Alvin Duane Tolonen

Aug 4, 1938 – Nov 7, 2015


Alvin Duane Tolonen, a Tukwila resident for over 50 years, passed away on November 7, 2015.  He was a loving and generous father, and a faithful husband, grandfather, brother and uncle.

Duane was born in Wilbur, Washington, on August 4th, 1938 to John and Esther Tolonen.  He was raised on a wheat farm 12 miles south of Almira, Wa where he raised beef in 4-H and did chores that needed to be done on the farm. After finishing high school in Almira in a graduating class of 12, he went to Washington State University for college where he met Claudie. They were married on Sept 6, 1958.  He continued to work at Boeing and soon finished college with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington.  

At first they lived in a mobile home on Claudie’s parent’s property. Then they had a son, Tim in 1961 and they purchased a house in Tukwila in 1964. Steve came along in 1966 followed by Cindy in 1967.   

As the children were growing up, the Tolonen home was busy with sports and Boy Scouts.  Duane served as the Scout Master of Troup 378 for many years.  He was also active in the boys’ sports, serving as an umpire and eventually as a baseball coach. He doted on his daughter, Cindy and would always yield to her wishes, building her a beautiful dollhouse from scratch one Christmas.

It was Duane’s desire to have an outdoor family that hunted and fished. The family took many fishing trips to Seiku, Westport and Neah Bay where they would go out on the ocean alongside the charter boats in a 20 foot bell boy. A fond memory of him is with a 30 pound salmon on the line standing on the ice box in the middle of the boat with his rod held high and a big smile on his face. In later years he would continue the fishing tradition with his granddaughters, fishing for trout on Lake Wilderness or at Sun Lakes.   

Duane worked at Boeing for 43 years, where he was known as “Al Tolonen”. He was an Avionics Design Engineer and contributed to the success of military programs including Minuteman Missile, B-1 Bomber, B-2 Bomber and many secret programs.  

When Duane wasn’t working, he enjoyed playing bridge with his friends.  He was recognized as a Life Master in 1993 and played in numerous tournaments. He really enjoyed taking it to the doctors and lawyers. 

Duane is survived by his sons, Steve, Tim (daughter-in-law Laurie), three dear granddaughters, Katie, Kelly and Christie Tolonen, brother Kenny Tolonen, brother-in-law, Mike (sister-in-law Jeannie), nephews Jeff and Zak and niece Nina and their families.

Duane was preceded in death by his wife, Claudette, his parents, John and Esther Tolonen, his siblings, Ralph, Lila and his beloved daughter, Cindy.

Duane will be remembered by all who loved him for his soft heart and generosity.


michael minegishi
bellevue , wa
Apr 13, 2016

I'll always remember him as a nice laid-back type of guy.

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