It is with great sadness we announce the death of CMYRYD's Duane Demars. The pages of this website are filled with his photos and his words. He was a one-of-a-kind, old car guy. He never seemed to have a bad word about anyone. He loved his wife, he loved his family and he loved his cars. Duane said it best when he published "The Autumn of my Life." It is reprinted below. Thank you Duane for your automotive passion. We will miss you!
The Autumn of my life
By Duane Demars
Now in my 80's, it seems like just yesterday that I was young, only 22, married and living on the family farm with my new bride. Yet in a way it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where the years have gone. I know that I have lived them well. I have glimpses of how it was back then and with all my hopes and dreams, but here it is ... the Autumn of my life and it catches me by surprise ... how did I get here so fast ?
Where did the years go and where did my youth go ?
I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were light years away from me and that autumn was so far off that I could not fathom it... to imagine fully what it would be like. But here it is ... my friends are retiring and most of them are gray or even bald, they seem to move slower as I see the older person within me ... but I do see the great change. Not like the ones that I remember who were young, and vibrant, but like me their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be. A nap looks better all the time, if I sit down I find myself falling asleep so easy and remembering the long hours in the fields and the rewards of bringing in the harvest.
And so, now that I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and the ability to go and do things. Things that I wish I had done but never did.
But at least I Know, that though my Autumn has arrived, and I'm not sure how long this will last, this I know... when its over on this earth, its not really over, a new adventure will began in Heaven.
Yes, I have regrets, there are things I wish I had done and many things that I hope to finish within this lifetime of mine.
Life goes by so fast, don't delay any longer, tell your wife you love her and do so with each of your children. I have never missed a day that I have not kissed my wife and told her that I love her as we are now going on 60 years and counting. Should the day ever come that I do not return home, I will have lived my life with my very best friend .... my wife.
In Duane's Words - Dedication
Duane was a husband first, a father second, and a car lover to the end. In this dedication to his first book, "Classic Cars of Montana & Wyoming," he acknowledges his family for indulging his life-long passion.
I dedicate this book to my late parents, who always supported me and my love for cars; my wife, Joanne, who has put up with me and about sixty different cars during our 48 years of marriage; our daughters, Sheri and Brandi; and our granddaughters who were embarrassed to be picked up at school in an old, yellow International pickup with a factory flame job. And yes, they were the first to want a ride in a true “legend,” our old 1947 Willys- Overland Jeep in which they later learned how to drive. Finally, we remember with great fondness the thousands of friends we’ve met through the years who share our love of cars.
— Duane Demars
In Duane's Word - The Love of Cars
Below is the forward from Duane's second book, "Hot Rods & Classics"
For many of us, the love of automobiles is woven into our soul. It started when we were young, perhaps when we got behind the wheel for the very first time or when our hearts pounded as we took our road test and got our first driver’s license. Everyone remembers their first car. It didn’t matter whether it was fresh off the showroom floor or off the used car lot. We had the keys to our freedom in our hands and it was new to us.
The cars of yesterday had a distinctive style and personality. From fins and fender skirts, to ornate hood ornaments, you could recognize a make and model from a block away. Car colors and paint finishes have come a long way from Henry Ford’s original idea of “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” Car colors followed trends as cars took their place as status symbols. By the 50s, cars were being painted in two and three tones and had matching interiors. Detroit started experimenting and gave us our first hybrids—the El Camino and the Ranchero, which melded the comfort of a car with convenience of a pickup and created a cult classic.
When major automobile manufactures suggested “two cars in every driveway,” it started a chain reaction. The carport and one-car garage were no longer acceptable. Now, two and three-car garages are standard design features of most homes. You can customize your ride with graphics, chrome or high-tech stereo systems. Our love of cars has created an entire genre of television shows dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind rides. The automotive industry is enormous from manufacture to aftermarket parts, from restoration to resale, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that has become a part of the fabric of our lives.
For the true enthusiast, the car show has become a social event. It provides a chance to dream, a place to rub elbows with people who share your passion and, in some cases, an opportunity to give a little something back to the community by dedicating the proceeds to non-profit causes. For those who merely attend and those who show off their cars, social status, income and occupation mean nothing. It’s about the cars and how we have made them our own. We teach our children and our grandchildren to value the past and look forward to the day when they, too, hold their first set of keys in their hands.
View a video clip from "Today in Montana." This clip featured an interview with CMYRYD.com host and author, Duane Demars. You can view the clip on YouTube.