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Remembering Duane Quiram

PRINCETON – Duane Quiram of Princeton is being remembered for his professionalism, outstanding sense of humor and dedication to his community.

Quiram died Thursday at the age of 76.

He moved to Princeton with his family in 1964 and managed Spurgeon’s Mercantile Co. until 1979, when he was promoted to superintendent of more than 30 stores.

Jim Smith, a longtime friend, became acquainted with Quiram when he was working for Spurgeon’s, and Smith was working at Citizens First National Bank. Around that time, they would meet at the Princeton Chamber to discuss business with merchants.

“He was very instrumental in those meetings. He was all for the retail portion of Princeton and about promoting it,” he said.

Throughout the years, Smith and Quiram grew close.

“He was an excellent individual. He had a great sense of humor and was very reliable,” he said. “He was the type of friend everyone looks for.”

In the last 20 years, Smith and Quiram grew closer than ever and on a weekly basis would meet together with their spouses for dinner.

“People just enjoyed being around him,” he said.

Quiram was also a member of the Princeton Fire Department from 1969-79; five of those years he served as assistant fire chief. He also served as Commissioner of Public Health and Safety for the city of Princeton from 1979-95. During his time on the council, he served with former Mayor Dick Welte.

Welte said Quiram will be remembered for his dedication.

“He was a great man, had a great family and just served the city very well,” he said. “He was very dedicated to the people. He liked people, and people liked him.”

Even after Quiram left the council, current Princeton Mayor Keith Cain said Quiram was helpful in city business.

“Duane was instrumental in helping me to get the library situated on East Peru Street. He was not a commissioner at the time, but he was able to talk with certain people to help us get the library in that location.”

Quiram also worked in the real estate field for 20 years, having worked most recently for Success Realty of Princeton since 1996.

On Monday, his Success Realty co-workers talked about Quiram’s impact on their lives, professionally and personally.

Quiram was a wonderful professional and also a wonderful friend, said Vickie Mabry Martenson.

“I feel so blessed to have shared 17 years of my life with Duane Quiram,” Martenson said. “Duane seemed to always keep calm, even when those around him weren’t. He really was an honest, wise and kind real estate professional, even from his hospital bed in Peoria.”

Martenson said she enjoyed hearing Quiram’s stories about his earlier days of managing the Spurgeon’s Store.

“Oh, the stories I heard about Spurgeon’s. I could tell it was a part of him,” she said.

There are some things about Quiram which she will always remember.

“I will always be grateful to him during one of the toughest times in my life — from a shoulder to cry on to advice and support,” Martenson said. “And two sayings I will always take with me that Duane gave me were, ‘Something is better than nothing’ and ‘Greed is a terrible thing.’”

Melissa Burrows worked with Quiram for more than eight years at Success Realty.

“During that time, he was my co-worker, mentor and friend. He was always there to help me out with a listing or client. He would answer all my questions, and I had a lot of them, or knew who to call to get the answer,” Burrows said. “He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, but what I will miss most is how he made me smile and laugh with stories of his childhood in Washburn, college life at Bradley University and his life in Princeton.”

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