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January 11, 1981 – Friday, March 18, 2016

Service Information
Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, MN
Friday, March 25, 2016
11:00 A.M.

Visitation Information
Buffalo High School-Buffalo, MN
Thursday, March 24, 2016
4-8 P.M.

Durand Michael Onell, beloved son, brother, uncle, teacher and friend, age 35, died Friday, March 18, 2016, at the Buffalo Hospital in Buffalo, Minnesota.

Durand Michael, son of Diane Onell of Eden Valley, and Randy Onell of Litchfield, was born January 11, 1981 in Litchfield. He was baptized and confirmed at Ostmark Lutheran Church. He graduated from Litchfield High School in 1999 where he first honed his musical skills in choir and band. Music would become a lifelong passion. He attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he played his tuba in band, golfed on the golf team and studied Spanish. He earned his degree in Spanish Education following a study abroad experience at the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. He also traveled to
Costa Rica to both volunteer and pursue his passion for Spanish.

He impacted countless students and colleagues as a Spanish teacher, football, golf and knowledge bowl coach first at Rogers High School and most recently at Buffalo High School. He was first and foremost a positive mentor and role model, who established meaningful relationships with every student he encountered. He was as dedicated to his profession as a person could be, and he cared deeply for each and
every student. He served as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle coach, and had a deep faith in God.

He lived his life as a genuine example to all, being continually described as a generous, compassionate, kind and caring lover of life. He accepted everyone, and never met an obstacle he couldn’t overcome with his positive attitude and infectious energy.

In his free time he loved playing his guitar as “Big D” for solo gigs, and as the frontman for Drop Tailgate. He played countless backyard gatherings, private parties, fundraisers, worship services, weddings and silly songs and lullabies for his nieces and nephews. He loved to play and teach the game of golf. Whether in a
boat or a deer stand, he was an outdoorsman who found peace in nature.

He is survived by his parents Durand O. “Randy” Onell of Litchfield and Diane Onell (Doug Ruhland) of Eden Valley; sisters Jennifer (Trent) Langemo of Mantorville and Amy Onell (Andy Twardy) of Litchfield; beloved nieces and nephews Kaia and Cael Langemo, Carly and Beau Twardy; grandmother Harriet Onell of Litchfield; many aunts, uncles, cousins and many other family members, as well as his numerous friends
that were family to him.

He was preceded in death by grandparents Theophil and Phyllis Kubes and Reuben Onell.

A visitation will be held at Buffalo High School from 4:00-8:00 PM on Thursday, March 24.

A celebration of life service will be at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo on Friday, March 25 at 11:00 AM with a visitation one hour prior.

Honorary Bearers will be Andrew Twardy, Trent Langemo, Jake Bohnsack, Grant Williams,
Josh Field, Ben Gustafson, Dan Ohlgren, Ryan LaPointe and Heath Nelson.

25 Guestbook Entries

  1. Michelle Fischer

    Diane and family, so sorry for your loss. Durand was an amazing young man! It sounds as though he touched many lives and will be greatly missed. Prayers to you and your family.

  2. Shawna Steffen

    Diane and Amy, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your son and brother. My heart goes out to you and your entire family. Sending prayers and thoughts of support.

  3. John & Brenda Boline

    So sorry for your loss. You are in our prayers.

  4. Gary & Donna Olson

    Onell family,
    Our deepest sympathy for your loss. May your memories always keep him close and
    that all the lives he touched were blessed. We remember being surprised on a trip to Mazatlan many years ago by Durand sitting in front of us on the flight. What a nice young man he was. God Bless his memory.

  5. Shirley Ann Rick

    Hugs and prayers to Durand’s family. This is unreal. He was such a fun person to visit with. God bless his memory !!

  6. Tifani G Luschen

    One of the good guys is in heaven today! I just learned of Durand’s death and I extend my deepest sympathies to you Randy, Dianne, Amy, Jennifer and all his family and friends. I remember Durand’s mile-wide smile when the horse I was there to help him learn to ride went the opposite way he wanted! He rode a bit and then was all the more happy to start swinging his golf club while Amy tried her luck with the horse. :} What a life he has led- service, passion, love of family and faith- since those boyhood days! Proud of him and thankful to have the memories with your family. My prayers are with you all as you grieve deeply his death and celebrate his life. Peace in Christ, Tifani (Rick) Luschen

  7. Mary Rice

    My heart goes out to Durand’s family and friends. I was one of his Spanish professors at Concordia, both before and after he studied in Pamplona. I have never seen a student’s Spanish grow as much as Durand’s did while studying abroad. He was the poster child for what happens when you make friends with the natives and throw yourself 100% into the immersion experience. It is gratifying to see what a profound influence he has had in his own teaching career and my heart is breaking for all of his students.

  8. Char Erickson

    Diane; I am SO, so sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time. God bless you and give His comfort.

  9. Deb Pearson

    Diane and family; I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I am praying for you during this difficult time. May you feel God’s presence and may it bring you peace and comfort.

  10. Yvonne Johnson

    Durand was so much fun in 4-H and whenever we saw him. Just a real pleasant, positive person to be around. I am happy for Durand to already be in the presence of Jesus! Our Sympathy to All of You. Till you meet again in Heaven, May the Lord give you Peace, Comfort and Strength…

  11. Don & Sue Christofferson

    Our sympathy and prayers in the unexpected loss of Durand. Past memories was he always had a smile and was kind to everyone. I know he will be greatly missed. May God give you comfort and peace.

  12. Sue buck

    Sending prayers. Durand was an amazing man who will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy.

  13. Bo Stevens

    I met Durand through Knowledge Bowl. I always knew Durand to have a smile on his face and to have a kind word for others. His positive and friendly demeanor and his sense of humor drew others to him. He clearly made the world a better place by his presence. I extend my deepest condolences to Durand’s family.
    Bo Stevens
    St. Francis High School – Retired

  14. Jim Moen

    Billy Joel wrote “Only the good die young” Durand wasn’t just good he was great. So, so, sad to hear of his untimely death. The world will be less because of this. We need more great role models like Durand.

  15. Lisa Menth

    So sorry for your loss. Mr. Onell will always be remembered as one of our daughter’s favorite teachers. He was very caring and one of the few great teachers who really had a passion for education and students. Sadly Missed.

  16. Lee and Carol Kjesbo

    I first met Durand at the Minnesota All State Band where he played his tuba. I was the vice-president of bands for MMEA, which meant I organized the band. Like many tuba players, I found he had an infectious personality. I was quite surprised to find him at Rogers High School, when he was supervising the band for an activity, and even more surprised when I ran into him at Buffalo High School last fall. I retired from BHS in 2008.
    Our sympathy to the family. We jope to make the visitation at BHS Thursday night.
    Lee and Carol Kjesbo

  17. Donna Wendlandt

    So sorry for you all. Durand just melted my heart when he sang

  18. Kaloni Park

    I am so sorry for your loss. My best memories of Durand were back in his Pizza Hut days. We used to have so much fun with him!! He was so outgoing and had a great attitude and sense of humor. I didn’t know where life had taken him, but I’m sure he blessed the lives of many young people. May he rest peacefully in the arms of Jesus. May you, his family, find comfort in the love of Christ and in precious memories.

  19. Sally Hulbert

    Such wonderful memories of Durand in Litchfield. He was always a blessing. He had a tender, sweet spirit. Our love and prayers to the whole family.
    Tom and Sally Hulbert

  20. Edmund and Else Cowley

    Diane and Amy; Sorry for your loss, we can share your grief. Durand is certainly someone to be proud of. We know he will be missed by many.

  21. Sandra Cordie

    I’ll always remember Durand coming to a Knowledge Bowl meet on St. Patrick’s Day. He had a trunk full of green accessories for his kids to enjoy the day.

  22. Melissa Brodsho

    Durand was such a special man and great friend. I am deeply saddened to hear about his death and have been reflecting on my many great memories with him ever since. The memory that sticks out the most is Durand and I studying in college. I was reviewing how to do a respiratory assessment on a patient and he had me use my stethescope to lists to his wheezes, how well he could exchange air, and even talked with me about what he looks like when his asthma gets bad. He was always the guy that would help you with anything… Even taking his Achilles heal and using it to help others. My condolences to his family. Durand was truly an amazing man.

  23. Blake hinrichs

    I really enjoyed having Onell for my prime time teacher at rogers high for 4years. OUR interests were alot alike,I still can’t believe it..he will be missed.

  24. Corie Stadick

    Dear Onell Family,
    Mr. Onell was one of my beloved teachers at Rogers HS. He is one of my dear teachers that made me want to share the passion of teaching to the next generation of students. He was always a joyful teacher, especially when he celebrated school spirit at the pep fests! Corie RHS 2015

  25. Lynn Riebe

    Diane, Jennifer and Amy:
    My deepest sympathy to you in your sudden loss of Durand. He was always such a kind, thoughtful and caring person. It sounds like he went on to impact a lot of young people’s lives with his positive attitude and quiet strength. I remember and appreciate the times that our families shared together. My thoughts and prayers are with you today and in the days ahead. Durand will be missed. I am truly sorry for your loss.


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