Duane J. “DJ” Skellenger
Duane J. “DJ” Skellenger, 82, passed away Monday, March 19, 2018 at his home in Lake Mills. Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, March 24, at Asbury United Methodist Church, Lake Mills, with Pastor Doug Domokos officiating. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Friday evening at Mittelstadt Funeral Home, Lake Mills, and again one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will take place in Sunnyside Cemetery, Lake Mills.The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Asbury United Methodist Church Kitchen Fund. Mittelstadt Funeral Home, Lake Mills, was in charge of arrangements.
Duane was born Feb. 29, 1936, in Lake Mills. He had five siblings. Their names are Leona, Margaret, Bill, Virginia, and Don. His dad, Leo, was a carpenter at the time. His mom’s name was Ruth.
All the kids had nicknames that took the first and middle name initials. Duane and Don were DJ, Margaret was MJ, Bill was BJ, Virginia was VJ, and Leona was LJ. Virginia also went by Ginny, too. (Later I’ve found out that Don went by Donnie Ray.)
School was fun for Duane. He played sports, sang in music, acted in class plays, and did building in shop class.
At home he had a lot of chores. He had to mow the lawn, rake leaves in the fall, clean the bathroom and his room, drive the tractor, and when he was 11 he worked on grandpa’s farm. When he was 10, he drove a tractor and a 1946 Ford car.
In high school, he played a lot of sports with friends, built homes in shop class, broke a window in shop class, and sometimes, farmed instead of going to school. DJ liked to wear jeans and high-top shoes which were the trends back then. Girls wore dresses that went down to their ankles. Imagine that.
Duane’s first job was farming and carpentry. Farming on grandpa’s farm and helping his dad doing carpentry. Some of Duane’s uncles went to war, but he didn’t. All the uncles survived. They were Uncle Reuben, Uncle Lynn, Uncle Virgil, and Uncle Floyd. Through the Skellenger family, they’ve been farmers and carpenters as a tradition. I’m even getting into carpentry.
Duane went to Iowa State University for two whole years in Ames.
When he was a freshman in high school, he dated his classmate, Martha Bakke. They went out to a coffee shop and they had malts and burgers. They were in love. Duane was 18 when they got married. Duane and Martha had a son and two girls: Alan, Joan, and Jodie, who are grown up now. Then they got a divorce a few years later.
He married Anne Vaske when he was 60 years old. At that time, he was a basketball coach and she was a teacher. With Anne they had a son: me, Ryan. DJ went on a lot of trips with Anne. They went to all the states except Alaska, Newfoundland, Canada, and Nova Scotia.
As an adult, DJ worked as a carpenter, farmer, fireman, electrician, and appliance man. To the day this biography was written he was a great appliance man. He could fix any appliance.
Five things DJ would want people and kids to know are: 1) No Smoking, 2) No Drinking, 3) No Stealing, 4) No Drugs, and 5) No Swearing. He even told me that.
DJ wants to be remembered as a hard-working guy who was willing to help anyone in need.
DJ loved to go to drive-in restaurants and outside movies. Outside movies are where you can sit in your car and watch a movie on a huge tarp in an open area, like a parking lot or an old clearing somewhere in the country.
DJ liked a lot of things that were invented. There was the dial phone, black and white TV, computer, modern appliances, and car accessories like power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission.
Left back in this world are children: Ryan, Alan, Joan, and Jody; sisters: Leona Yocom, Margaret (Gaylord) Bowman, Virginia (Alan) Kuhfus; brothers: Bill Skellenger and Don (Ann) Skellenger; Uncle Virgil Skellenger, Houston, Texas; and many cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Ruth; and first wife, Martha Bakke.
(Written by: Ryan Skellenger)