Duane passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at St Luke’s Hospital after suffering a massive heart attack on Sunday, October 11, 2020.
Duane was born in Amelia, Nebraska on August 1, 1943 to Forest and Alice Sammons. Duane made the family complete with his older sister Rochelle. He attended a one room school in Amelia before moving with his family to Kimberly, Idaho, in 1956, where his mother taught elementary school. Duane loved the outdoors, dirt bike riding whenever possible to discover new and often unexplored areas of the south hills as well as other parts of Idaho.
After graduating from Kimberly High School in 1961, he worked for Sears, in the automotive and sports section. He joined the Air Force in 1962, during the Vietnam War. He decided to join a branch of service instead of being drafted. He couldn’t swim so the Navy was out and he figured the Army and Marines were being shot at pretty regularly so he decided the Air Force was the most practical. He was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base and was assigned to the 17th Munitions Maintenance Squadron. He went to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio for basic training. He said the ride back on the train to Denver and eventually Mountain Home took forever, especially in Texas. (Never thought his future wife lived south of San Antonio at that time.) He eventually wound up in Guam, loading B52s. After a bomb was dropped on his foot, he was sent back to Mountain Home, ending up with an additional year of service due to the injury and subsequent surgeries. After honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1966, he returned to Kimberly, resumed working for Sears in Twin Falls, eventually ending up as a division manager over sporting goods and automotive. He also worked as a volunteer fireman with the City of Kimberly and later worked as a city patrol officer. He attended Boise State University, majoring in Criminal Justice. His buddies in Kimberly, Roy Porter and Dave Heideman lived in the dorms, where he met and became good friends with Jim Patterson from Texas as well as Phil Bishop, from back east. Needless to say, the stories of the five musketeers are quite extensive. He continued to work in Kimberly on weekends, going to school during the week, a pretty hectic schedule to say the least. In the fall of 1973, he met Jim’s sister, Mary Lee, who had moved up to Boise to go to Link’s School of Business, at a Johnny Cash concert at BSU that Jim had gotten tickets to, Duane (Sam as he was introduced) and Mary Lee hit it off right away, with Sam coming over to Jim and Mary Lee’s apartment and hanging out. Even when Jim went to Texas in the summer to work for his dad and his oldest sister Sandra came up for the summer, he always came to Boise on his days off and took Mary Lee and Sandra on day trips to Sun Valley, Lowman, Idaho City etc or just hung out at the apartment. He always sent Mary Lee a bouquet of flowers on the following day, expressing his thanks for hanging out with him. He sent red roses to her on her graduation from Link’s. Even when Mary Lee went to Texas with her sister and rode back with Jim, red roses were waiting for her in Texas, obviously her Mom and Dad were wondering who this Sam guy was. In October 1974, at no surprise to Jim, Roy, Phil and Dave, Duane asked Mary Lee to marry him, which she most readily said yes. They were married October 11, 1975 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Boise Idaho.
In July, 1975, Duane was hired as a trooper with the Idaho State Police, a career which he honored and performed his duties to the best of his ability. He was assigned Idaho Falls, so on October 12, 1975, he and Mary Lee headed to Idaho Falls to start their life together. He was assigned dispatch duties until a patrol car became available due. He was dispatching when the Teton Dam broke June 5, 1976. He got to talk to several news agencies around the US as well as the BBC, even Australia. He was on duty for over 24 hours and handled the job with highest professionalism. Duane and Mary Lee were expecting their first child in June 1977, Duane was assigned a patrol car in Pocatello, starting June 1, 1977. Duane and Mary Lee welcomed their son Thomas on May 7, 1977 and immediately moved to Pocatello where Duane was assigned the MCSAP patrol, working 6pm-3am. They moved from Pocatello to Inkom in 1980. There they welcomed their daughter, Marijo on August 2, 1982, a birthday present for Duane. In 1984 Duane was promoted to Sergeant, a promotion he excelled at and upheld to the best of his ability. In 1988, he applied and was granted a position at ISP headquarters in Boise, working in the ASAP program. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1989 and eventually worked with CVSA and hazardous materials safety. He worked as Incident Command for the Y2K event 1999/2000. After 9/11, he was the disaster coordinator for the state of Idaho. Duane was proud to be an Idaho State Trooper and wore his uniform with pride. Duane retired as Lieutenant/Deputy Commander of the Idaho State Police with 37 years law enforcement experience. Duane was the Idaho State Police Disaster/ Terrorism/Weapons of Mass Destruction and Hazardous Materials Coordinator. He amassed over 5,000 hours of certified Peace Officer's Standards and Training (POST) in law enforcement, hazardous materials, terrorism and disaster response and planning. Duane is a member of in several law enforcement associations within Idaho and the U.S.
While working for the Idaho State Police, Duane was appointed by the Governor of Idaho to the following positions; Idaho Domestic Preparedness Council, Western Governors Association, State on Scene Incident Coordinator, and the Department of Energy Cross Country Technical Work Group to represent the interests of the State of Idaho. Duane was the Incident Commander for two presidential declared disasters in Idaho. While an Idaho State Police Officer Duane obtained the following certificates: Idaho Peace Officers and Standards Manager’s certificate 1994; Idaho Peace Officers and Standards Supervisor's certificate 1989; Idaho Peace Officers and Standards Advanced certificate 1983; Idaho Peace Officers and Standards Intermediate certificate 1981; Idaho Peace Officers and Standards Basic certificate, March 1976.
He worked with the Department of Energy for a Public Outreach program dealing with the transportation of high-level radioactive waste within the United States and into the United States from foreign countries 2004-2012. Duane was the Idaho Homeland Security Office Buffer Zone Protection Program Coordinator 2004-2005.
Duane joined TEEX in 2003 as an adjunct instructor and a Hazardous Materials subject matter expert in the UASI program. In 2004 Duane was assigned Program Coordination of a Hazardous Materials/ Weapons of Mass Destruction Science of Air Monitoring training class for the United States Air Force that was provided by PS&S. Duane was an adjunct for the Jurisdictional Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment, the Critical Asset Risk Management and the Advanced Critical Infrastructure Protection training programs.
Duane was past president of the Region Four Federal Highway Administration Research and Special Projects Administration Conference of Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development (COHMED), and he is the past Chairman of the Radioactive Materials Subcommittee for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
Duane’s tenure with TEEX enabled him to take Mary Lee for a trip of a lifetime – Venice, Italy for eight days. What an experience it was – he and Mary Lee talk about it all the time. Another special trip was an Alaska cruise with his late cousin Dennis and wife Sharleen. A trip that was very special and memories beyond belief.
Duane is survived by his wife of 45 years, Mary Lee Sammons, son Thomas Sammons and daughter Marijo (MJ) Clark and son-in-law Jefferson Clark of Boise. He is also survived by his sister, Rochelle Jenkins (John), sister-in-laws Sandra Slosser(David) of Tomball, TX, Nina Patterson of Mountain Home, nephew Patrick, Brady (Tomi), nephew Rodney(Jan), niece Cindy(Lenny), Aunt Carol Miller, cousins Sharleen, Clark (Shannon), Coni(Larry), Crystal, Amber, Brett (Dana) as well as others too numerous to list, Mary Clark, MJ’s mother-in-law. He was preceded in death by his Dad Forest, mother Alice, Uncle Roy Miller, father and mother in law James and Rosemary Patterson, brother-in-law Jim Patterson, special cousin Dennis Miller, nephew Darryl Sharp, as well as his grandparents. He is also survived by his grand puppies (Irish Setters) Sam and Burt, grand kitties Zeppellin and The Duke.
Duane loved the outdoors, always working in his yard, if he was going to have a yard, it would be green and lush. He was always first to help a neighbor or friend with projects. He loved woodworking and several pieces of his work are scattered among family and friends. He was the unofficial helper of the women’s choir Mary Lee and MJ belonged to for several years. While working in his shop, loved to listen to music from Duane Eddy, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins to name a few.
A memorial service with military honors and ISP color guard will be held at 11:00am, Sunday, October 25th at Cloverdale Funeral Chapel, Cloverdale Road, Boise, ID. Go to Cloverdale Funeral Home site to view the service on-line. Duane’s ashes will be taken back to his childhood home in Chambers Nebraska in spring 2021. Due to COVID-19, seating will be limited, please be safe and wear a mask. At The Sammons’ home, the service will also be played live if there is not enough room at Cloverdale. Please drop by for refreshments afterwards if you would like.
The family wishes to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts and prayers.
As Duane would say to paraphrase one of his favorite artists – Elvis -
Thank you, thank you very much..... Duane has left the building ......
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