Duane V. Ely, 79, of Lawrence, KS passed away at Presbyterian Manor on Friday March 7, 2014.
Duane was born July 28, 1934 in Hutchinson, KS, son of Glenn V. and Grace Gertrude (Pickens) Ely. He attended Buhler High School and graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1952. He worked with his parents farming and with Glenn Ely Dairy; milking cows, separating milk and cream, making chocolate milk with large cans of Hershey’s syrup and delivering milk and cream.
He then attended Hutchinson Junior College and Kansas State Agricultural College. It was during the summer between his junior and senior year at K-State that he and his father purchased Pyle Bodyshop in Hutchinson, which Duane owned and operated until 1959, at which time he acquired the GMC truck franchise for Hutchinson, KS.
Duane was the GMC truck dealer in Hutchinson from 1959 until 1987. During this time he served on numerous GMC national and regional councils, was profiled in numerous GMC dealership articles, participated with the Kansas Motor Carriers Association and was the Kansas Truck Dealer of the Year in 1984 as well as one of five finalists for National Truck Dealer of the Year in 1984. The dealership was sold in 1987.
Duane started a second career with Waddell and Reed in the 1990’s. He retired from Waddell and Reed in 2002.
Duane is survived by the love of his life, his wife Patsy (Witt) Ely of Lawrence, whom he married on August 13, 1960. He is also survived by his sons Keith and Kent Ely of Lawrence, daughter-in-law Karen Ely of Lawrence and grandsons John and Andrew Ely of Lawrence.
Duane was active in many organizations including Trinity United Methodist Church of Hutchinson and the Doers Sunday school class of the church, American Truck Historical Society (whose national convention and truck show he helped lead and organize in Hutchinson in 2008), the Wheat State Chapter of ATHS which he founded, Buhler U.S.D. 313 School Board, Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, 4-H club leader and numerous charitable organizations.
He was passionate about restoring antique trucks, woodworking, K-State sports, his family and his friends. He and Patsy could be found every Friday evening at Anchor Inn with their life-long friends and he could be found in the mornings with his coffee groups.
Services will be held in Lawrence, KS on March 15 at the First United Methodist Church Celebration Center (West Campus – 867 Highway 40) at 1:30PM. Services in Hutchinson will be held 3:00PM on April 11 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1602 N. Main.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Trinity United Methodist Church, Hutchinson, the Johnson Cancer Center at Kansas State University, or the American Truck Historical Society. Memorial gifts may be made in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.