Duane M. (Dewey) McDaniel, 91, of Great Falls, passed away from natural causes on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. A Public Visitation will be held this Thursday, December 19, from 6-8pm at Croxford Funeral Home. The Funeral Service will be held the following day, Friday, December 20 at 1:00pm, with Burial at Highland Cemetery to follow. Military Honors will be performed at the cemetery by the U.S. Army Honor Guard and the local VFW Post 1087.
Dewey was born March 30, 1928 to Thomas J. and Susie D. (Olinger) McDaniel in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. He was raised at White Sulphur with the exception of four years in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Dewey graduated White Sulphur Springs High School in 1947 and then attended Western Montana College in Dillon.
In 1946, Dewey met Bonnie D. Stark in White Sulphur Springs and they were married on May 17, 1952. Dewey was drafted for military service on June 1st, 1952 and served two years in the service. All stateside in the 7th Armored Division, they lived at Fort Lewis, WA and Camp Roberts, CA, returning to Neihart in mid-June 1954.
Together, he and Bonnie built a home at Neihart in 1954-55 and expanded the family with the birth of two sons, Randy in 1954 and Rickey in 1958. He was employed by the Star Mine & Mill in Neihart until 1956 where he gained a position of road maintenance and later foreman for the Neihart-Monarch Section with the Montana Department of Highways. During 1955 through 1958, Dewey also attended night school at the Great Falls College of Education. Although he was short credits for a diploma, he did graduate from the school of hard knocks - knowledge that he learned well.
Dewey was deeply involved in photography, having his own darkroom and publishing many pictures. He and Bonnie built two custom homes and renovated many buildings, selling all over the years.
In 1966, he and his wife founded McDaniel & Sons Contractors, successfully operating it until 1989 when they sold the business to their sons and retired.
During his years in Neihart, Dewey served the town of Neihart with three terms as Mayor, four terms as Fire Chief and two terms on the school board for both Neihart and Belt. He additionally served as a Basketball Referee, the fix-it man for city and residential water problems and local vehicle repairs. He was also a life time member of the American Legion. A very generous and caring person, he never turned away anyone requiring assistance.
Dewey is survived by sons Randy (Becky) and Rick, grandsons Colten, Cody and Caden, plus special "daughters" Jennifer McDaniel, Linda McDaniel and Renee (Mark) Kapp, special relatives and friends galore too many to mention. Preceded in death by his parents, older brother Dale and younger brother Donald, and wife of 66 years, Bonnie.
Extra special thanks to the staff and doctors at the Benefis Eastview Care Facility.
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