Rodney Durner

On January 23, 2012, Rodney Bemis Durner, a resident of the Baldwin Care Center peacefully concluded his life’s journey of over 97 years and went to be with his Lord and Savior and eternal salvation. Prior to his time at the Baldwin Care Center, he resided in St. Paul, Minnesota for many years.

The oldest of three brothers, Rodney was born on April 26, 1914 in Evansville, Wisconsin to Herbert Bayliss Durner and Bessie May (Fellows) Durner. He was raised and grew up in Evansville and graduated from Evansville High School in June of 1932. Following high school, he attended Whitewater State Teachers College in Whitewater, WI and earned a Bachelor of Education degree in 1936.

Rodney taught at Adams-Friendship High School (Adams, WI) in central Wisconsin for the next five years before relocating to Washington, DC and then Philadelphia, PA during the war years where he worked for the Federal government in support of the war effort.

On August 1, 1942, he was united in marriage to Myrtle Edith Oestreich of Fairmount, North Dakota in Philadelphia, PA. This marriage resulted in a loving and caring union that lasted for over 55 years until her passing on November 25, 1997. Rodney was extremely devoted to his wife.

Rodney continued working for the government in Philadelphia until 1948 when he and his wife relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota. During the next eleven years, he worked for numerous companies in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area as a bookkeeper. From 1959 until his retirement in 1977, Rodney served as a Purchasing Agent for the North Central Forest Experiment Station of the U.S. Forest Service in St. Paul.

While residing in St. Paul, Rodney was an active and involved member at Central Presbyterian Church, serving as a greeter, usher, deacon and board member. He enjoyed traveling with his wife Myrtle and visiting friends and relatives. Rod kept his home and yard meticulous and neat and took great joy in his gardens. He looked out for his neighbors in St. Paul and left a legacy of love and caring with them. Rodney was extremely kind and thoughtful, generous with his time and treasure and served and aided others in need and down on their luck, often allowing people who needed a home for a short period of time to live in his upstairs duplex. He was a loving and caring brother-in-law, and took great joy and pride in his nieces and nephews, to whom he was most generous.

Rodney will be remembered as a loving husband, brother-in-law and uncle; for his sense of humor and compassionate caring for all people. He was the family genealogist who maintained family records and photographs and enjoyed wandering down back roads and by-ways, not unlike his parents. He was a prolific writer and always kept in touch with family and friends with written notes and cards. He was also an active member of the Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota for 62 years.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Bess Durner; his two brothers, Herbert A. Durner and Richard F. Durner; his wife Myrtle; his sister-in-law, Violet Leider; and brother-in-law Cramer Oestreich.

Rodney is survived by his sister-in-law Jeannine M. (Stinson) Durner of Baldwin, WI; niece and nephew Marilee Johnson of New Richmond, WI and David W. Durner of Redondo Beach, CA; grand-niece and nephews Carly Johnson, Ty Traynor, and Cory Traynor. Sister-in-law Marjorie E. (Hyne) Durner of Evansville, WI; niece and nephew Mary Ann Durner of Janesville, WI and Randall A. Durner (Kathleen) of Bradford, PA.

A memorial service was held at the First United Presbyterian Church in Baldwin, WI on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 10:00 o’clock AM with Reverend Janet Ruark officiating.

The family extends their most gracious thanks for the love and care extended to Rodney by the entire staff of the Baldwin Care Center during his residency; Reverend Janet Ruark and the congregation of the First United Presbyterian Church of Baldwin as well as loving friends and ministers at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, MN. Cremation services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Countryside Crematory.

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