Duane Vere Smallidge, age 85 years, formerly of Niles, Michigan, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, honorable veteran and avid reader died peacefully Thursday morning, May 27, 2021 at his home near Schoolcraft, Michigan following a brief illness.
He was born on August 3, 1935, also at home, but in Eau Claire, Michigan to Vere and Agnes (Richardson) Smallidge. He was graduated from Cobleskill High School in New York and attended Western Colorado University at Gunnison on a football scholarship. He served in the United States Army, stationed in Baltimore, Maryland during peacetime, and continued his service in the Army Reserve.
Duane returned to Niles and was employed at the former Niles plant of Tyler Refrigeration. He continued his career at White Farm Equipment in South Bend, Indiana and later retired from Eliason Corporation in Portage, Michigan
In Niles, Duane attended Sumnerville Bible Baptist Church. As a young father he volunteered as a Webelos leader and as a coach for little league baseball in Howard Township. He later played softball for many years on the White Farm Equipment team. Duane was also a skilled craftsman. He spent two years of evenings and weekends with family and friends building his family’s home near Schoolcraft, which was completed in 1992. He also had an impressive, well kept library of over 600 books that he read and enjoyed sharing and trading with family and friends.
All of these interests were secondary to his care for his family. On December 31, 1958 at the First Baptist Church in Niles he married the love of his life, Joyce E. Tropp, with whom he celebrated sixty two wonderful years of marriage.
Surviving family includes his wife Joyce Smallidge and their children Deborah Simpson of Niles, Geoffrey (& Kristen) Smallidge of Three Rivers, Michigan and Karen (& Sid) Vance of Hamilton, Ohio; grandchildren Larry Simpson, Lauren Smallidge, Nicholas (& fiancée Ashlee Johnson), Brittany Parker (& fiancé Damon Taylor), Emily Vance and Sarah (& Joshua) Crowthers; great-grandchildren Brayden, Colton, Noah, Lola, Graham, Nolan and Emmett; several nieces and nephews; and a great circle of wonderful friends including Jerry and Sherry Johnston of Dowagiac.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Terry Smallidge and his son-in-law Craig Simpson.
The family of Duane Smallidge will gather privately to share memories and to celebrate his life. Committal will be private at a later date at Mission Hills. His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the hospice staff. Contributions may be made in memory of Duane to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, 222 North Kalamazoo Mall Suite 100, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007.
Arrangements were made at the Hallbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at www.halbritterwickens.com .