Duane Perry Dittmer, 81, died peacefully Nov. 6, 2020, during a brief hospitalization in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Duane was one of six children of Art and Vera Alderson Dittmer. He and his twin brother, Dwight, were born Feb. 20, 1939, in Strawberry Point, Iowa. After his mother, Vera, died when Duane was 5, his father married Erma Persson Haasis. Together they raised Art's six children and Erma's two sons, Bill and Louis Haasis. Three children were born to Art and Erma, which resulted in a close farm family of 11.
After attending the University of Iowa and taking an eye-opening trip to Denmark and Europe, Duane came home to hold a number of successful sales positions. A natural-born entrepreneur and self-made man, he formed Superior Support Systems Inc. in Texas. While still a shareholder at the time of his death, fittingly he passed the management to his stepson, Jon Jackson, and his former wife, Lorraine Dittmer.
The Dittmer family's century-plus life and connection to Clayton County, Iowa, led Duane to return to this beautiful area for retirement. He bought land in the hills close to Mederville, Iowa (named after his great-grandfather, Henry Meder), and adjacent to other properties in the Dittmer family. There he built his summer cabin and developed the Mederville Wildlife Club.
Duane was a morel mushroom hunter extraordinaire. Numerous family and friends from all over the country would visit Duane at the Iowa cabin throughout the summers. While the season was always too short, Duane was happy to return to his winter home in Florida, where he had a vast network of friends.
Duane always had a story to tell, a money-making idea or a bad joke to share. He always was looking out for his in-laws, stepchildren, nieces and nephews. He thrived on being the conduit for keeping the Dittmer family connected and together.
Whether sporting his Colonel Sanders suit, sharing his coupons for a meal at his favorite Asian Fusion buffet, playing golf or cards with the boys or just hanging out, Duane was always up for a fun time. His presence made the occasion an event to be remembered.
Duane was preceded in death by parents, Art and Vera Alderson Dittmer; stepmother, Erma Persson Haasis Dittmer; sisters, Mary Eden and Jean Larkin; brothers, Neil, Norbert, Wendell, Dwight; and stepbrothers, Bill and Lou Haasis.
He is survived by sister, Betty Dittmer of Alameda, Calif.; brother, Dennis Dittmer of Tipton, Iowa; stepchildren, Jon and Jennifer Jackson of Dallas, Texas; and many adoring in-laws, nieces and nephews. Duane was blessed to have his former wife of 25 years, Lorraine Dittmer; and his loving partner, Wendy Martinson, by his side at the time of his death.
Duane wished to be cremated and because of COVID-19, there will not be an immediate celebration of his life. The Dittmer family and friends will be gathering in late spring or early summer to honor Duane's memory in Strawberry Point, Iowa. He will rest at the Mederville Cemetery alongside his grandparents, Herman and Clara Meder Dittmer.
He was a thoughtful, generous, curious, funny, opinionated and caring man. Duane lived each day to the fullest and he loved and was loved by his family and friends.
A complete obituary is available at All County Funeral Home and Crematory at www.allcounty.com.