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Duane Johnson was a kind, personable, and gentle man - a servant leader in the truest sense of that concept, always helpful, cooperative, and working for the good.
He always left me with the feeling that I want to be like him when I grow up.
He gave positive meaning to the phrase “I’m from the state library, and I’m here to help you,” giving state librarians a good name.
"Well done, good and faithful servant!" May he be at rest.
~ Don Reynolds, Talbott, Tennessee (formerly CKLS Great Bend) - November 12, 2018
~ Don Reynolds - November 12, 2018
Duane and I had a conversation about sense of place, in his office, when he was Director of the Hutchinson Public Library, in March, 1974. In 1981, I was appointed to the Kansas State Library Advisory Commission. In 1982, we considered 11 applications for the position of State Librarian. We voted to accept Duane's application, 7-0, after which he was appointed to the position by Governor Carlin. I enjoyed the meetings of the Commission, immensely, under his leadership.
~ Dennis Bosley - November 8, 2018
Please accept my condolences on the loss of Duane. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Library well, and I always liked seeing him at the exhibits in the Sabatini Gallery. He was very insightful, kind, and always had great questions. I admired him.
~ Sherry Best - November 4, 2018
Duane conceived the Interlibrary Loan Development Plan, a brilliant revenue stream attractive to legislators because of its shared resources and non-duplication of costs. Duane, Dan Masoni and I had to work for two years to pass the plan but once passed it netted Kansas libraries thousands of dollars over a lengthy period of time. Duane was brilliant.
~ Melanie Miller - November 3, 2018
I have some great memories of my Uncle Duane while growing up in Salina, Ks, even though he never had much to with us little kids at the time, I remember him coming home with a burlap bag that a bunch of rattle snakes he had caught on some kind of roundup, of course grandma was not very happy with him and he just laughed and kept teasing, then he had a baby great horned owl that he had found and was raising it, we thought that was cool, he brought to one of grade school classes for show and tell. It wasn't till I got older and that I got to know about him and realized there was way more to my uncle that I no clue that he just wasn't a book worm. Several years ago after my dad died we started emailing and talking on the phone, he'd call just to chat or I would call just to check on him. When he and Deb came to our family reunion 3 years ago is when he shared so much more about his life. I had no idea he loved to ride motorcycles and had taken many cross country trips, he kept a collection of his trips made with license plates he had visited and of course stories with all his photos. It was hard to believe that this really quiet private man was that outgoing and adventurous, we all had a great time with him and Deb sitting around the campground, it was a side of him we never knew about. We kept in touch better after that reunion, he was hoping we'd have another one, said it didn't matter where that he and Deb would be there. Unfortunately we never had another one, 3 years passed by in the meantime when my wife Dee and I would have the pleasure of getting to visit him and Deb in Topeka on our way back up to South Dakota I am so glad we got to see and visit with him and Deb last April and have him give us a tour of the Kansas State Capital.
He was an awesome man and Uncle, he is and always will be missed. Our prayers go out to Deb and family and I know the Uncle Duane is at peace from this dreadful disease. God Bless rest in peace Uncle Duane.
~ Terry Bennett - November 2, 2018
~ Judy Burghart
Duane was always one of the really good persons around the Capital. He was quick to provide legislators the help and information we needed. He was a good, truthful and pleasant conferee in front of committees. His family can be very justifiably proud of Duane and his career.
Former President Kansas Senate
~ Dave Kerr - October 31, 2018
I did not get to see Uncle Duane very much. He lived in the Mid-West and I grew up mostly in Southern California. On occasion when my dad Robert Johnson (Bob), Uncle Duane's brother, would take my mom and me on vacation to Kansas, I would get to see him and a couple of times he visited us in California. My middle name is Duane because my parents named me after him; my dad truly respected and admired Uncle Duane. From our few times together, I remember Uncle Duane as a very sweet and low key person. And my goodness was he smart, crazy smart! And as all of us can attest to, Alzheimer's disease is an unforgiving disease. My mom Mildred suffered from it though luckily I was able to get her into a test program specifically designed for Alzheimer's. The drugs she was given slowed the progression of the disease and I have to say that most of the time, she knew who I was. Unfortunately, several years ago, the disease took her life. As with my mom, it is comforting to know that Uncle Duane is no longer suffering. I wish his wife Debra the best and though I have never met her, my cousin Terry said that she is a great lady and loved Uncle Duane so much. I send my best wishes to all of his living survivors and to his pet companions too. I send you all my warmest and best wishes! Be well, have a strong belief in God and keep the faith. Eric Johnson
~ Eric Johnson - October 31, 2018
Sending much love and peace to you all. Deb, your Valeo family will be here in any capacity you need.
~ Laura Sidlinger - October 31, 2018
Was sorry to hear about Duane's death. Not only are we the same age but we are charter members of the KLPCA (10 charter members). He was a friend and fellow tag collector who was a joy to visit with. May you and the family feel the Peace of Jesus during this time.
~ Harris Terry - October 31, 2018
In 1992 I moved from West Virginia to Kansas to become Library Director of the Pittsburg Public Library. I naturally had many adjustments to make and much to learn. In addition, PPL was beginning a building project with strong City and community opinions on the direction the project should take. Duane Johnson helped me tremendously over the entire course of the project with sage advice, political savvy, and professional support. He welcomed me to Kansas and never made me feel like an outsider. He was willing to do whatever was necessary to see that the project was a success, including travelling down to Pittsburg on several occasions to meet with the trustees and the city leaders. His professional guidance and direction were indispensable. He was always kind, generous with his time and support, and willing to help in any way needed. Several years later I returned to West Virginia to become the Library Director of my hometown public library, but I've never forgotten Duane's advice and his insight into public libraries. One of his phrases has always stuck with me as I've worked with public library funding here. He said, "Show me the money!" So true and necessary when it comes to effective public libraries! I extend my sincere sympathy to Duane's family and will keep them in my thoughts and prayers.
~ Dottie Thomas - October 31, 2018
Condolences and best wishes to family and friends of Duane Johnson, my former boss at the Kansas State Library.
~ Michael Piper - October 31, 2018
I was very saddened to hear about my Uncle Duane's passing. I can still hear him from when I was a little girl, always calling me Brenda Vaccaro because he thought I favored her so much. I am very blessed that I was able to spend time with he and Debra a few years ago when we had a small family gathering of Bennett's, Johnson's, and Swanson's in South Dakota. I have so many wonderful childhood memories that also include Marcia and Aunt Ann at the Swanson home in Salina and the many gatherings in Brookville at the Halsey home and Brookville Hotel. I know Uncle Duane is up there in heaven having a grand time at sharing all the news and happenings with his daughter, siblings, and parents. Always loved and never forgotten, rest in peace Uncle Duane.
Sheila, Kregg, and Kraigen Partee
Mountain Home, AR
~ Sheila Bennett-Partee - October 31, 2018
Thinking of you. Duane was a mentor in the library field. I am so thankful for your friendship. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. <3
~ Amber Bonnett - October 31, 2018
~ Ken Wells
So admire you and your family.
And wishing you many blessings.
Lila & John Bartel
~ Lila Bartel - October 30, 2018
I met Duane first many years ago when I worked for the Dept of Revenue and Duane was State Librarian. He gave me a tour of the State House Library. I met Duane a second time when I worked for Dept of Administration as Security Coordinator for the Capital Complex. I presented a "class" to the library employees on how to use their new security key cards for building entry about 2001. And finally, I worked with Duane on the Board of Trustees. I enjoyed all of my encounters with Duane. A very dear person. I am saddened by this news. It is a lose to the library community.
~ Liz Post - October 30, 2018
Mr. Johnson was an incredible boss. With his quick smile, he was always kind and generous. It was my honor to work with him at the Hutchinson Public Library up until the time he was appointed the State Librarian of Kansas. He will be missed.
~ Nancy Johnson - October 30, 2018
Dear Deb and Family,
Praying that the love of family and friends sustains you in this time of loss. I'm keeping you in my heart and prayers.
~ Marsha Bacote-Alleyne - October 30, 2018
Deb: I am so sad to read about Duane. I enjoyed working with him on committees and always held him in the highest esteem.
~ Melanie Kitchner - October 30, 2018
Deb and family
So very sorry to learn of your loss. Wishing you peace and lots of loving memories.
~ Deb Agnew - October 30, 2018
We have had the pleasure of knowing and volunteering with Duane & Deb for many events at the Jayhawk Theatre, what a wonderful couple. Duane was always looking for ways to participate and assist. Deb is a dear friend whom we value greatly. RIP Duane and God Bless you, you will be missed by many.
Bobbi & Clark Trammell
~ Bobbi and Clark Trammell - October 30, 2018
Hi Deb, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I’m holding you and your family up in love and light, and thinking of you during this transition. Prayers being sent. I look forward to seeing you in 2019. Much LOVE, susan
~ Susan Picking - October 30, 2018
I met Duane through our shared hobby of license plate collecting many years ago. I was honored to call him a friend over those many years and I've always considered Duane to be the most honorable person I've ever known. My simple words can't express the sadness I felt at hearing of his passing, and my condolences go out to all of Duane's friends and family.
~ Tom Allen - October 30, 2018
Duane was a dynamic leader for Kansas libraries for so many years and through his dedication he truly impacted many lives across the state who benefitted from improved libraries. Duane worked at the Salina Public Library when he was in college and would often return to visit and encourage us. Duane is legendary in the Kansas library world and will be remembered as someone who really cared and made a difference. Loved his smile.
~ Joe McKenzie - October 30, 2018
Duane was really great - when I worked at the Northeast Kansas Library System I had several encounters with him at meetings and programs. He was very down-to-earth and easy to talk to. He always made me feel welcome and like I was an important part of the library profession. He'll be missed - my condolences to his family.
~ Mark Messenger - October 30, 2018
I met Duane through our shared work with the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. From there I noticed him among several shared experiences be that Last Minute Folk events or more commonly volunteer work through Harvesters. I will miss seeing you. My condolences to you, Debra.
~ LeAnn Brungardt - October 30, 2018
Librarians all over Kansas will mourn Duane Johnson’s passing. He served on the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s Board of Trustees for eight years, sharing his experience and wisdom as the retired state librarian of Kansas. He was my board chair for two years and I so appreciated having his support and counsel. He was a true gentleman and a great library leader.
~ Gina Millsap - October 29, 2018
Duane was a huge part of my boys childhood. He stepped into my life in a big way and was considered a surrogate grandfather for them. He will be missed.
~ Jean Ryan - October 29, 2018
Duane was my boss from 1995-1997, at the State Library. One of the best bosses I had! When I worked later at TSCPL, I enjoyed seeing Duane in his capacity as board member. He will truly be missed by the library community.
~ Patti Poe - October 29, 2018
When I think of Duane I always smile! He was a gentle spirit with the strength of a giant! I will always be grateful for his friendship and appreciated all the mentoring. He championed Kansas librarians and libraries with vision and dedication. He was a leader!
I send condolences to his family and many friends ??
~ Vikki Jo Stewart - October 29, 2018
It was an honor to work with Duane for many years at the State Library of Kansas. He was always kind and generous. He was also a member of my church, Countryside United Methodist Church, here it Topeka, for a while. They shall also be informed of his passing. He will not be forgotten, but sorely missed, until we meet again in Heaven. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family at this time. You shall all be in my prayers.
~ Victoria Wolf - October 29, 2018
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