laural & Matt’s events.

After the tornado in Granite Falls, Duane and Marlys moved to their retirement lake home outside of Buffalo, where he always found something to do; yet he focused much of his time on his grandkids, and it shows in how much they adore him. His love for each grandchild was immense, and he appreciated the individual differences between them. He regularly attended their events, found anything that was lost, created the best Christmas Eve treasure hunts, pulled fantastic pranks, and helped out every time he was asked.

Duane will be remembered by his family for his tireless work ethic, sense of humor, skill as a craftsman and handyman, and as a great father and dedicated teacher. He was a broken-hearted, yet passionate fan of the Twins, Vikings, and Gophers. Duane was fortunate to have made and maintained friendships with his high school classmates and Granite Falls teaching buddies over the years. He and Marlys also made lifelong friends while in Granite Falls.

Duane is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marlys; daughter, Laural (Charlie) Johnson of Excelsior, and children Zach, Quinne, Emilia, and Will; son, Matt (Jenny) of Ashburn, VA, and children Katelyn, Finley, and Nivaeh; twin brother Dennis; sisters-in-law; and several nieces and nephews and their extended families. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother and sister, and several extended family members.

There will be a family memorial service at a later date. Duane’s family would like to thank the caring professionals at North Memorial Hospice. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to North Memorial Hospice, Scholarship YME, or the cancer charity of your choice.

The Peterson Chapel, Buffalo, MN assisted the family with funeral arrangements.

4 Guestbook Entries

  1. Deb Norlin

    Sending thoughts and prayers to you all. Loved his humor and commitment to his family and friends.
    Deb (Geiver) Norlin

    Reply
  2. Gary J Harris

    Fond memories of Duane in high school. A great guy!!

    Reply
  3. Lori Wynia

    I am so sorry to hear of Duane’s passing. My deepest sympathy and condolences to all his family and friends.

    Reply
  4. Orin J. Olsgaard

    Grew up with Dennis and Duane and have all good memories of them, their older brother and parents.

    Reply

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