Duane William “Riley” Towers now rests peacefully after, according to him, “loving each day of his life” for the last eighty-five years. A Navy man, a farmer, and the pillar of his family - Riley always welcomed a good laugh, relished in storytelling and conversation, appreciated a good meal shared with family and created an abundance of memories for those fortunate enough to know him.
Duane was born in Churdan, Iowa to Doris (Rogers) Towers and Joe Towers on January 19, 1933. There was no running water out on the farm in those days and he attended the rural school Highland #6 for nine years and later graduated from Churdan High School. He did his best to stay out of trouble with his brother, Roger “Dave” and sister, Anne. He was bright and ambitious and joined the U.S. Navy taking him out west where he bravely served on a West Pacific tour on the U.S.S. Carp operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. On leave from the submarine, he married his high school sweetheart, Carolyn (Lamoureux) Towers, on February 6, 1954 in sunny San Diego, where he would serve the remainder of his tour. He was awarded three whole days for a honeymoon with his new bride. He went on to be honored with the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Medal and Good Conduct Medal. Riley returned home to Churdan a decorated and dedicated veteran, where he and Carolyn built a legacy and lifetime of love with their eight beautiful children, fifteen gorgeous grandchildren and thirteen joyous great-grandchildren.
Grandpa Riley modeled the value of family and community. The business of farming engaged the whole family in lessons of compromise, perseverance and good, hard work. The Cedar farm serves as the scene for some of the family’s favorite memories of walking beans, busy harvests, 4-H calves and big family gatherings. When he wasn’t in the combine or corralling the kids, he traveled the state selling crop insurance where he refined his gift of making fast friends with just about anyone. He was well read and had an abundant capacity to find common ground with all in his company.
Together with Carolyn, they served as permanent fixtures on the bleachers of Paton-Churdan athletics spanning generations and celebrated countless weddings, graduations and baptisms with their gregarious family and many friends. Grandpa Riley was so very proud of each of his family members and made sure to let them know just how special they were to him.
Service over self kept Grandpa busy with the Lions Club and as a lifetime member of the U.S. Holland Submarine Veterans club. It was his great honor to serve the American Legion Post for 40 years, including 25 years as Commander. We can picture him with his strong stance and proud salute each Memorial Day bringing us all poppies, telling stories about his time in the service and teaching us the importance of love of country and appreciating those who have made sacrifices for our freedom.
His family will miss his warm smile, hearty laugh, sweet hugs and kisses, and will do their best to embody his philosophy on life and parting words, “keep the shiny side up.”
Duane is lovingly survived by his wife, Carolyn; children: Dan Towers of Churdan, Catherine Towersof Covolo, Calif., Tim and Julie Towers of Churdan, Teresa (Teri) and Dr. Patrick Harr of Maryville, Mo., Michael (Mick) Towers of Adel, Tami and Joe Nugent of Shawnee, Kan., Joseph Towers of Kansas City, Mo. and Sarah and Matt Burnett of Ankeny; grandchildren: Brian and Crystal Towers of Ankeny, Kristin and Joe Brookover of Urbandale, Justin and Diana Towers of Jefferson, John and Libby Towers of Churdan, Nicholas and Mary Glasnappof Dallas, Texas, Traci and Mark Kennedy of West Des Moines, Eileen and Danny Splendore of Perry, Jenny and Will Nicholson of Jefferson, Becky and Matt Halling of Perry, Joseph Towers of Churdan, Erin and Megan Nugent of Shawnee, Kan., Layla, Harrison and Greyson Burnett of Ankeny; great-grandchildren: Taya, Vivian, Nathan, Natalie, Noah, Anna, Claudia, Claire, Hayden, Thomas, Blake, Scarlett and Bartney; sister, Anne Anderson of Florida and brother and his wife, Dave and Valerie Towers of California. He is preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Sam Anderson; nephews: Kevin Towers, Kenny Lamoureux and Rick Anderson; and daughter-in-law, Sharon Towers.
Mass of the Christian Burial was held Monday, October 8, 2018 at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Churdan with Father Jeff Schleisman officiating. Burial with full military honors was made in the St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery. Musical selections were played by organist Lois Last and Rochelle Guess and selected songs were sung by members of the Carey family. Visitation was held Sunday 4-7 p.m. at St. Columbkille Catholic Church with vigil services held at 6:30 p.m. led by Father John Gerald.
The Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson assisted the family.