“Journeys with a Gratiot Cemetarian” 4.3: Duane C. Dancer, World War II Veteran, Emerson Township Cemetery


      Duane Carl Dancer was born July 13, 1919 to LeRoy and Clementine Dancer in Breckenridge, Michigan. Duane grew up in a large family near Wheeler with eleven other siblings.  On Christmas Eve, 1941, Duane was one of 35 men who left Alma by bus for induction into the Army at Fort Custer. Before each man got onto the bus, members of the Gideons gave them a copy of the New Testament.  By the time the United States invaded North Africa Duane was in the Coast Artillery. He then was transferred to the Italian war theatre. By October 1943, word came to Duane’s wife, Virginia, that he had been wounded somewhere in Italy. He went on to serve honorably in the 5th Army and was discharged in 1945.

     After the war, he owned his own milk hauling business and operated the family farm in Arcada Township. He also worked for over 25 years for the Cooper Chevrolet dealership in Ithaca and retired from there in 1989. Duane served many years as a trustee for the Beebe United Methodist Church and he was also a member of the American Legion Post #256 in St. Louis. He and his wife had two children. Duane passed away on September 1, 2007 and is buried in Emerson Township Cemetery.  Duane C. Dancer is one of many Gratiot County men and women who served their county, state and country during a time of war.

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