Yesterday at around 5:30 pm EST my father-in-law, Duane Vernon Juve, passed away peacefully surrounded by his siblings, wife and five children. Being very frail due to his third bout with cancer and several years of dialysis, he never recovered from a fall in his garage that left his brain bleeding and swelling.
I will remember him fondly and I’d like to tell you a little about the man I was privileged to know.
Duane was a good man. That’s what many, many people think. That’s how they knew him. But, I suppose what I really mean is that he was good to me. Duane was a mid-western farmer turned pastor with little reason to be kind to the tactless northeastern army brat who started dating his second daughter in 1983. Yet, he was accepting and generous and non-judgmental. He gave his blessing when I asked to marry that daughter, and in 1986 Duane officiated as Dawn and I exchanged our vows.
I won’t forget how good he was to me.
A Suffering Servant
Duane suffered more than most people I know. As a teen, polio almost took his ability to walk. At 45, he lost a kidney to cancer. At 70, he lost the other kidney. Cancer again. Then a few years ago the cancer reappeared in his lungs, which made him ineligible for a kidney transplant. Heart-breaking.
Duane also served more than most people I know. As a life-long pastor, he served a number of congregations preaching, counseling, marrying, baptizing, burying. In addition, he spent a decade as a hospital chaplain comforting more bereaved families than I’ll ever know.
Like I said, Duane was a good guy. That’s why so many, including myself, liked him.
But, that’s not why God likes him.
The Suffering Servant
Duane didn’t earn God’s acceptance and love because he served and suffered more than other people. God accepts Duane because His own Son, Jesus, served and suffered completely and perfectly on Duane’s behalf. Like his tactless son-in-law, Duane had a sinful, God-rejected nature at the core of his being, and it wasn’t something he could fix. He couldn’t serve or suffer enough to make up for it. So, Jesus did it for him.
And so, Duane trusted and followed The Suffering Servant.
Being a Christian means reaching the end of your days, and knowing that however fondly people may remember you, your only hope of an eternal welcome is the Savior who served God as you would not, and suffered for your sin as you could not. Duane was one such man.
Being a good guy will bring people to his funeral; but trusting a good Savior is the only thing that prepared him for the moment that made his funeral necessary.
I will remember Duane fondly. But my comfort, his family’s comfort, is that he trusted to his last breath in the Savior who earned his acceptance.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:5-6
8 thoughts on “Duane Vernon Juve, 1935-2011”
A beautiful tribute Lon…..
Thank you, Lon! This is excellent. Thank you for using your gift to pay tribute to Dad Juve and to Jesus. I am grateful.
Lon, my condolences to you and Dawn on your loss. What an interesting epitaph!! As always, giving credit to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I recall how fondly you spoke of your father-in-law, Lon, when I first met you. It’s clear that God used him to leave a permanent imprint on your life. His humble example of serving and following Jesus right up to his last day on earth is a testimony of God’s presence in his life. May the Lord continue to inspire you and Dawn to continue to let your light shine just as Dad Juve has done.
Yes, indeed Jim. Thanks for your prayers. Lon
Lon, you have me crying! He was most definitely an awesome man and so glad you shared your story!
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I have been thinking of Pastor Juve and Dawn these past few weeks, so I thought I would google his name and say thank you for helping me grow as a new believer, much to my dismay I have found his obituary. I’m sure Dawn will remember me Debbie Sierra(Boulduc ) from Grand Forks. I am so sorry I did not get to thank him in person, I remember pastor Juvevstanding at the door greeting me, then he would ask if I knew his daughter, for about 3 weeks this went on, and I would look to the front of the church and see this beautiful lady playing the piano, and I would say no I sure don’t . Then finally he asks if I am from grand forks, I love how God brought me all the way to Minneapolis to be mentored by the Juve family. I want to thank you for the love that you showed me and my two children and acceptance for who I was and who God is transforming me to be. I now live back in Grand Forks and go to the Grand Forks corrections every Sunday to teach Bible studies and to share the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and because of Pastor Juve and your family there is a huge reward for the new believers that are coming to Christ through this jail ministries.
Thank you all and God bless you and all your families
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