He was born in Canton on July 20, 1927, the youngest child of the late William F. and Rosa Kinch Bohlayer.
Duane is survived by Betty Bohlayer, his wife of eight years, and children Larry Bohlayer (Sherrie), Georgia Loder (Walt), and Dennis Bohlayer (Linda), who recently predeceased him. Previously deceased wives, Eunice (Tomkins) and Martha (Tomkins Campbell) were sisters originally from Ellenton. He is also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
As a young man, Duane was raised on the family farm in Canton.
He graduated from Canton High School in 1945 and enlisted in the US Navy (Seabees) where he served on WWII troop ships and in the Philippines.
Duane married Eunice Tomkins, his high school sweetheart in 1946. He held brief employment at Fox Chase Farms and the Canton Dairy after which he lived and worked at his brother Franklin’s farm in East Canton. (The farm is now known as the Manley-Bohlayer Farm, site of the Pennsylvania Apple and Cheese Festival).
In 2014, Duane was honored with a “Hometown Heroes” tribute in the Canton Memorial Day Parade.
Duane was known for his genial nature and ability to tell funny stories, often about farming and farm life. He was a fount of knowledge about his family heritage in Canton and Troy.
Always ready for a road trip, he was reluctant to give up his prize driver’s position. At his longtime home in Honey Brook, he was known for his elaborate, organized gardens that yielded an abundance of vegetables for neighbors and friends.
Generous with his time and talent, Duane could be found repairing household items, painting a wall, or reproducing old photographs for someone in need. He was a creative, skilled woodworker who built furniture, doll houses and replica barns for family and friends. A 62 year member of the Honey Brook Methodist Church, Duane performed and provided for major upkeep projects. With the assistance of his son Dennis, he personally restored the windows in the Ellenton Chapel, a gesture of gratitude to the church in which he was first married and in honor of the Tomkins family who were instrumental in establishing that church.
Duane will be profoundly and lovingly missed by his family and friends who knew that the twinkle in his eye and his warm greeting were signs of an afternoon of laughter and good times ahead.
A memorial service will be held at the Garden Spot Village Chapel in New Holland on July 23, at 1:30 pm.
A local visitation for friends and family will be held Monday, July 24, 1:00 pm at the Manley Bohlayer Farm in East Canton followed by a 2:45 pm service of interment at Beech Flats Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to benefit nurses’ training to: The Martha and Duane Bohlayer Scholarship Fund at the Brandywine Health Foundation, (610) 380-9080, firstname.lastname@example.org
Condolences may be left at or sent to Labs Funeral Home, www.thelabsfh.com