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Update: 29 Jan 23
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GREAT FALLS – Duane Clifton Hedahl, 87, of Great Falls, passed away Thursday, January 10, 2019.
A memorial service will be Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Duane was born January 18, 1931 on a farm near Twin Valley, Minnesota to Eddie and Alice (Gullingsrud) Hedahl. He attended country school (Lincoln) and Twin Valley public school graduating in 1949. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 and attended radio mechanic school at Scott Field, Illinois after which he was assigned to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. In 1952 he entered pilot training as an Aviation Cadet, receiving his commission as a USAF 2nd Lt. and Air Force pilot wings in November 1953. After B-29 training in Texas, he was assigned to the 407th Air Refueling Squadron at Great Falls Air Force Base (now known as Malmstrom AFB) in February 1954. His assignments at Malmstrom were as a KB-29P and KC-97G aerial tanker aircraft commander. Other assignments included; Minuteman Launch Officer, Officer Controller assigned to the 341st Missile Wing Command Post, KC-97 simulator instructor and Emergency War Orders Instructor. Later flying assignments included flying rescue aircraft in Bermuda; supporting the Gemini and Mercury space programs, Thule, Greenland; flying rescue helicopters and McGuire AFB, NJ. He retired Dec. 31, 1970 and returned to Great Falls. Post military retirement efforts including a number of years as an independent truck driver/owner operator hauling fresh produce from California and Arizona to Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
He met a local “farmer’s daughter,” Beverly Joan Nicolai and they were married November 20, 1954 in Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. The couple had three daughters; Susan Ann Hedahl, Cynthia Louise Hedahl and Pamela Alice (Hedahl) Nicol and three grandchildren; Amanda Smrdel, Thomas O’Donnell and Matthew Nicol.
After his second retirement, Duane and his wife got hooked on cruising and made port calls to all continents except Antarctica. He was a 50 year plus member of Delta Lodge #34 AF & AM; Scottish Rite, Great Falls; and Algeria Shrine, Helena, MT. He was secretary/treasurer as a volunteer in the Malmstrom Historical Foundation, Inc. for nearly 30 years. At various times he was a member of the Jolly Rogues Shrine Clowns; T birds; Sons of Norway; Vesterheim, the Norwegian American Museum; Mended Hearts; Order of Daedalians and other organizations.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Beverly; three daughters, Susan, Cynthia and Pamela (Ron) Nicol of Great Falls; three grandchildren, Amanda Smrdel, Thomas O’Donnell and Matthew Nicol; and many nieces and nephews.
Duane was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Kermit and Alton; sisters Gladys, Erma and twin sister, Donna and grandson Ronald Sidney Nicol. Published by Great Falls Tribune on Jan. 13, 2019.
, USAF (Retired)
January 18, 1931 – January 10, 2019
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