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Tribute to a Drumming Warrior

Submitted by Marguerite Barnett, MD / Siesta Key Drumming Circle Family

Recent memorial to Duane at  Siesta Key's  Drum Circle
Recent memorial to Duane at Siesta Key’s Drum Circle
Duane at the beach at sunset
Duane at the beach at sunset

Duane McQueen who passed away June 6, was born in Michigan but gravitated (after a detour through Tennessee) to warmer climes here on the Gulfcoast of Florida after his retirement.  A long-time member of both the Nokomis and Siesta Key Drum circles, in the words of his daughter Melissa, ”He had a path of heartbreak and heartache for many years before finding this sacred place.”

He even remarried at the drum circle in a native American-inspired ceremony to the beautiful Russell (Rusty) Burd McQueen, his devoted wife until his too-soon end at age 59.  Although his daughter felt he had found his “people” and that the beaches and rhythms healed him, we attendees of the circle never knew him as other than a stalwart, no-drama, inspiring drummer and constant at the gatherings.

Apparently this aptitude for drumming went way back as his other daughter, Tiffany, reports that her father was known to drum on the dinner table with his silverware when she was a child.

We miss him and can only imagine how much his family also misses him.  We are grateful for the opportunity to have had him as a member of our tribe and we are humbled to learn from his family that the circles had such deep meaning for him.  His daughters shared their belief that the circles are a celebration of life and this is true.  Even in our sadness at his death, we affirm with every gathering our gratitude to live in such a beautiful space.

We leave our worries and differences outside the circle and join in the transcendent joy of being one heartbeat, one rhythm, one people.  The circle has no beginning and no end and although Duane’s physical body is no longer present, his energy continues without end.

Thank you, Duane for what you shared with us and taught us including that life is short and how important it is to do what we love with those we love.  Besides his daughters, Duane is survived by his parents, Arthur and Myrna; his wife; brothers Tim and Bob and assorted grandchildren.

The circle wedding of Duane and Rusty in November 2009
The circle wedding of Duane and Rusty in November 2009