Duane E. Sorenson returned to his Heavenly Father on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. He was born on April 26, 1927 in Moorhead, Iowa. His grandparents migrated from Denmark to the U.S and settled in Moorhead, Iowa. His dad, Chris Sorenson, was a farmer and his mom, Ella Mortensen, a schoolteacher. Duane was the second youngest of five children.
The family left Moorhead, Iowa in 1934 and lived in Priest River, Idaho until 1940 when they moved to California because his dad was sick with asthma and needed better air.
During his teenage years in Southern California, Duane was a typical teenager, from pulling numerous pranks on his siblings to getting into his dad’s wine stash. At the same time, his moral compass was strong and his kindness, generosity, and knack for doing the right thing showed through.
After he graduated from North Hollywood High School and when WWII ended, Duane returned to Priest River to be with Veryl and Ina and he went to work for Ken Shaw. Duane then served in the Korean War from 1950-1952 and was discharged honorably as a Master Sergeant. Before he left for the Army, he took Evonne down to the DMV and signed over his 1937 Hudson to her and bought her insurance for it. Again, showing his kind and caring nature.
While he was at war, his family moved from Spokane to Nampa. Duane returned from Germany after the war and moved to Nampa. After a short stint with the phone company, he helped run the family store for his dad who was sick. During that time, he was living in the store and bought his parents the house on Willow Lane with his GI benefits.
Duane wanted to be in the forest service and thought that being on the police force would help him get into that job. Duane starting with the Idaho State Police in 1956 where he began a long and prestigious career in law enforcement which included:
Being one of a select few officers in the state of Idaho to be appointed to as well as graduate from the FBI National Academy
Appointed by Gov. Samuelson as head of the ISP Investigative division.
Sheriff of Custer County
And the most important event in Duane’s prestigious law enforcement career…
On, June 16th, 1960 at 7:20pm, Duane’s life was changed forever because of a routine traffic stop on Hwy 2 between Priest River and Newport. That is when he, surely with kindness, stopped and issued a speeding ticket to Lily Erickson. Shortly after, Lily was pretty upset over him giving her a speeding ticket, especially since she worked for the Prosecutor in Bonner County in Sandpoint at the time, so when she saw him again, she stopped to give him a piece of her mind. She eventually lightened up when their paths kept crossing. There was one time she was on the side of the road needing a belt replaced in her car and he stopped to help her, telling her that they (the police) were not always bad guys. It wasn’t too long after that Duane asked Lily out on their first date, a trip to the lake to go water skiing. He asked Lily if she knew how to ski and she said yes she loved to water ski, even though she had never been on skis before in her life. She was afraid if she said no, he would never ask her out again. And that was the beginning of the rest of their lives. They were engaged on September 16th, 1960 and married on April 16th, 1961. Needless to say, “16” was their lucky number. They spent the next 58 amazing years together in marriage. Duane retired from the ISP in 1971.
In 1971 Duane and Lily moved to Challis to start Challis Transportation. While there, the bug to be a police officer never left Duane, so he became sheriff of Custer County. The family moved back to Nampa in 1975 where Duane ran a 15-acre farm and also ran for sheriff of Canyon County. After losing the election, Duane, along with taking care of the farm, went to work with Willis Shaw as a driver and then later became a Driver Instructor. One day, while taking a student on a test drive, the student lost control of the semi and rolled it. Duane ended up with a broken back but continued as an instructor for Willis Shaw until he retired in 1989.
Duane and Lily continued their service to the community by spending many years together as officers in the Nampa Valley Grange and Idaho State Grange.
He was very wise, honorable, loving, funny, and kind hearted. He was an amazing father and role model for everyone, especially for his children. Together, Duane and Lily had Tina and Lisa and having the girls meant he had to live with three left-handed, red-headed females. As much of a challenge as this would be over the years, and working full time and taking care of the farm, he still managed to make it to all of their activities and help with their homework. Working on the farm with his family also created many memories for his family helping him in the fields in the summertime.
Duane enjoyed hunting, and when he lived in northern Idaho, he often came down to southern Idaho to hunt pheasants. He also loved playing cards with his family and could be quite competitive. He enjoyed bowling, and bowled with Lily in a league for many years. He enjoyed car races, water skiing, flying his airplane, western movies, and good western music. Most importantly, he loved spending time with his family… and a good apple or cherry pie.
He is survived by his wife, Lily; daughters, Tina (Dave) Lambert and Lisa (Kraig) Owens; sister, Evonne Hill; grandchildren, John Lambert, Rachel LaRosa, Tim Lambert, Jamesmichael Sorenson-Eslick, Shaileen Sorenson-Eslick, Kaileigh Sorenson-Eslick, Alaina Sorenson-Eslick, Chrissy Sorenson-Burns, Bella Sorenson-Burns, and Emily Lambert; great-grandson, Pearson; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
A viewing will be held at 11:00 AM Thursday, October 10, 2019 with funeral service beginning at 12:00 PM at Alsip and Persons Funeral Chapel, 404 10th Ave. South, Nampa. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, 15862 S. Indiana Ave., Caldwell.
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