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Duane F. Sylwester, 79, of Glencoe

Duane Sylwester

Duane Fredrick Sylwester, 79, of Glencoe, died Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, at Glencoe Regional Health Services Long Term Care.
Memorial services were held Saturday, Feb. 3, at Christ Lutheran Church in Glencoe with the Rev. Katherine Rood officiating. Chris Starr was the pianist. Congregational hymns were “Jesus is My Captain,” “Amazing Grace,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Jesus Loves Me” and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”
Urn bearers were Chad Sylwester and Charlie Burns. Private family interment will be at a later date in the Glencoe City Cemetery.
Mr. Sylwester’s journey on earth began March 8, 1938, in Gaylord. His parents were Melvin and Amalia “Molly” (Jaeger) Sylwester. He was born at home because his parents didn’t have much money, and the doctor was paid with 30 quarts of canned wild blueberries. He was baptized as an infant on March 27, 1938, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Gaylord, and was confirmed in his faith on April 13, 1952, at the same church.
He was a very busy young man growing up. After riding his sister’s bike down the courthouse steps and breaking it in half, as punishment he had to pick out his own stick for a spanking. That wasn’t adventurous enough, so he started climbing the water tower across the street from his school. That cost him several days after classes in the principal’s office, which made him very unhappy as he wanted to go home and play. Since he had this newfound skill, he also climbed the windmill at his grandparents’’ farm and ended up with a pretty good spanking from Grandma Sophie. One day, he and his brother and some visiting cousins got into big trouble with Grandpa David at the farm. The kids “stole” some homemade caramels from the porch that Grandma put there to cool, and gave several pieces to the horse. Because the horse’s jaw wasn’t strong enough to chew them, he couldn’t get his mouth open to eat the caramels. This required a call to the veterinarian so the vet could help the horse.
In May 1956, Gaylord High School finally gave him his diploma and sent him on his way. He furthered his education by attending a trade school in Minneapolis for two years, earning an electronics technician degree.
After various small jobs, Mr. Sylwester worked at Telex in Glencoe for 12 years and, while there, met his future wife, Karen. Because he was handicapped, she had to back up until he caught her. They were married at Christ Lutheran Church in Glencoe on July 11, 1970. He said it would be a cold day in July before he got married, so he wanted the bridesmaids to wear winter boots. It ended up in the high 90s that day and it didn’t snow.
After Telex, Mr. Sylwester worked at Starkey Labs in Glencoe another 25 years, retiring 12 years ago. The Sylwesters made their home in Glencoe, and their marriage was blessed with two children, Chad and Leah. The couple shared over 47 years of marriage.
He had a terrific sense of humor. He managed to get sunshine and laughter in every day of his life. If someone would say he had a good sense of humor, he’d respond by laughing and saying, “I know, I married Karen, didn’t I?” His favorite pastimes were doing crossword puzzles, watching television and fishing. His time with his grandchildren was golden. They loved getting rides on his electric wheelchair.
He is survived by his wife, Karen Sylwester of Glencoe; children, Chad (Connie) Sylwester of St. Bonifacius and Leah (Charlie) Burns of Elk River; grandchildren, Benjamin, Brielle and Nathan Burns; sister, Beverly (Ron) Ersfeld of Farmington; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Amalia “Molly” Sylwester; and brother, Gerald “Jerry” Sylwester.
Arrangements were with the Johnson-McBride Funeral Chapel in Glencoe. An online guest book is available at www.mcbridechapel.com.