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1936 Duane 2021

Duane Ray Steiner

February 9, 1936 — January 15, 2021


Duane Ray Steiner, 84, of Orange Park, FL passed away peacefully on January 15, 2021. He was born to Raymond and Pearl Steiner on February 9, 1936, in Madelia, MN and was raised in Jackson County, MN. He was the older of two children. Duane graduated from the (original) Jackson High School in 1954. He met his future bride, Carolyn Brown, in the high school band playing 1st chair trombone to Carolyn, who occupied the second chair. They both sang in the tenor section of the high school choir. Duane attended Hamline University in St. Paul, MN and graduated from Mankato State College, MN in 1959 and entered the Navy as an Aviation Officer Candidate in Pensacola, FL.

Duane married Carolyn Brown on May 28, 1955. Duane was designated a naval aviator and helicopter pilot in April 1961 and reported to HS-7 in Norfolk, Virginia. This was the first of 12 moves made during his 30-year career in the United States Navy retiring in Orange Park, FL in 1989.

During his Navy career, he rose to the rank of Captain. He was a combat wounded veteran of the Vietnam war, serving with the Helicopter Light Attack Squadron THREE. Following his tour in Vietnam, he served as an Executive Assistant at the Pentagon. Duane was an XO and CO of HS-11 (where he introduced his daughter, Debbie, to his future son-in-law) and CO of HS-10. He also commanded the Alcohol Rehab Center at NAS-JAX.  Among his many military awards are the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal and other personal and unit awards. His educational achievements while serving in the Navy included a Master of Science degree in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Management.

Duane was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Carolyn, and his parents.

Duane is survived by his daughters Dawn (John) Oliva of Green Cove Springs, and Debbie (Sherman) O’Brien of Orange Park; 6 grandchildren, Mark (Emily) Kendall of Cincinnati, Ohio, Nathan (Courtney) Kendall, Joseph (April) O’Brien, Joshua (Jennifer) O’Brien, Kathryn (Blas) Ruelas, and Laura (William) Torres, all from northeast Florida and 19, yes, really, great grandchildren aging from 22 to 1 year old, and a great, great grandchild on the way. He is also survived by his sister Karen (Fred) Gehrs of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

Duane Steiner was a faithful member of Pinewood Presbyterian Church of Middleburg, FL, singing in the choir and attending Senior Saints. During the spring and summer, Duane and Carolyn attended First Baptist Church of Jackson, MN.

Some of his most joyous times were when he was able to spend time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. They were the love of his life. He loved every one and prayed for them every day.

Duane was an avid list maker. On one recent list was a note to “Update To Do List.” Duane’s organization was one of the ways he showed his love to those he cared for. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose in life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to love God and people, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Duane was all of those things to so many people.

Family will receive friends at 10:30am on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Pinewood Presbyterian Church. A Celebration of life will be held at 11:00am on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Pinewood Presbyterian Church. A memorial for Minnesota will be planned for this summer.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

10:30 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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