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Welcome to the memorial page for

Donald G. "Sonny" Durey

December 24, 2017

Donald G. "Sonny" Durey, 81, of Dubuque, IA passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 24, 2017 at home surrounded by his family. Although named Donald at birth, all of his family and friends knew him as "Sonny." 

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, December 29, 2017 at Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Road with Rev. Dianne Christopher officiating, with military honors by American Legion Post #6. Burial will be in Dubuque Memorial Gardens. A visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at Leonard Funeral Home and Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Rd. Dubuque. 

The most important treasures in Sonny's life were all of his family. He cherished his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Whether the kids called him grandpa, papa or pappy, he couldn't have loved or been more proud of them as each new member joined the family. He always had a story to share with anyone who would listen! 

Sonny's love of family extended beyond those in his immediately family. Throughout the years, Sonny and his wife, Ruth, welcomed many foster children into their home. Regardless of the time each child spent with the family, Sonny and Ruth considered them to be members of the family and made certain that everyone else did too. Sonny and Ruth's definition of family was not defined by a bloodline, but rather by a "heartline." 

Sonny spent many years as a mechanic and loved to work with his hands. He was working at the Gulf Station when he met his wife, Ruth. Throughout the years, he continued as a mechanic, working at Mutual Wheel and finally at Flexsteel for many years prior to his retirement. 

Just as Sonny served his family with pride, he also proudly served his country in the army. He served both in the United States and Germany. In May of 2014, Sonny was able to travel to Washington DC as a member of an Honor Flight This experience touched him deeply and remained a treasured memory for him. 

While raising his family, and as his children raised theirs, Sonny was sure to share his love of camping and fishing with them. Many days were spent holding a pole around some waterhole during the day and laughing around campfires by night. When the days were too cold to be outdoors, he had a bowling ball in his hands. He taught his children and grandchildren to bowl; and throughout the years, many of them played with him on family leagues. He remembered the high score of everyone and was thrilled with each time they "broke their record." 

At each family gathering, Sonny could be found at a card table in a feisty game of Euchre. He was happy to teach anyone willing to learn, explaining all of the nuances of the game. However, when the "real card games" began, he was a fierce competitor! 

Sonny loved taking his family on vacations, attending country music concerts, and sharing rodeos with his son, Ed. 

During his short illness in the end, Sonny continued to show his fighting spirit. He was a strong-willed and proud man. He fought hard until he could, with the help of Hospice, be transferred home from the hospital. Once at home, with family surrounding him, country music filling the room, and kids and dogs crawling on his bed, he was finally able to stop fighting, and he calmed and soaked in the love that surrounded him. Only when he was certain that the family was all together and could support each other, did he take his last breath. He celebrated his family in death just as he had throughout his entire life. 

He is survived by his wife Ruth; daughters, Chris McCarron, Cathy Ruden, Candy Frommelt, and his son Ed Durey, all of Dubuque. His siblings, Donna Gayle Ware, of Bixby, OK, Phyllis Herbstreith, of Dubuque, Richard (Ann) Durey, of Moline, IL, and Lorraine Heskett, of Nampa, ID; sister-in-law Barbara Durey, of Dubuque; and his special pups Huckleberry and Mindy. 
He was preceded in death by his parents Burdette and Leona Durey; grandparents William and Maude Phillip; sister, Marlyn Langevin; brother Robert Durey; brothers-in-law Leon Herbstreith and Leo Ware; son-in-law George Frommelt; mother and father-in-law Edward and Pearl Gerstkamp.

 Service Information

December 28, 2017

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory
2595 Rockdale Road
Dubuque, IA 52003

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