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Obituary: Duane Zwinger

Duane Zwinger

Duane Aloysius Zwinger, age 82, of Fargo, N.D., passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on July 12, 2023.

Duane was born on May 2, 1941, and was the oldest of six children born to Francis (William) and Alyce (Marie Schaach) Zwinger. His early life was spent on a farm northeast of Sykeston, N.D.

He went to elementary school at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Grade School in Sykeston, N.D., and graduated from Sykeston High School in May of 1959.

He then attended Valley City State College. In 1964, he earned his Bachelor of Science in education with a double major in mathematics and physical education and a minor in science. In 1980, he completed his education by receiving a Master's in Education from Northern State College in Aberdeen, S.D.

Duane married his bride, Mary Ann O'Connell on July 6, 1966. He was a devoted husband for 57 years. Together they moved around North Dakota raising their three daughters. They made Fargo their home for the last six years.

Duane started his teaching career at Glenburn, N.D., in September of 1964. He taught math, science, and physical education in Wishek and Carrington. He then advanced his career into administration. Duane worked as principal and/or superintendent at Bisbee-Egeland, Rolette, North Central-Rogers and Gackle. He retired in 1997.

But Duane could never say no or turn away a school in need. So, when asked, he returned to work to finish his career in Sykeston, Pingree, and Carrington. After 50 years, he finally officially retired in 2016.

Throughout his career, he touched many kids not just in his role as a teacher, but through his coaching of basketball, baseball, football, and track. There wasn't a sport Duane didn't enjoy. He truly valued being a part of the lives of the many kids he coached. He loved seeing them grow and prosper. He also loved refereeing basketball, football and calling balls and strikes for baseball and softball.

Duane's life will be forever known for his devotion to service in the communities where they lived. He was a liturgical and eucharist minister, taught religion classes, volunteered for AARP, Meals on Wheels, park boards, Furniture Mission of the Red River Valley, Punt, Pass, and Kick and anything someone asked him to help with.

Duane's greatest contributions were to the Lions Club and the Knights of Columbus. He was an active member of the Lions Club for 39 years, where he held many offices including president, district governor and council chair. He chaired several projects such as the Peace Poster Contest, Lions All-Star basketball games, Scholarships for Seniors and the Al Larson Golf Tournament. For his work, he was honored and awarded Lion of the Year, Melvin Jones Fellow and Melvin Jones Progressive member. In 2022, he was inducted into the North Dakota Lions Hall of Fame.

With the Knights of Columbus, Duane was a member for 56 years and was a 4th degree Knight. He has chaired the Foundation's golf tournament for the past 14 years and led the way for the Newman Center fundraising by starting the calendar raffle. He was an active parishioner of Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Church.

Duane's hobbies included fishing, golf, hunting, playing cards and playing slow-pitch softball (he played until the age of 70). He enjoyed music, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. He especially loved hanging out with his lake family where they played cards and tried to out-fish each other. As a sports fanatic, he loyally supported the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns. Duane was a proud grandpa who enjoyed watching all their activities and imparting on them to love ice cream.

He is survived by his loving, caring, and devoted wife, Mary Ann; three strong independent girls, Deanna (Kevin Linstad), Deborah and Kimberly (Kelly Linster); four precious grandchildren, Elena, Ellen, Alex and Olivia; dear siblings Jim, Betty (Richards) and Steve; favorite sister-in-law, Joyce (DuPay) and many nieces and nephews.

Duane was preceded in death by his parents, Alyce and Francis; brother, Bobby; sister, Mary and nephews, Dylan, Todd, Dennis and Paul.

A rosary service was held at 6:45 p.m. followed by prayer service at 7:00 p.m., on July 18 at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo, N.D.

Funeral service was held at 2:00 p.m., July 19 at Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Church, Fargo, N.D. Interment was after the funeral service at Holy Cross Cemetery, Fargo, N.D.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to be directed to a Lions' organization Duane valued: Great Plains Assistance Dogs Service Dog for America. PO Box 513, 920 Short St., Jud, ND 58454

Arrangements entrusted to Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center, Fargo.

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