Skip to content

(John) Duane Jeffrey, 85

(John) Duane Jeffrey, 85, of East Grand Forks, MN passed away on Friday, February 18, 2022, at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, ND after a brief battle with cancer.

He was born on January 30, 1937, in Grand Forks, ND the son of John and Alice (Gauthier) Jeffrey and grew up in rural East Grand Forks. Duane married Anna Mae Woinarowicz on October 19, 1954, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Red River Mission in Stephen, MN. They made their home in East Grand Forks, where Duane worked on his brothers’ farm, then King of Spuds and Old Dutch Foods. Duane served in the North Dakota Army National Guard between 1952 and 1955. In 1974, he got a job as a maintenance man at United Hospital (now Altru Hospital) in Grand Forks. It was a right fit for a fixer and he worked there until retiring in 1999.

He and Anna Mae raised three sons, John (Jackie Bissonette) Jeffrey of East Grand Forks, MN, Greg (Stella Marie Franck) Fargo, ND and Gary (Mary Babinski) Marysville, WA. He and Anna Mae were the perfect team. They volunteered countless hours of service to Sacred Heart Church and School. Among other things, Duane was the ace salesman of pizzas, magazines, and raffle calendars to support the school. Anna Mae was the bookkeeper. They were still giving everyone the “opportunity” to help the school even in the last year of his life. Also, together they took care of church vigil lights for nearly 20 years. In 2017, Sacred Heart honored Duane and Anna Mae with its highest honor, the Lumen Christi Award, and gave both honorary diplomas.

Duane was known for his quick wit and skill at cards. He could fix anything, and well into retirement remained a trusted source for advice when things — mechanical or otherwise — went wrong. Easy-going, he used humor to brighten the day of all who met him.

He is survived by his wife: Anna Mae, his 3 sons; six grandchildren: Jacob, Noah, Sarah, Eric, Alex and Jessica; five great-grandchildren: Liam, Teagan, Briggs, Jane, James; his sister and brother in-law, Jean and Bill Bagley and stepsister, Rita Zahradka.

Duane was preceded in death by eight siblings: Vincent Jeffrey, Rosalie Peterson, Ardell Jeffrey, Veronica Bulger, Betty Ann Hecht, Donald Jeffrey, Lavern Jeffrey, Ethel Mae Gregoire, Linda Jeffrey, and grandson, John Isaac Jeffrey.

Memorials may be given to the Duane and Anna Mae Jeffrey 50th Anniversary Scholarship Fund at The Sacred Heart Foundation.

Mass of Christian Burial: 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 26, 2022, in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, East Grand Forks, MN.

Visitation: One hour prior to the liturgy in the church on Saturday.

Burial: In the spring, at Calvary North Cemetery, Grand Forks, ND.

Leave a Comment