Duane Jerome Solem always had advice — even if it wasn’t always what his company wanted to hear. He was a pragmatic man, a believer in individual responsibility.

“That was the harder side of him,” his son Marshall Solem of Highland Park said. “But then there was the fun, social side.”

He’d host house parties with big band music while his six children were trying to sleep upstairs. And he’d bar hop on his snowmobile when he was living in Wisconsin, sometimes even taking his older children along.

“When it was about business, it was about playing things straight, but he knew work and play could be a nice complement,” his son said. “He loved being around people and having a good time.”

Duane Solem of Edina died on May 2 from complications of COVID-19. He was 91.

Solem was born in Dell Rapids, S.D.

He attended Roosevelt High School and was a trombonist in the Bruce Dybvig Big Band, which won Look magazine’s National Amateur Swing Band Contest at Carnegie Hall in 1946. He played in jazz and dance bands throughout his life.

He graduated from Augsburg College in 1956 after four years in the Navy, where he was in the Navy School of Music and served in Japan during the Korean War.

He started his career at Johnson Hydraulics, Inc., in Minneapolis, where he later served as vice president. He ended his career at Nott Company, where he retired as president in 1998.

Solem was also a Freemason and a member of Minnehaha Lodge No. 165 for more than 50 years.

Solem was proud of his Norwegian roots. He spoke fluent Norwegian and visited Norway to meet relatives and see his ancestors’ family farms.

In addition to boating, swimming, camping and snowmobiling, he enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He won most of his cribbage games and frequently doled out his favorite quips: “There is no free lunch,” and “Life isn’t fair, so get over it and move on.”

Those sayings were rooted in the life lessons and advice that he lived by, Marshall Solem said.

“I’ll remember him for that,” his son said.

Other survivors include his partner Beverly Bergman of Edina; daughter Jarlath Hendee of Carson City, Nev.; sons Foster Solem of Burnsville, Greg Haugesag of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, Todd Haugesag of Apple Valley, Steven Haugesag of Valencia, Spain, and nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

 

Mara Klecker 612-673-4440