PAGE – I’ve often called myself “an old timer who hasn’t been in Page the whole time.”
Back in 1989, this reporter, as the park engineer for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, extended several boat ramps in the park. One of my coworkers told me at that time to call Duane Berrier at the Glen Canyon Dam since the dam housed a complete set of topographic survey drawings of Glen Canyon before it became Lake Powell. Duane helped me find the drawings and the ramps were extended several times.
Duane, like many who now live in Page, ended up living here as a happy accident. Duane earned his electrical engineering degree from the University of Wyoming and his first job was at the Boeing Airplane Company in 1955. That same year, he enlisted in the Army Signal Corps as a second lieutenant.
In 1958, he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vienna, Austria and in Zurich, Switzerland. He learned German during his mission.
After returning from his mission in January 1961, he began working for the Bureau of Reclamation in the Salt Lake City Regional Office and later married his wife, Luann, on March 3.
During their honeymoon, they happened to drive through Page as the Glen Canyon Dam was being built. As they looked at the concrete being placed, Duane commented, “Wouldn’t you hate to live here?” As fate would have it, he was transferred to Page in 1968.
During his career at Glen Canyon Dam, he was responsible for keeping the electrical drawings up to date and made it possible for radio communication inside the thick concrete walls of the dam. Duane was also responsible for preparing the drawings for the security system. After 33 years of service with the Reclamation, Duane retired in 1994.
He put his command of the German language and his extensive knowledge of the dam to use as a guide for the tours of the dam, working for the Glen Canyon Natural History Association (now the Glen Canyon Conservancy) for many years. Many times, German visitors were pleasantly surprised that he could lead tours in their native language.
Duane says, “I enjoyed being a tour guide to be able to meet people from all over the world.” He still talks to visitors when he visits Walmart and Safeway, and dinners at Big John’s Barbecue.
Duane, who was married to Luann for 58 years, cherishes his family and spends time with his nine children, 13 grand children and four great grandchildren.
His children have been on missions themselves and learned German, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Afrikaans. When asked what he enjoys the most, Duane says, “being with family and being a tour guide.”
He has no plans to leave Page.
Like many of us, fate brought us here and we fall in love with the area. As we concluded our chat, he told me that he knows how to stop time. Surprised, I asked him how. He said that it’s simple: Just take out the battery!