Duane Joseph Heeney was reunited in Heaven with the love of his life, Diane (Gebers) Heeney on Friday, July 8, 2011. He passed away surrounded in the loving light of his children and grandchildren.
Our father lived with dignity and honor and touched the lives of all who knew him. The world was a better place and many were better people for having known him.
He was a beautiful, big-hearted man who loved his family both personal and professional and always "had your back." He was a provider and a protector all the days of his life. Duane fought a good fight through many recent adversitites including the loss of our mother to cancer, a debilitating tractor accident shortly after his retirement, a cancer diagnosis of his youngest daughter, and most recently, complications of open heart surgery. He was tired and he wanted to go home.
Born in rural Nebraska in 1947, raised in Holstein, where his father was a long time farm implement dealer, he met and married his high school sweetheart. To this union was born Dawn Rae in 1970. In 1977, the couple was blessed to adopt their daughter Dena Mae on their tenth wedding anniversary, making the circle of love complete.
Duane was a 1965 graduate of Holstein High School and a 1969 graduate of Fort Polk, La. Drill Instructor Academy. He was also a 1970 graduate of Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. Duane held certification in Firearms Instructor, Hunter Safety Instruction, First Aid Emergency Care, Civil Process Service, Death Investigation, Intoxilizer, Radar, Civil Disaster, Forensics Pathology, Fingerprinting, Photography, Narcotics, Sexual Abuse and Iowa Law, Street Survival, Jail Management, Forgery, Fiscal Management and South Dakota Law.
Duane was a Vietnam era veteran; he spent six years in Iowa National Guard with two years active duty in regular Army, attaining rank of Staff Sergeant E-6 in those two years. He trained troops in explosives, weapons, self defense, physical education, and general subjects for Vietnam.
Duane spent 43 years of his life as a law enforcement officer. He served seven months with Ida Grove Police Department; four years with Storm Lake Police Department; 15 years with the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department, serving four years as Sheriff; and served on Yankton, S.D. Police Department for 20 years, 14 years of which he was Yankton Police Chief.
He received many awards including Outstanding Drill Sergeant of the year, Platoon Soldier of the Month, McCartny Award, Iowa Academy, Outstanding Youth Officer of the Year, and Officer of the Year.
Duane also guarded George W. Bush when he was speaking at Buena Vista University, as well as Hilary Clinton during her visit to Yankton.
Duane will be missed dearly by his daughters, Dena Heeney, Dawn and Lonnie Kabella; grandchildren Alexa and Levi Davis, Dominic and Antani Kabella and his family and friends. He is happy to be dancing once again with his beloved wife Diane.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Diane Heeney; his parents, Eugene and Ella Heeney; and in-laws, Donald and Della Gebers.
Memorial services were held on July 13, at the Yankton High School Theater. The Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home and Crematory were in charge of the arrangements.