Duane Glen Gehring, 94, of Olathe, Kansas and formerly of Bella Vista, Arkansas, died on February 14, 2015, in Kansas. He was born on August 9, 1920 in Bloomer, Wisconsin to Fredrick and Myrtle (Van Gelder) Gehring. He graduated from Colfax High School in 1938.
Duane married his high school sweetheart, Jeanette Thomas, on Nov. 7, 1942. They were married for 61 years, until Jeanette’s death in 2003.
He served as a Pilot in the Army Air Corps during WWII, where he completed thirty five bombing missions over Germany on B-24 bombers. His last mission was on February 24, 1945, almost exactly seventy years ago! He achieved the rank of First Lieutenant before being discharged in 1945. Following his service in the Air Corps, he attended and graduated from the University of Illinois, with a degree in accounting.
Duane’s professional life was spent as a sales representative, primarily for the W.R. Grace Company and then as a banker with what is now The Arvest Bank in Bella Vista. He was a member of the United Lutheran Church in Bella Vista for 38 years. He was an avid golfer and was a member of the Lion’s Club and Fly Tyers. In his retirement, he found great joy in volunteering at Helping Hands in Rogers, AR, where he catalogued and organized the used books. He had a life-long love of reading and learning, and was interested in current events until his final days. Duane was also a dedicated Green Bay Packer fan, who enjoyed watching them win and could never understand how they could lose.
On May 15, 2005, Duane married Helen Anderson, the second love of his life. Helen and Duane traveled and enjoyed friends and volunteering in the Bella Vista area during their nine years of marriage. Helen and Duane moved to Olathe, Kansas in September of 2014, to be closer to their families.
Duane was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Paul, sister, Margaret Hensel, and stepson, Warren Anderson.
Duane is survived by his wife, Helen, and twenty seven members of her (the Anderson) family. In addition, he is survived by a daughter, Marcia (Richard) Thompson of West Salem, Wisconsin, and a son, David (Rebecca Timson) of Seattle, Washington; four grandchildren, Amanda, Gunnar, Jasper and Hana and six great-grandchildren, Jane, Ruth, Haukken, Livijana, Margot and Lennon.
A celebration of life will be held in Bella Vista, AR over Memorial Day weekend. A service will be held at the United Lutheran Church at 100 Cooper Road, at a date and time yet to be announced. Arrangements are by the Bella Vista Funeral Home and Crematory.
Memorials may be made to Helping Hands, Inc. at 320 Airport Road, Bentonville, AR 72712.