Lowell F. Duffner died of natural causes on June 11, 2014. He was born at home in New Baden, Ill., on Oct. 4, 1922, to Allen A. and Lucy Billhartz Duffner. He attended St. George’s grade school until December of 1932, when the family moved to Denver, Colo. In January of 1933, they moved to the neighborhood where he met his wife to-be Elizabeth "Tiz" Dunst.
Lowell graduated from Denver South High School. He attended the University of Denver until December 1942, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served in the North Atlantic on convoy duty, then in the South Atlantic. While on leave, he and Tiz were married at Scott Air Force Base on April 17, 1945. Returning to duty, he was sent to the Philippines where he served until his discharge in November of 1945. He then completed his BS degree in accounting at the University of Denver.
Lowell and Tiz moved to Billings in December 1946, and he began his accounting career. He passed the CPA exam in November of 1948 and was issued Montana CPA Certificate No. 147. He relished being a CPA and was awarded lifetime memberships in the Montana Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs in 1988. He continued practicing accounting and taking care of his "little old widows" whose husbands had provided his livelihood during his career. He received the ultimate honor of his professional career when he was awarded the 2011 George D. Anderson Distinguished Service Award by the Montana Society of CPAs. He was also especially proud of the fact that he and his daughter Jan worked together from 1966 to 2010.
Some of the happiest times of Lowell's life were spent riding his horse, Bonfire, and tending his cattle with his best friend, Lester E. Early Sr. at the O-6 Ranch on the Powder River. Jan, Diane and Stan spent many, many happy days at the ranch, and they have wonderful memories of their dad playing cowboy and sharing so many happy times with them. He also taught them to fish. Lowell took great pride in his family and provided them with much love, an education and travel. He often said that he received so much more from giving than from receiving.
In March of 1958, Lowell became a Director of Continental Laboratories. He served with one of his role models, Sanford W. Stearns, a truly Christian man, until the company was merged into EG&G Inc. on March 1, 1982. The pressure was off and he and Tiz could really enjoy life. They started traveling with their wonderful friends and golfed in the Hawaiian Islands and several other states, Canada, the Bahamas, and even the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Lowell was a good steward of God’s gifts, and he took his stewardship (he called them loans) very seriously. Inspired by the example of Ralph Nelles to build an activity center at Central Catholic High School, the family established the Duffner Family Scholarship Fund to help ensure the ongoing success of the Billings Catholic Schools in perpetuity. In gratitude for their philanthropic legacy, the BCS Foundation has established the “Duffner Family Society” for donors whose motivations emulate the family’s example.
Lowell was preceded in death by his wife, Tiz; brothers Allen and Stan and his wife, Betty; and son-in-law, Ron Kirk. He is survived by daughters, Jan Kirk, Diane and husband Mike Boyett; and son, Stan, and wife Becky.
Lowell worked hard, saved his money, invested wisely, lived modestly, had his family’s support, and had the good Lord on his side.
Funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Pius X Church with Rite of Committal in Calvary Cemetery. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary has charge of arrangements. Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com.
If desired, a memorial may be made to Billings Catholic Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 31158, Billings, MT 59107, or to a charity of your choice.
“Mourn not for me, as I am now with my Tiz.”