Duane Frandsen – Hall of Famer 1935-2023

One of the most durable, active and talented snowmobile racing stars of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, Duane Frandsen of Pembine, Wisconsin, was a power in both cross-country and oval racing. He brought a combination of persistence, driving talent, cool judgment and superb mechanical ability to racing setting an example for many racers who followed in his footsteps.

Renowned for his win of the Eagle River Derby in 1967, he demonstrated technical prowess with an early expansion chamber-equipped Ski-Doo and dramatic driving skill with a flag-to-flag victory in the World’s Championship Race, Frandsen was a winner throughout his long cross-country and oval racing career.

Never missing a weekend of racing in six straight years of competition, this Ski-Doo racer and successful dealer posted dozens of wins in events all across the Midwest as well as at major races in Canada and the west. His many awards and honors include Ski-Doo Dealer of the Year, 1969; Wisconsin Sportswriters’ Snowmobile Driver of the Year and USSA Driver of the Year in 1970.

We are sad to hear the news that Duane Frandsen, 87, of Mesa, Ariz., passed away on April 29, 2023.

He was born in Luck, Wis. on June 22, 1935. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, MaryAnne.

Duane’s working career began on the railroad as a depot dispatch agent where he was a telegraph operator. The railroad brought him to Pembine, Wis. He spent the next 35 years as an entrepreneur in many businesses in the Pembine area. He had a gas station, snowmobile dealership, laundromats, school buses, land development business, Century 21 Real Estate office, and mini storage units. Starting in 1986, he opened seven Little Caesars Pizza stores in central Wisconsin. He retired in 1997 and moved to Mesa. Duane served on the board and as president of Apache Wells Golf Club in Mesa.

Duane competed in snowmobile racing. He raced all over in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Canada from 1964 to 1972. He won the title of World Champion in 1967 in Eagle River, Wis. along with many other region and division titles. In 1992, he was inducted into the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, Wis.

He was an avid golfer with seven holes-in-one to his credit. Duane passed his competitive nature for sports down to his children, grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren who he loved to watch compete.

Duane was passionate about everything he did in his family and professional life. He was respected and loved by his children and grandchildren who looked to him for advice, wisdom, and his steadfast love.

He is survived by his wife, MaryAnne; children, Scott (Jean) Frandsen of Edgar, Wis. and Jeri Frandsen (Jim Rhoades) of Mesa; grandchildren, Craig (Sara) Frandsen of Owatonna, Minn., Kristy Frandsen of Tacoma, Wash., Brian (Sara) Frandsen of Rib Falls, Wis., Kirk (Shanel) Seidel of Dunbar, Wis., Angela (Robert) Garrett of Mesa; great-grandchildren, Ryan, Autumn, Kendra (Craig), Taylor (Kristy), Colton, Caden (Brian), Ryker, Ember (Kirk), Katie, Tyler (Angela). He is also survived by his brother, Dennis (Jeanette) Frandsen in Rush City, Minn.

A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date in Luck.

Duane Frandsen Obituary