Doug “Duk or Punkin” Van Steenwyk, Dad/Grandpa/Great-Grandpa, brother, traveler, Mr. Fixit, adventurer, and friend, died on Tuesday, December 20th, 2023, at 75 years old.
Duk began his life of adventures in Minnesota where he learned to love boating and fishing, growing up right on a lake, and spending a lot of time in the garage. There are many fun stories and some of these incidents included his friend, Tommy.
Duk joined the Army and served in Vietnam for several years in the late 1960’s where he was honored with several medals: National Defense Service-Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Soldiers Medal for notable heroism where he risked his life evacuating wounded soldiers from a violent crash, carrying one 200 meters to where a helicopter could land, and evacuate them. He was part of the 1st Aviation Brigade on duty with the 235th Armed Helicopter Company known as the Delta Devils. Although he didn’t always speak about this time that often, he supported his fellow Veterans and shared stories with many of his Veteran friends.
Duk ventured to South Dakota in the 80’s and began working at Pete Liens in Rapid City. It was during this time he met his soon to be wife, Peggy Bruch, moved to Sturgis, and raised his family. For some time, he worked at Golden Reward Mining Company in Lead, SD, and then became self-employed as a welder at A+ Service. He worked with many people in the Sturgis community welding or fabricating and he enjoyed this work greatly.
Some of his hobbies included toys, guns, fishing, playing guitar, and fixing things, or helping others, even though it may not have been solicited. He enjoyed his time hunting or shooting with his friends and prioritized this over almost anything. He had a love for model airplanes and passed that on to his grandsons with a windsock on the flagpole in their yard and a mowed mini runway this past summer.
One of the most adventurous times in Duk’s life was the time that he spent with his friend Diane. They went biking, hiking, boating, fishing, and made many friends at her place in Benson, Arizona.
The last big adventure was an almost month-long fishing trip in Alaska with his friend, Tom this past summer. He came home with great fish stories, and he had planned to return year after year because it was so much fun. Duk talked fondly of those that he met there, and this was a highlight for him.
The greatest thing that may have happened in 2023, was becoming a great-grandfather that is. Duk got to meet a great-grandson and was so excited about this.
Survivors include his three brothers: Danny, Dale, and David; son-in law: John Fire; granddaughter: Clarice Fire; great-grandson: Cylas; son: Jesse (Marlee) Van Steenwyk; daughter: Abbey (Jeremy) Coyle; grandsons: Marek, Max, and Micah; and so many friends.
Duk was preceded in death by his parents, Duane and Alice, special friend, Diane Will, and his daughter and son, Alexis Van Steenwyk, and Kelly (Manny) Van Steenwyk.
In his honor, may all those reading this take a moment to remember that life can change in a moment and to make every moment count.
Death is but a passing through a door, to say hello to those that have gone before.
Visitation will be 5-7 pm on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis.
Funeral services will be 10:00 am on Thursday, December 28, 2023, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel with an interment to follow with military honors at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.