Duwaine J. Elliott, 86, Bremen, passed away Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in his home. Duwaine was born on May 24, 1933, in Bremen to David Laverne and Dorothy (Stuntz) Elliott. On Dec. 8, 1955, he married Geraldine “Jeri” Spencer.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years Jeri; children, Teri Elliott Jordan of Riverside, Ill.; Tracy Louis Elliott of Chicago, Ill. and Lee Ann Elliott of Keller, Texas; grandchildren, Brett Robert Jarvie of Fredericksburg, Texas; and Tara Elizabeth Jarvie of Martiniez, Calif.
He is preceded in death by his parents and best friends, Jay R. Calloway and Neil R. Cripe.
He was a graduate of Bremen High School, class of 1951, and went on to graduate from Indiana College of Mortuary Science. J.R. proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy and was honorably discharged in 1955 as a Corpsman 2nd Class. His career began at Huff Funeral Home and Huff Furniture in Bremen. He worked briefly for Leath & Company in Wabash, and Muncie, before beginning a 30 year career with Pletcher Furniture in Nappanee, and Bremen, ending his career there as General Manager.
He then became the first Director of Operations for the Town of Bremen, serving for 15 years, retiring at age 75.
He was beloved by his colleagues, known as a tough but fair and caring leader. He paid special attention to line staff and was always willing to roll up his sleeves and do the hard work with them. He treated them as equals and they felt a special bond with him. He was a dedicated public servant who believed in the Jaycees creed: “Service to humanity is the best work of life.”
He was dedicated to serving his community and his public service included: President: Bremen Jaycees, Co-Chair: Bremen Centennial Commission, Chair – Bremen Park Board, Chair – Bremen Police Commission, President – Bremen Town Board, Founder/Chair – Northern Indiana Quail Unlimited, Chair – Indiana Quail Unlimited, Co-Founder – Norte Dame Tip-off Club, Volunteer Baseball Coach – Bremen Little League, Bremen Pony League, Bremen All-Star Travel Team, Bremen High School.
He had a special concern for and bond with youth, especially troubled youth who needed acceptance and guidance. He coached baseball at several levels, taught youth gun safety classes, and loved taking young people hunting and fishing. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather, with unconditional acceptance and unfailing support of his children and grandchildren, as well as many of his children’s friends and other young people for whom he was a father figure.
Beyond his family, his greatest passion was the outdoors. He fished every Sunday for many years at Syracuse Lake with Neil Cripe. He developed a deep passion for upland bird hunting, raising and training seven German Shorthaired Pointers, for whom he had great affection. He spent many Sunday’s hunting with his best friend Jay R. Calloway from Wabash. No weather was too foul for them to be at Mississinewa Reservoir at the crack of dawn. In later years, he hunted with friend Ed Cenkush and other beloved friends. When he could no longer hunt, he cared for the dogs in the cabin.
Every two years for almost three decades he travelled to Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, paddling two days into the wilderness to fish and camp. Many people enjoyed those adventures with him, but Neil Cripe and Jay Calloway were the pioneers. In the early years, he and Neil painted a house in Bremen to pay for the trip.
He was a sixth-generation member of Church of the Brethren, baptized into the Bremen Church of the Brethren. His most meaningful connection to God was in nature, which he found inspiring and humbling.
Duwaine J. Elliott leaves a significant and lasting legacy of unconditional love and service to humanity.
Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, in Mishler Funeral Home, 2030 St Rd 331, Bremen. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Dec. 6, in Bremen Church of the Brethren, 921 Woodies Lane, Bremen, with one hour of visitation prior. Pastor Evan Garber will officiate. Burial will follow in Bremen Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Church of the Brethren.