Duane Vernon Ely

Duane V. Ely, 79, of Lawrence, KS passed away at Presbyterian Manor on Friday March 7, 2014.

Duane was born July 28, 1934 in Hutchinson, KS, son of Glenn V. and Grace Gertrude (Pickens) Ely. He attended Buhler High School and graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1952. He worked with his parents farming and with Glenn Ely Dairy; milking cows, separating milk and cream, making chocolate milk with large cans of Hershey’s syrup and delivering milk and cream.

He then attended Hutchinson Junior College and Kansas State Agricultural College. It was during the summer between his junior and senior year at K-State that he and his father purchased Pyle Bodyshop in Hutchinson, which Duane owned and operated until 1959, at which time he acquired the GMC truck franchise for Hutchinson, KS.

Duane was the GMC truck dealer in Hutchinson from 1959 until 1987. During this time he served on numerous GMC national and regional councils, was profiled in numerous GMC dealership articles, participated with the Kansas Motor Carriers Association and was the Kansas Truck Dealer of the Year in 1984 as well as one of five finalists for National Truck Dealer of the Year in 1984. The dealership was sold in 1987.
Duane started a second career with Waddell and Reed in the 1990’s. He retired from Waddell and Reed in 2002.

Duane is survived by the love of his life, his wife Patsy (Witt) Ely of Lawrence, whom he married on August 13, 1960. He is also survived by his sons Keith and Kent Ely of Lawrence, daughter-in-law Karen Ely of Lawrence and grandsons John and Andrew Ely of Lawrence.

Duane was active in many organizations including Trinity United Methodist Church of Hutchinson and the Doers Sunday school class of the church, American Truck Historical Society (whose national convention and truck show he helped lead and organize in Hutchinson in 2008), the Wheat State Chapter of ATHS which he founded, Buhler U.S.D. 313 School Board, Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, 4-H club leader and numerous charitable organizations.

He was passionate about restoring antique trucks, woodworking, K-State sports, his family and his friends. He and Patsy could be found every Friday evening at Anchor Inn with their life-long friends and he could be found in the mornings with his coffee groups.

Services will be held in Lawrence, KS on March 15 at the First United Methodist Church Celebration Center (West Campus – 867 Highway 40) at 1:30PM. Services in Hutchinson will be held 3:00PM on April 11 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1602 N. Main.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Trinity United Methodist Church, Hutchinson, the Johnson Cancer Center at Kansas State University, or the American Truck Historical Society. Memorial gifts may be made in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

12 Condolences

  1. Lisa Ewing on March 9, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Kent: So sorry for the loss of your beloved Dad! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! Lisa

  2. Dorothy Sthole Meyer on March 10, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I knew Duane from the growing up years in Hutchinson, Ks. My Dad Garnet Sthole was friends with the family. I send my sympathy to the family

  3. Deborah & Margaret on March 10, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Our prayers & thoughts are with you and the family on the loss of your dad. He was a wonderful man and always cheerful when he was in the office. He will be missed.

  4. Rod Salyer on March 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Mr. Ely was a great man and one of my favorite people when I was growing up. I vividly remember the sound of his laughter cutting through any crowd. He was always kind and curious and full of life, even to the kid down the street. Blessings to your family, and may he rest in peace. – Rod

  5. Laird Noller on March 11, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Keith: Sorry to hear about the passing of your father. You always told me he was a heck of a good GMC Truck Dealer. Now I realize where you got your outstanding work ethic and drive to succeed.
    My Sincerest Sympathy, Laird

  6. E. Kelly on March 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    What a loving tribute to a loving man. I’m keeping all of the Elys in my thoughts and hoping your many happy memories will provide you some comfort at this difficult time.

  7. Kevin Dyck on March 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Keith, so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. Loved reading about the legacy he left behind. Sounds like a wonderful man. My best to you and your family. Kevin

  8. Glenn and Loreen Gayer on March 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Mrs. Ely, Kent, Keith and Family:

    We are thinking of you and your family in the death of Duane. We always enjoyed his friendship when we lived in Buhler. Duane’s many accomplishments over the years are a real tribute to his memory.

    God bless you

    Glenn and Loreen Gayer

  9. Mary J Haltom on March 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Patsy & Family : I was so sorry to hear of Duane passing away, I did not realize you were living up in Lawrence now. But saw where the service here at Trinity U Methodist Church in April .He was such a nice man, and my Duane loved to visit an be around him. My thoughts an Prayers are with all of you at this time. Blessings to you all, Friend, Mary J Haltom

  10. Scott Strothkamp on March 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Keith and Kent,

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. May your father rest in peace.

    Scott Strothkam

  11. James Jones on March 17, 2014 at 10:08 am

    One of the finest supervisors I have ever worked for. He was a very likeable man with great talents in sales and customer relations. Gave me many opportunities during my employment with him. I’m sorry for your loss and give prayers for support.

  12. Norman Perser on March 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. When your heart is empty, filling it with happy memories can help you find your smile.

    God bless.

    Norman and Molly Perser

Leave a Condolence