Murile "Duke" LeDoux

Murile Eugene “Duke” LeDoux, of Fargo, ND, age 89, passed away peacefully on November 20th, 2019, in the care of Bethany On 42nd and Hospice. Murile was born in Casselton , ND, on March 25th, 1930, to Ellen Christine Anderson and Maynard LeDoux. Sadly, his mother passed away 6 days later due to complications from childbirth. It was soon decided that Murile would be adopted and raised by his paternal grandparents, Eugene and Victoria Mae LeDoux, who had recently moved to the Tower City area to farm. Throughout his life, Murile, later on to be to be nick-named “Duke”, knew them only as Dad and Mom. The family remained in the area until the mid-1930’s, when the Depression forced them to pack up their belongings and a few cattle and move to Swanville, MN. Duke graduated from high school there in 1947 and then attended Brainerd, MN Junior College before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1948. He served four years in the army with the post-World War II U.S. occupation forces, mostly in Germany, He truly enjoyed all aspects of the military, the structure, discipline, teamwork and camaraderie, eventually achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. One of the highlights of his time in Europe was competing in the All-Armed Forces European track meet in 1951, where he earned medals in the 440 yard dash (1st) Mile Relay (2nd) and Discus (2nd). Duke considered a career in the military but was drawn back home to Minnesota in 1952, finding work hauling coal for a lumberyard for 85 cents an hour. Not long after that, while stopping in Fargo as he was taking his parents to Canada to visit relatives, he saw an ad in the paper that Fargo was hiring firefighters. He said,“Being pretty good at math, I realized that the $234 per month starting firefighter’s pay was $9 more than the manager’s pay at the lumberyard”. He also figured the structure of the Fire Department was military-like, which appealed to him. So, he applied for and got the job with the Fargo Fire Department, remaining there for a record 47 years, his last five as Chief. He often said his was a noble profession, as most would agree, and he said he enjoyed every work day in those 47 years. It wasn’t too long after he started working for the fire department that he married the love of his life, Bernice Catherine Vosen, of Pierz, MN. They would raise their family of 6 children in Fargo and remain happily married for nearly 60 years until Bernice’s passing in 2012. As parents, they were undeniably a great team, each bringing different skills and strengths to perform that important “job”. When Duke wasn’t working as a firefighter he was, well, usually working. He held three jobs until he made Captain at the Fire Department. After that his spare time mostly consisted of more work—home repairs, including electrical, carpentry (plumbing only if he had to) and general maintenance, whether at his Fargo homes or lake home on Lake Seven, near Vergas, MN, or the homes of other family and friends. His family would call these activities “Duke Aerobics”. He enjoyed all of this, but still managed to coach baseball in the summer and make most of his kid’s other sporting events and other extracurriculars as well, and later on those of his grandkids. He would also teach his boys to hunt birds and deer ethically and safely, though they admit he was the best shot. As a husband, father and grandfather, his family agrees that they hit the jackpot, as it were. He was honest and fair and did not suffer those who weren’t, but he was also loving towards, devoted to, and and concerned for his family’s well-being and happiness right up to his final days. He would give great advice to those who asked for it, but he was just as good at letting them figure it out on their own, if he felt that was the better way for them to learn. The only people he truly disliked were bullies, some of whom had the displeasure of realizing that. He kept his wonderful sense of humor until those last days also, and, if he teased you, you knew it was because he liked you, and it was never mean or divisive. In the last years of his life, Duke encountered multiple medical problems that would have taken, or at the very least depressed, someone without his love of and desire for life, but, as he often said, they were better than the “alternative”. Yet, in the early hours of November 20th, 2019, that “alternative” came and we, his family, can’t help but believe that, realizing there was a better place waiting for him, he had changed his mind. Duke is survived by his daughter Jeanne Lavelle, his sons and their spouses, Mike (Mikki) LeDoux, Bill (Kathy) LeDoux, Jim (Val) LeDoux, Dan (Chrissie) LeDoux, Jeff (Becky) LeDoux , his other “son” Steve (Jane ) Conlin, his 17 grandchildren, 5 grandsons-in-law (soon to be 2 more) 9 great-grandchildren (soon to be 1 more) his sisters-in-law Jeanne Luff, Margaret Vosen and families, special friend Lillian Foss, family friends Muff (Linda) Brandt and Frosty, and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bernice, her parents, his parents and grandparents, his sisters Barbara Swenson and Eva LeDoux, son-in-law Jamie (Jeanne) Lavelle, brothers-in-law Harvey, Juni, Frank and Bobby Vosen, Terry Luff, and sisters-in-law Addie (Harvey) and Lorraine (Bobby) Vosen, The LeDoux family would like to Thank the many caring people at Touchmark at Harwood Groves, Duke’s residence for the last 5 years, as well as the staff at Bethany On 42nd and Hospice, who cared for him during his final few weeks. We also give special Thanks for the friendship and spiritual guidance provided in the many visits to Dad by all the Pastors and Stephen Minister Paul Lubbers from Hope Lutheran Church, Fargo. PS—If anybody knows the whereabouts of Herman Schwartz and Gloria Snodgrass, please tell them to save Duke a seat at “the tavern”.

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  1. Had the privilege of known this man for over 35 years. With a Heart of Gold and always looking out for others, I learned a lot from him. Rest In Peace My Friend! Your brothers and sisters now have the watch!

  2. So sorry to hear of the passing of Duke. He was such a sweet man. It seems as though the old ‘neighborhood people’ are all up in heaven while we are here with our great memories. Hugs to you all!

  3. So very sorry for your loss. Uncle Duke was one of the most amazing men I have ever known and will forever be “My Favorite Uncle”! He is now safely in the Lords hands and back beside his beautiful bride, Aunt Bernice. Oh how he enjoyed talking about her, as well as all of his kids and grandkids. He was proud of each and everyone of you!!! My heart is sad as I will miss our visits. Sending you all much love and keeping you in my prayers,

  4. Uncle Duke, you will be missed. I have many fond memories of time up at Lake 7 and family trips up to Fargo. You were a wonderful Uncle. You will be missed.

  5. The Ouellette family sends our deepest sympathy to the LeDoux family on the loss of Duke. We are glad he and your Mom brought you up in the best neighborhood in Fargo. Hold all those wonderful memories close to your heart. He truly was a great man who raised an amazing family. Hugs and prayers.

  6. I would like to extend my condolences, I used to have the honor of assisting him @ the bank when he would come in. He was always smiling and would joke around. RIP Murile!

  7. To the loving family of Duke: There is a group of guys that learned a lot of important things about life from this man. He was there to show us the way ,but he also let us find it by ourselves . We were kind of a family that wasn’t a family. We were the Boy Scouts troop and Explorer post 208 at St Mary’s . He taught us how to help others when they needed help, he taught us first aid which helped some of us in later life when we found our jobs. But the biggest thing was to care. May God keep you in his hands and bless you. Rest in Peace you earned it. Leonard (Lenny) and Keith Myers

  8. I was able and fortunate enough to talk to Murile on the phone several times and discussed our families past. He was great to talk to and was very straight forward and a nice guy. We discussed our ancestry and our relationship thru the LeDoux family tree on I wish I had found him sooner in my search of our LeDoux family relatives.

    God bless you and R.I.P. Duke

    Ron & Candy LeDoux

  9. Duke was without doubt the sweetest man! My favorite “Duke-ism” was giving grace before a meal! He always added to the prayer “What little of it there is” even though the table was overflowing!

  10. Sorry to hear about the loss of such a wonderful public servant and blessed family man. Our hearts go out to your entire family. Cherish all those awesome memories.

  11. To all the LeDouxs, reading about your Dad’s life brought even greater appreciation for the help and care both your parents extended to me and the rest of the wrestling cheerleaders in high school. They gave us rides to may of the meets and took care of us at those all day tournaments. They left a great legacy in their children and the love you have for each other and your families. Prayers for all of you.

  12. The Olsons send their thoughts and prayers to all of the LeDoux families. Hopefully there is an old neighborhood party up in heaven.

  13. Anne and I watched the video keepsake and loved seeing all the wonderful reflections of a great man. It is no surprise to me that most show a smiling “Duke” surrounded by a loving wife, children and grandchildren. I remember being a bit scared of Duke. I was in high school and he was big and, well, BIG! Now, I realize he was a gentle giant with a heart of gold. My memory of Duke is a measure of the man as reflected in the character of his children. He lives now in the goodness and thoughtfulness of his offspring. I am better for knowing him and his family.

  14. Rest in peace Duke! I am so happy to have met you and enjoyed or many conversations and laughs.
    My condolences,

    Karissa Pearson

  15. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man! Uncle Duke always had a smile for everyone and he will be missed by so many people, most especially by his family. Rest in peace.

  16. To all of Duke’s family I want to extend my story to hear his passing he left an impression that is everlasting. He always had a presence that was authoritative yet he was always kind. Prayers and hugs to you all. Colleen (Dwyer) Tuff

  17. What an amazing Person! We are grateful to have had the privilege of knowing him. He will live on in our memories forever. Your Family is in our thoughts and prayers. With our deepest condolences from Germany, Grandma Hannelore
    Family Reiner and Silke with Anja and Tobias; Oliver and Natalie
    Family Gunther and Annemarie with Kathleen and Victor; Melissa
    Family Achim and Milena with Helena; Norman
    Family Dirk and Anette with Sarah
    Family Steffen and Silke with Marie

  18. What an amazing person! We are grateful to have had the privilege of knowing him. He will live in our memories forever. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. With our deepest condolences from Germany, the whole familiy Schaich:
    Grandma Hannelore and sons with families:
    Reiner and Silke with Anja and Tobias; Oliver and Natalie
    Gunther and Annemarie with Kathleen and Victor; Melissa
    Achim and Milena with Helena; Norman
    Dirk and Anette with Sarah
    Steffen and Silke with Marie

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