Duke Marquardt died Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005, at Hillcrest Nursing Home in McCook at the age of 80.
He was born at a home in Trenton Dec. 22, 1924, the son of the late Emil (Pat) Marquardt and Leo Marie (Applebee) Marquardt. He lived most of his life in Hitchcock County. He attended rural school south of Trenton and graduated from Trenton High School in 1941.
On Nov. 7, 1943, he married Eris J. Smith. To this union, three daughters and one son were born.
In April 1943, he joined the U.S. Navy and served as a Seaman Second Class aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Lexington, which the Japanese radio propagandist Tokyo Rose incorrectly reported to have sunk many times. For that reason the ship was nicknamed "The Blue Ghost" by the Japanese. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in December 1945.
After the war, they lived for a short time near Maryville, Mo., before returning to Hitchcock County in the fall of 1946 to work in the harvest and eventually to farm ground south of Trenton which now lies below the waters of Swanson Lake. He worked on the construction of the dam until its completion, then moved his family to Culbertson in 1951. He worked for WEW Trucking for several years before going to work for Vince Wallace and learning the land conservation business. He soon began his own business and leveled, terraced, benched or built dams on most of the land in Southwest Nebraska. In 1969, he retired from his own business and with his wife, moved to Los Angeles, Calif., at work for McDonald Douglas Aviation. He was transferred to Houston, Texas and was honored to work on the first Lunar Lander. In 1973, they moved to Denver, Colo., to work for Vara Enterprises as a superintendent before he and his wife retired to Yuma, Ariz., in 1985. He was drawn back to Hitchcock County in 1992 and returned to what he loved to do the most, move dirt. He worked for his brother-in-law, Melvin Smith, until he retired a second time at the age of 73. In retirement he returned to his hobby of wood working and made many items that will be treasured always by friends and family.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Dean A. Marquardt.
Survivors include his wife, Eris; three daughters, Janice Winters and husband, Lennie, Sandy Clevenger and husband, Tom, all of Culbertson, Vicky Rehn and husband, Murray of Hillsboro, Texas; one son, G.L. "Joe" Marquardt and wife, Joy (Stewart) of Indianola; nine grandchildren, Natalie Maaske, Troy Clark, Tammy Clark, Robert Williams, Tye Marquardt, Scott Marquardt, Michelle Cole, Chad Rehn, Nichole Grummons; 19 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; two sisters, Evelyn Gulzow of Paso Roble, Calif., and LaVonne (Bonnie) Fattig of Brady; and many, many friends.
Funeral services are 2 p.m., Wednesday, at Herrmann Memorial Chapel in McCook with the Rev. Dr. Jeffery Thurman officiating. Burial with military honors will be at Fort McPherson National Cemetery at Maxwell.
Memorials may be given in his name and friends may call at Herrmann Funeral Home in McCook from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.