Obituary: Duane Kopfer


Duane Lee “Duey” Kopfer, 80, Davenport, passed away peacefully Thursday, March 2, 2023, at Clarissa Cook Hospice House, Bettendorf.

He was born on Oct. 16, 1942, in Trenton, Mo., the son of Leo and Alta (Cox) Kopfer.

Duane was baptized at the Antioch Baptist Church in rural Princeton, Mo.

He attended school at a one-room country school through 7th grade, then went to Princeton, graduating in 1961.  After graduating, he went to Bailey Tech School in St. Louis for auto mechanics, then worked for CASE IH in Kansas City, Mo.

On June 17, 1962, he married Betty Jean Washburn in Princeton, Mo.  He joined the Army in 1962 and served in Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., Korea and Ft. Polk, La., with an honorable discharge in 1965.

To this union, one daughter, Brenda, was born.  In 1965, they moved to Davenport, where Duane worked at ALCOA a short time, then worked 32 years with petroleum terminals: Standard Oil, Mobil Oil and Phillips Pipeline (Conoco/Phillips) in Bettendorf.  He retired in 2000 at the age of 57.

Duey, as he was also known, enjoyed talking to people, never knew a stranger and they never forgot him.

He liked going to auctions, farm shows and tractor shows, telling about his 1949 Farmall and his farm “down home” in Missouri.

Duey was a true Kansas City Chiefs fan.  He enjoyed watching NASCAR, westerns and Mollie B. polka show on RFD.

He and Betty spent several years dancing at Polka Fests in various states, Gibbon, Minn., (a favorite) and Durant, Iowa.

Their daughter, Brenda, started dancing at age 10 and has started her own polka band, “Muzik Krauts.”

He was preceded in death by his parents and father and mother-in-law, Glen and Evelyn Washburn.

Duane leaves his wife of 60 years, Betty Jean of the home, his daughter, Brenda Speth, Davenport; grandson, Jason (Kimberly) Speth; and great-grandson, Lucas William Speth all of Bluffton, S.C.; a sister-in-law, Frances Dillon; and brothers-in-law, Jerry Washburn and Mark (Kim) Washburn.

The family extends their appreciation and gratitude to the staff at Clarissa Cook Hospice, Bettendorf, for the excellent care and support.

Funeral Services were held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 6, at Roberson Funeral Home, Princeton, Mo. Burial with Military Rites followed in Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, Mo. The family received friends from 10-11 a.m. Monday at the funeral home.

A Celebration of Life was held from 1–4 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Davenport American Legion Post 26, 702 West 35th St., Davenport, IA  52806.

Memorials may be made to the Clarissa Cook Hospice House and/or Mercer County Senior Center and/or to a charity of choice in Duane’s name in care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 316, Princeton, MO 64673. Online condolences may be left at


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