Duane Matthew Diaz
September 2, 1941 ~ March 16, 2013
Duane Matthew Diaz of Biloxi, MS passed away March 16 in Gulfport, MS after bravely battling Weggener's Granulomatosis for 3 ½ years. Duane was born September 2, 1941 in Biloxi, MS to Oliver and Elmerita Diaz. He was born in Biloxi and was a lifelong resident.
The family wishes to sincerely thank all of his friends who spent time with him and had to endure his dry wit and sarcasms while taking him to his favorite video poker game when he was unable to drive himself.
Duane was a 1959 graduate of Notre Dame High School where he held the track record for the 50-yard dash for many decades. He was a member of the Rebel football team where he was a four-year letterman and team captain, a member of the National Honor Society, senior class president and homecoming king. Duane then went on to graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.
Duane was a member of BPOE
Lodge 606 in Biloxi and an "honorary" member of the Slavic Benevolent Association. He was a member of the Fleur De Lis French Club in Biloxi.
Duane was a charter member of the Krewe of Neptune Carnival Association where he also sat on the Board of Directors. He was also a charter member of Les Badineurs and was a former captain of Les Pierrots. Duane also served on the Board of Trustees for MGCCC.
Alongside his father-in-law, he managed and operated the family business, Kuljis Seafood, Ice and Fuel where he was extremely popular with the local fishermen. After the seafood business sold, he became employed as a loan officer with the SMPDD. Duane was then employed at the Palace Casino as an executive host for 12 years. During this time, Duane also helped with the family seafood market where he enjoyed doing morning preparations for opening each day until Hurricane Katrina destroyed the business. From there he procured employment at FEMA where he served as fleet manager, becoming good friends with Admiral Thad Allen of the USCG. Duane eventually had to resign his position at FEMA due to his illness. In his spare time, he also had a knack with carpentry, where he constructed many pieces of furniture.
Duane is preceded in death by his parents, Oliver F. Diaz and Elmerita Moran Diaz; and in-laws Peter and Verna Mae Kuljis.
Duane is survived by his three daughters, Joni Gollott (fiancé Steve Kingsley), Susan Reynolds (fiancé CJ Champagne) and Delane Krause (husband Robbie); ex-wife Toni Jo Diaz; eight grandchildren, Tony Mattina (wife Candy), Jaimie Tiblier (husband Matthew), Trey Reynolds, Tristan Gollott, Alex Krause, Andrew Champagne, Jacob Krause and Matthew Champagne; one great-grandchild, Cameron Dedeaux; his siblings, Oliver E. Diaz (Sylvia), Pam Fayard and Julie Seymour (Matt); and many nieces and nephews with whom he was extremely fond of.
The family would like to express a sincere thank you to Saad Health Care, especially his nurse Monique, Dr. Edwin Quinones, Ashley, his nurse at Fresenius Dialysis Center and Christy, his ICU nurse at Memorial Hospital during his last hours.
In lieu of flowers the family would prefer donations be made to the St. Michael Catholic Church Building Fund, PO Box 523, Biloxi, MS 39533.
Visitation will be at St. Michael Catholic Church from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm with a Mass of Christian burial immediately following on Thursday, March 21, 2013.
The Howard Avenue Chapel of Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
View and sign register book at www.bradfordokeefe.com