David L. Duax, February 1, 1944 - April 17, 2015

David L. Duax
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David Leo Francis Duax went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on Friday, April 17, 2015. He will be greatly missed in the governance of our city and monumentally missed by his family.

David was born in Eau Claire on February 1, 1944, to Leo and Corinne (Johnson) Duax. David attended UWEC Campus school and graduated from Eau Claire Memorial High School in 1962. He was a debater for MHS who won third place at the Little Nationals Debate Tournament and also was the president of the Junior Classical League. He attended Carlton College in Northfield, MN., and later earned a B.S. in Political Science from UW-Eau Claire. During this time he served on the UWEC student senate and was active in student government and became chairman of the 10th District Young Republicans. He went on to Madison and attended the University of Wisconsin Law School. At the age of 28, in 1972, he ran for state assembly.

Upon returning to Eau Claire, he began fulfilling his passion as he became involved in local politics and government and this became the focus of much of his life. David served on the Eau Claire County Board from 1974 to 1983 and was Chairman of the County Board. Between 1987 and 1994 he held a variety of posts in the administration of Gov. Tommy Thompson, including overseeing the Lincoln Hills Detention Center and the Ethan Allen School for Boys.

In 1993, he married Kathryn Proctor, and was a step-father to Kathryn’s two children.

Later, he was Director of Development and Communications at Sacred Heart Hospital. In 2005 he ran for the Eau Claire City Council and was excited to be part of the government that could make a difference for the city and its people.

David was known for solving problems in governance, researching and developing better ideas for Eau Claire. As he told Volume One in a 2009 candidate interview, "We need to think boldly, and out of the box. We should not just talk about ideas, but realize the ‘urgency of the present.' With his statesmanlike manner and penchant for public pronouncements and insightful inquiries during council meetings, (he) embodied such boldness, as well as civility and respect for government institutions and processes.”

He was a conscientious councilman, who delved into the details, history, and ramifications of every decision. He was always thoroughly informed about an issue. He was part of the development of the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, the new jail and courthouse in Eau Claire; served on the city planning commission for many years, the Wisconsin Aeronautics Board, served on the Chippewa Valley Airport Commission, Chaired the State Sesquicentennial celebration, and served as the Vice President of the City Council. One of David's most inspired projects was creating and chairing the Joint Committee of Shared Services which is a commission to help Eau Claire governing bodies share the services that are common to all: ECASD, County Board and City Government. His progressive ideas were a pioneering concept in the nation and he attended several National League of Cities conferences where this idea is being fostered for the future.

Those who have worked with Dave, have called him the 'most progressive Republican they have ever met.’ This may be attributed to his admiration for “fighting” Bob LaFollete, the former U.S. Senator and Governor of Wisconsin, the inventor of the progressive movement. David truly crossed the aisle to make Eau Claire a better place and is an example of strength in leadership.

David was a world traveler, a linguist, an historian and relished teaching about the history of Eau Claire, family history, world history, our nation’s history, etc. His mind retained most everything he read. He enjoyed everything from opera to the many offerings that Eau Claire has developed, from air shows, to the farmers market and especially the "Big Rig Truck Show" in Eau Claire. He was thrilled to be invited to ride in one of the trucks in the parade. David served at Bethesda Lutheran Brethren church in the College Age ministry for several years. He was blessed to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

David was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Susan (Roger) Forcier, a niece, Amiee Forcier, and his step son, Ross Proctor.

He is survived by his wife Kathryn of 22 years, a sister, Laurel (James) Erdman, a brother-in-law, Roger Forcier, a step daughter Kimberly (Buster) Evers, a granddaughter, Carson Evers, a sister in law, Martha Smiley; nieces and nephews: Katie (Jeff) Kinzenbaw, Matthew (Ingrid) Erdman, Laurie Forcier, Paul (Jan) Forcier, Christopher ( Andrea) Forcier, Stephanie ( Kris) Walker, and twelve great nieces and nephews, all of whom he adored; and cousins Diane (Jim) Hickey, Barbra Arney, Karen (Rich) Nauman, Jan (Bob) Wilson and Steven (Claudia) Andrews.

David knew most everyone, and always enjoyed meeting people and talking with them no matter where he went. He will be greatly missed. Every niece and nephew had a special relationship with their uncle who showed them personal interest. He supported their accomplishments and delighted in how each was fulfilling their adult lives. David had a great sense of humor and that was offered up to many, especially family members. It was always fun to have Uncle Dave at any gathering. He will be greatly missed at the table.

And it shall be said, “You have run the good race.” “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to your favorite charity, Apple Pregnancy Care Center, Beacon House, After Care Inc. or Bethesda Lutheran Church.

Visitation will take place at Bethesda Lutheran Brethren Church, 123 W. Hamilton Avenue, Eau Claire, WI 54701 on Friday evening, May 1, 2015 from 3-7 pm. Private family burial will take place at Forest Hill Cemetery in Eau Claire. Memorial service will take place at 11 am on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at Bethesda Lutheran Brethren Church. There will be no visitation at the church on Saturday morning prior to the service.

Family and friends may offer condolences online at www.fullerspeckienhulke.com.

Fuller-Speckien-Hulke Funeral Home, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Condolences

  1. Henry and Jean Stapelmann May 10, 2015

    Heinie and I were deeply saddened by Dave's death
    He was a good friend at our church and in the Republican Party.. May God be with the family give them the peace that only He can give. Jean

  2. J. Peter Bartl May 1, 2015

    I grew up in Thorp, but got to know Dave after attending an NSF summer session at St. Olaf College along with Richard Russel. Richard Allan Deutsch and Dave were 3 of Eau Claire's brightest students and were close buddies. I remember tipping a few beers with Dave at the Dew Drop Inn after we turned 18. Upon returning to the area in 2000, it was a pleasure to find that Dave was also back in Eau Claire and making major contributions as a member of the Eau Claire City Council. I am surprised that no one has mentioned the time where Dave ran OPEC (Office of People from Eau Claire as he sometimes referred to his Madison office). He was one of a kind. Eau Claire has lost a much needed leader that will be difficult to replace.

  3. Mike and Barb Huggins May 1, 2015

    Dave was that most rare of men, a true Christian gentleman. We will miss his kind heart and generous nature. And we will miss his stories about the community he loved so deeply.

    Mike and Barb Huggins

  4. Butch & Joanne Martin May 1, 2015

    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. As part of the Memorial Class of '62 and living in Eau Claire we appreciated Dave's passion for our city. We hope that your memories will give you peace.
    Butch & Joanne

  5. Charlotte Ellison(charlie) April 30, 2015

    so sorry for your loss i know david will be very much missed i am praying for you all

  6. MARTY GREEN April 29, 2015

    We are back from Ohio and will join many others
    at David's Memorial Service.

    I miss him already. He leaves a great VOID in our Heart and in our City

    Marty Green
    RDA and WAYY Radio

  7. Sara Yates April 29, 2015

    My sincere condolences to David's family. He had many accomplishments in his life time. Certain Eau Claire lost a wonderful person with all he had done in his life time.

    Such a lost for the community.

    Sara yates

  8. Jennifer (Jeff) Argelander April 28, 2015

    I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Dave. I worked for and with Dave in Juvenile Corrections. He was one of the best bosses I've ever had. He had the biggest heart. He truly cared about the youth we served as well as all the staff. He was a man of great intelligence, integrity and awesome sense of humor. And his commitment to service was outstanding. He will truly be missed by all who knew him I wish the Duax family peace and comfort with their loss of this wonderful man.

  9. Jim Ryder April 25, 2015

    Dave spend much of his life dedicating himself to making the Eau Claire community a better place to live. Over the 20 years I knew Dave, he supported the City-County Health Dept in many policies, programs, & legislation that improved the public's health in EC County & City. His dedication to his beloved community will be missed.

  10. City of Eau Claire Bus Operator's April 23, 2015

    The City Bus Operators would like to express their deepest condolences for your loss. Dave ment a lot to a lot of people and will be surely missed. No words can make the sadness go away just know that many people are praying for you at this difficult time.

    Amalgamated Transit Union

  11. Dr. Melissa Stangl April 23, 2015

    Kathy,

    My sympathy and prayers to you and your family. It was an honor to have known Dave. He always had a friendly smile and never short on good conversation. He will be greatly missed.

  12. Susan & William Jones April 23, 2015

    Dear Kathy,

    We are deeply saddened to learn of Dave's passing. He made such a strong and supportive impression as we came to know him through the years. Our lives were indeed richer as we came to call him our friend. And the flowering of your lives together showed to all the depth of your special connection. Our prayers will be with you. Fondly, Sue & Bill

  13. Mark Goings April 21, 2015

    Kathryn,

    Eau Claire has been blessed to have both you and David play such a vital roles in the community. Know that you both have made a positive difference in the lives of many. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Mark Goings and the members of ECAE

  14. Diane Foust April 21, 2015

    Kathy,
    I am thinking of you and your family at this sad time of David's passing. He was so supportive of you and your active life in teaching, in NATS activities, in working with the school board, among many other things, I am sure. I last saw him in Boston last summer, again at your side as you served. May you find support in your good memories. May David rest in peace.

  15. Eva Wright April 21, 2015

    Dear Kathryn;
    My heartfelt sympathy and condolences to you and your family. May you find comfort in the love and regard of your many friends and colleagues
    With love, Eva Wrightnsmetbce.

  16. Mary and Bob Duax April 20, 2015

    Kathryn and Family. We send you our heartfelt condolences and sympathy at this sad time! David was a very special person and truly loved his family and friends and the City of Eau Claire.
    He helped us with the history of the Duax/DuHoux families and shared lots of information on the Icarians that immigrated to the United States from France! He will be missed by his family and friends, but he will never be forgotten! His legacy will carry on in our hearts!

  17. Ricardo Gonzales April 20, 2015

    When our only son passed away due to a tragic accident three and half years ago. We were overcome with grief and sorrow. Shortly thereafter I ran into Dave at Walgreens and he gave his condolences and offered kind support. I was surprised since I didn't think that he knew who I was. I had made a few presentations to the council, but he remembered. He truly loved everyone in the community and he served with poise and with humility. I will miss Dave.

  18. Ken & Muriel Fulgione April 20, 2015

    I will miss my friend David. He lived a life of a mentor and a great example for other. He was the only republican I ever met that I could understand.... David has done much for our city and hope there is a way we can show our remembrance...

  19. Alison Feldt April 20, 2015

    Dear Kathryn,

    On behalf of the members of the North Central NATS region, condolences to you and your family on Dave's passing. I am grateful to have known Dave, if only a little. My few conversations with him demonstrated the depth of his character and his warm, caring personality. You and your immediate family, his extended family, and all who had the pleasure of knowing him, lost this lovely man much too soon.

    Blessings,
    Alison

  20. Mike & Robin Bollinger April 20, 2015

    My deepest condolences to Kathryn and the Duax family. Dave was a committed, honorable and deeply caring man. He loved the art of the debate and was able to see many sides of a question.

    He helped many people along his journey including me, and he will be sorely missed.

  21. Barbara Aberg Knutson April 20, 2015

    Kathy,
    My heart hurts for you and all of David’s extended family. A wonderful light has gone out in our world, especially in yours. I remember how happy we all were when you became a part of David’s life. What a joy you were to him.

    I grew up with David and always loved being with the Duaxes. They were so interesting, knowledgeable, and full of humor! Over the years, as I observed and read about his accomplishments as a councilman, I would often think how proud his mother, Corrine, would have been. Our mothers were dear, lifelong friends and in the Busy Bees together.

    David will be remembered by many for all he did for Eau Claire, for his compassionate leadership, and for his sense of history. I will always remember his huge, caring heart.

    With Sympathy,
    Barbara Aberg Knutson

  22. Bill Boyd April 20, 2015

    To the Family of Dave Duax-- Please accept my deepest condolences. I have met very few people who could equal Dave in his intellect, knowledge, and zest for discussing important ideas and events. He always had a very engaging and compelling aura about him.We were good friends in our college days. We walked down different roads after this but I have always kept him in my thoughts.

  23. Brian Gabriel April 20, 2015

    I have known Dave since our college days in Eau Claire. We were both in Young Republicans. Good guy and he will be missed.

  24. Jim Haney April 20, 2015

    Kathy,
    I am vacationing in Hawaii and will not be in Wisconsin on March 2nd, so am unable to attend Dave's memorial service. But my heart goes out to you and your families. Dave was a man of principle and loyalty. I felt honored to consider him a friend for nearly 50 years! I am so sorry for your loss. Jim

  25. Tom Webb & Family April 19, 2015

    Kathy and Family,
    We would like to express our sincere sadness in your loss of Dave. Both my dad, Jim Webb and I were involved in Boards, commities and groups with Dave over the years and we both enjoyed the time and felt it a privilage. Dave was a very special man! His concern for other people and the Eau Claire area helped me see what one person could do with a vision and fortitude to help make changes.
    He will be sadly missed by my family and many people and this community!
    Sincerely,
    Tom Webb & Family

  26. Robert Andruszkiewicz April 19, 2015

    I wish to express my sincerest condolences to the Duax family, especially his wife Kathryn. My wonderful memories of Dave were his gentleman ways but with a strong determination to do "right". I admire everything I knew or learned about David.

    As I am not native to Eau Claire, I wish he were still here so I could have learned more of how to lead. I know that where he is now, we couldn't have a better advocate that will stand strong to make sure it goes right for our communities. Thank you Dave for everything you shared with us. We can be led by you legacy of great service to Eau Claire.

  27. Carolyn Eklund Lamb April 19, 2015

    Mr. Duax was a wonderful boss and was so great when my husband died of a massive heart attack at age 59. I thoroughly enjoyed working for him at the State of Wisconsin. My sincere sympathy to the family.

  28. Judith Hunter April 19, 2015

    I am so saddened by the death of David. I was three classes ahead of him at Campus School and in debate with his sister Sue. Our parents were friends through our youth so I do not remember meeting David--he was just always there! His death is, of course, a tremendous loss to his wife and family. It is also a loss to the greater community. Even back in grade school, David's leadership was evident; he had a keen interest in the entire world around him and participated in all sorts of activities. Our mothers were in the Busy Bees together---David told me a few years ago that the first meeting of this "sewing" club was held at Corrine's home! Actually, the group gathered simply to talk about their children--little sewing was ever done!

    He will be missed by many---some of whom you will never know---wmgiqma but were perhaps touched by his honesty and service above self.

    Gone too soon---but David will not be forgotten. These dark moments will pass as the sunshine and warmth of happy memories abound.

    In deepest sympathy,
    Judy Peterson Hunter
    (daughter of Edgar and Arlene Peterson)

  29. Tom & Terry Koziol April 19, 2015

    To the Family of David:

    The news of Dave's passing hit us pretty hard. We can't imagine what you are all facing today, but we do recall how our family felt with the loss of our dad at age 59 several years ago from the same medical condition. It is nearly impossible to say goodbye to the head of the family, to a spouse, to a dad and grandpa.....the loss is just too great. But at the least, please know that your friends in this community, Dave's community in which he was so passionate about and supportive of in his dedicated service to us all....stands by your side with all the love and support we can give to you and the Duax family at this most difficult time. Blessings to you!

    Tom & Terry Koziol
    Thomas VIdeo Studio - Eau Claire

  30. Brendon Duffy April 19, 2015

    I met David when I was in grade school and he came to meet his Iowa cousins. Those of us interested in genealogy owe a debt of gratitude to David for being the first person to uncover our Duax ancestry. We all benefit greatly from his careful research and generosity in sharing it with us. I, for one, was inspired by him. May he rest in peace.

  31. REED April 19, 2015

    It was a privilege and an honor to know and work with him over our years in Eau Claire. His entire family and all of his friends can remember how much he did for this world.

  32. Rosalind Russell Wallace April 18, 2015

    I was so sorry to hear about David's passing. My deepest condolences to his wife and family. I have known David since the 7th grade at Campus School and always knew that he would be the type of person who cared about community, family, friends and commitment. The State of Wisconsin, the city of Eau Claire and all connected with David throughout his career have benefited from his service, his dedication and his talents. Again, his passing is a great loss to all.

  33. Mike Hulett April 18, 2015

    Dave was an icon in the Memorial High School class of 1962 and a friend to every classmate. His intelligence and humor were significant traits but the content of his character and his big heart were stellar parts of his makeup and the world just won't be quite the same. I treasure the fact that we had an opportunity for a good chat at the 50th reunion and also at a National League of Cities meeting. I send my deepest sympathy to Dave's family and wish you peace and rest as you deal with this loss.