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home : obituaries : obituaries June 28, 2016

9/10/2013 12:14:00 PM
William Henry "Bill" Duehren, Jr. May 30, 1933 - September 5, 2013

William Henry "Bill" Duehren, Jr. passed into eternal life on September 5, at the age of 80, from complications of Alzheimer's.

He lived in Sisters, Oregon for 25 years with his wife, "Mickey" (Mary Alice Dillett) Duehren, where they owned and operated Sisters Decorating. Bill volunteered tirelessly as a member of many civic, charitable and church communities in the town.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on May 30, 1933, Bill was the second oldest of the six children of William Henry Duehren, Sr. and Mary Alice (Severin) Duehren. He spent most of his childhood in Concordia, Kansas, living in the "big house" on West 8th Street.

Humble and hard-working, he claimed in the memoir he wrote for his family that he spent more time getting good at pinball than he did making deliveries at his parents' grocery store, where he worked part-time during the Second World War. But that was probably an exaggeration, a rare one for this very honest man.

He was president of his class, a Boy Scout and played basketball, football and the alto sax in high school. He went on to Marquette University to earn a degree in mechanical engineering in 1956. He belonged to the Sigma Phi Delta fraternity and met his future wife, a Milwaukee native, at Marquette.

He remembered that their first date was a "beautiful day" spent at a beach. He got a terrible sunburn and mild heat stroke, and she drove them home. They married on January 19, 1957, a cold day on which his car wouldn't start, and a friend had to get him to the church. He did a short stint in the U.S. Army, and his three sons were born in short order soon afterward.

Bill spent two decades working for the General Electric Company in Milwaukee, New Jersey, and Massachusetts and then another eight years working for other medical-device companies, in Minnesota and Portland, Oregon.

In 1986, he and Mickey moved from Portland to Sisters, after purchasing the Sisters Decorating Center. They grew and later sold that business, before retiring in 1997. He remained active in Kiwanis, serving as president, and organized many golf tournaments and civic-service projects. He read to schoolchildren as a volunteer with Smart Reading. He served on the Indian Ford Water Board and the finance council of St. Edward the Martyr Catholic parish. He helped raise funds to build the playground in the center of town.

He enjoyed playing golf and bridge, and taking care of "honey-do" projects around the house. He traveled widely in the United States with his family, and prided himself on them visiting almost every state. He and Mickey also took trips to Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Spain, Germany, Israel, Greece, England and Ireland. An ardent Green Bay Packer fan, he passed that passion on to two generations, who now share his Cheeseheadedness.

He is survived by his loving wife, Mickey, as well as his three sons and three grandchildren: David and his wife, Anne, and their children - Hannah, Andrew and Sarah - of Needham, Mass.; Dennis, of Montpelier, Idaho; Derrick and his wife, Jeannine, of Scappoose, Oregon.

Bill is also survived by five siblings (Mary Alice Widen, of Concordia, Kansas; Sr. Shirley Severin Duehren, of Rochester, Minnesota; Robert Duehren and his wife, Jan, of Kansas City, Missouri; Helen Johnson, of Parsons, Kansas; Joanne and her husband, Keith, Taylor, of Keller, Texas), as well as many friends in Sisters and the surrounding area.

Bill's life will be celebrated in a rite of Christian burial at St. Edward the Martyr's Catholic Church in Sisters on Saturday, September 14 at 11 a.m. Donations in his memory can be made to Partners in Care Hospice at 541-382-5882.

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