Obituary Details

Duane Everett Canfield

(11/29/1945 - 02/12/1981)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 02/19/1981

Explosion Kills Niobrara Native

Duane Canfield, a Niobrara native, was killed instantly in an explosion and fire at the Big Muddy Oil Processors refinery five miles west of Glenrock last Thursday afternoon.

Canfield, a mechanic at the refinery, and John DeSanti of Glenrock were on top of a crude oil storage tank attempting to find the cause of a leak in hot water coils running through the tank when the explosion occurred. State job-safety investigators attribute the explosion to a lamp that was lowered into the underground tank. Donald D. Owsley, director of the State Occupational Health and Safety Administration, said OSHA has not determined whether the lamp broke or the 110-volt connection caused the explosion. If OSHA finds that the refinery violated any safety rules or regulations, the company will be notified and given 15 days to contest the notice of violation, Owsley explained.

DeSanti, 19, is listed in critical condition at the University of Colorado Health Science Center's burn unit in Denver and Greg Marchant, 18, a member of the refinery firefighting team died at the Center Saturday as a result of injuries he suffered in the fire Thursday. Marchant was standing on the intact section of the underground storage tank's concrete roof when it collapsed and he fell into the fire.

Canfield and his wife, the former Linda Lewis of Van Tassell and their three sons had lived in Glenrock since 1979.

Funeral services for Canfield were held here at Peet Mortuary Monday, Feb. 16, with the Rev. Frank Blish officiating.

Duane Everett Canfield was born November 29, 1945, at Lusk, the son of Charles and Elaine Canfield. He was a 1966 graduate of Niobrara County High School and on February 20, 1972, married Linda Lewis in Lusk.

He worked as a mechanic in various towns in the state before moving to Torrington in 1974 and then to Glenrock in 1979.

Besides his wife Linda, Canfield is survived by three sons Jeffrey Duane, Rory Sheldon and Christopher Charles, all of Glenrock; his parents of Lusk, two brothers LeRoy of Ridgecrest, Calif., and Kenneth of Van Tassell, one sister Dorothy Vollmer of Torrington and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

His grandparents and one sister, Charlotte Baars preceded him in death.

Minerva Watson was organist and Joy Kaltenheuser sang "Reach Out to Jesus" and "Safe in the Arms of Jesus". Active pallbearers were Patrick Vollmer, Charles Vollmer, Marvin Francis, LeRoy Canfield, Melvin Lewis, Raymond Murphy, Dick Weymouth and Pete Cole. Honorary bearers were all his friends.

Interment was in Lusk Cemetery. Memorials may be made to a scholarship fund for his children.

Images & Attachments

Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

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