Posted by: Tim | January 5, 2009

Duane’s Funeral

Duane’s funeral took place on Wednesday December 31, 2008. It was a very special service and Bethel Evangelical Missionary Church was filled to capacity. I had the privilege of officiating the service and I was personally blessed by all that happened.

Duane had chosen the songs and had requested other details of the service as well. The key theme was that the focus be on God and his work through His people.  Duane had attended the 2007 Children Desiring God conference and had been impacted by a this principle from the conference. Often when we tell children Bible stories we emphasize the human part of the story (ie David killed Goliath with a slingshot and won the victory for Israel) instead of emphasizing God’s work in the story (ie God used David to kill Goliath and He won the victory for Israel). Duane wanted his life to be remembered for what God did through him, so the emphasis would be on God, not on him.  We did our best to honour his request in planning the service.

Duane had asked that the service be very similar to a church service and have a significant amount of worship music. Peter Mal led the worship team along with a group of our musicians. The team led us in several songs requested by Duane, including “Be the Center”, “Did you Hear the Mountains Tremble?”,”We Will Dance”, “Blessed be Your Name”, and “Amazing Grace”.

One notable song was the hymn, “At the Cross”. The chorus goes like this:

At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light

And the burdens of my heart rolled away

It was there by faith I received my sight

And now I am happy all the day.

Duane had always been hesitant to sing that song in church because he felt the last line “And now I am happy all the day” was not true until we went to heaven. So he requested this song for his funeral, because now it would be true for him.

Miriam Rashleigh played and sang some songs that Duane wrote, including one that he was unable to finish, and “Because you were slain” (co-written with Vernon Charter for the 2006 Prairie Tabernacle Missions Conference, based on Revelation 5:9-10). The whole congregation sang Duane’s song, “Lead me to the Rock” (based on Psalms 61:1-4).

The Scripture reading by Gene Graddon (Duane’s stepfather) was a passage that has been especially meaningful to Duane and Crystal, from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:25-34 – “Do not be anxious about  your life…”.

Peter Rashleigh read the eulogy and gave a word of personal tribute. He also read a tribute sent by Pastor Tom Raisbeck, who had served with Duane at Prairie Tabernacle.

There was an open mic at one point in the service and several people came forward and shared personal words of tribute. Dr. Ted & Hester Rendall sent a personal tribute that was read at the service.

Kevin Enns, associate pastor at Bethel Evangelical Missionary Church, and a close personal friend of Duane, brought a strong, personal, gospel message. He challenged everyone to invite Jesus be the “Master and Commander” of their lives, just as Duane had done.

There was a slideshow showing pictures of Duane from a young age right up to 2008. There were some fun pictures of him growing up, and of he and Crystal when they were first married (or just dating?), as well as ministry pictures of Duane leading worship, acting in dramas, and leading children’s ministry. The Casting Crowns song “Lifesong” was the soundtrack to the slideshow.

The service concluded with special music by Peter Mal, “I Can Only Imagine”, and a closing prayer.

The family drove out to Three Hills Cemetery, just west of town, for the Internment service. It was a cold day with some wind (maybe about -15C before windchill) and the outdoor service needed to be brief. As we drove to the cemetery, around 4pm, there was a beautiful sunset in the west/southwest. I don’t think there had been much sun all day, and it was a special gift that the Lord gave us a beautiful sunset for that moment.

Not leaving anything to chance, Duane had requested specific food for the reception after the funeral. Pizza, popcorn and pop, to be exact! So Dorothy Hunt and our team from the Tab provided just that (and it was good!). Many people stayed afterward to greet the family and remember Duane.

Below is the order of service from the funeral, as printed in the bulletin. Thank you to the many people who worked hard to plan the funeral and thank you to everyone for your prayers.

“Celebration of the Life of

Duane Kraaikamp

Bethel Evangelical Missionary Church

2:00pm December 31, 2008

Welcome & Prayer:                   Pastor Tim Strickland

Worship in Music:                     Congregation

“Be the Centre”

“Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble”

Scripture Reading:                   Gene Graddon

Eulogy & Tribute:                     Pastor Pete Rashleigh

Musical Tribute:                       Songs Written by Duane

“Because You Were Slain”

Other Songs by Duane

“Lead Me to the Rock”            Congregation

Worship in Music:                   Congregation

“We Will Dance”

“Blessed Be Your Name”

“At the Cross”

Memory Sharing:                    Congregation

Worship in Music:                  Congregation

“Amazing Grace”

Message:                                    Pastor Kevin Enns


Special Music:   “I Can Only Imagine”    Peter Mal

Closing Prayer:                       Pastor Tim Strickland


  1. Thanks for posting this Tim. We would have liked to have been able to pay our respects to Duane. It is very hard to grasp that he is not taking worship every Sunday as he was when we left Three Hills.

  2. I knew Duane and Crystal from Rocky Mountain College. Crystal and I graduated together with the same degree.

    I would like to support her financially. How do I do that from Calgary?

  3. Dear Tammy,

    Thank you for your comment and for thinking of Crystal and the family.

    A trust fund (called Kraaikamp Family Trust, I think) has been set up at Community Savings in Three Hills. You should be able to contact the bank and ask the best way to make arrangements from Calgary. The contact info is:

    Community Savings
    P.O. Box 940,
    602 Main St
    Three Hills AB
    T0M 2A0
    Phone: 403.443.5898
    Fax: 403.443.7122

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