Businessman was loved across Darke County


UNION CITY, Ohio — Loved ones are already missing Duane Saintignon, who died Oct. 30.

His obituary described him as a prolific entrepreneur, which he was as indicated in the successes he oversaw over his 73 years of life.

Saintignon, it was stated, started his long career as a farmer. He owned multiple businesses. He was an electrician by trade owning Shockney’s and Duane’s Electric. He owned the Whistle Stop in Ansonia, Cole’s Front Street Inn in Greenville, Bartonia Restaurant in Bartonia, Indiana, and D’s Restaurant in Union City, Indiana.

“One of my favorite memories is Duane and I having his famous popcorn that only he could make taste so good,” said his former daughter-in-law, Monica Saintignon, who now manages Cole’s Front Street Inn. “It would be me, Duane and Cole! He always told me the secret was the pan. And you should see that pan! Lol! He never washed it! Anyway, I could go on and on, but we did that many evenings from the time Cole was in a pumpkin seat till he was old enough to eat it with us.”

“I had a good relationship with Duane, but hadn’t seen much of him the last several years,” said Dennis “Beazer” Beasley. “But, for years, we did everything. I worked the kitchen at the Whistle Stop on Saturday nights making pizza, and I would help him with his catfish fries. Duane was a good man. I had a lot of fun with him.”

“Duane had a very firm faith in God and loved his family,” remarked Annie Sonner. “He cared and helped a lot of people in life, used a lot of humor and worked hard at numerous jobs. We were neighbors as kids; so, we were like family. All of us spent a lot of time together getting in and out of trouble. I loved his father, Bernard; he taught me a lot about the Bible. No one will ever fill his shoes.”

Chris Reier had this to say on a tribute on the funeral home site, “This man had a lot to teach me over the years. It’s because of him that I learned not to waste a single drop of food, and to always give your best at work. He taught me to treat everyday like it was my first day and work as hard as I can. Never miss a day of work. Always send the food to the customer as if you was making it for the President, so that way they always came back wanting more. This man was a great man. He was sometimes stubborn but he knew what he was doing. I will forever remember you. You taught me so much, I had a lot of great times with you, I will always remember when you took me out on your pontoon boat and we listened to the Beach Boys, that was one of the best days of my life, had a lot of fun. Also you took me to Kings Island and I had a blast. You treated me really great, because you was a great man. I remember you took me to see David Copperfield. You really loved that show; it made you smile. I love you Duane, you will always have a place in my heart. I’m glad you finally get to rest.”

“He was a good brother,” remarked Danny Saintignon. “I worked with him when we farmed as a kid. We were all at home then. He never for anybody else. He was mostly self-employed. He and I bought the Whistle Stop in 1979; he was an electrician and I was a painting contractor. I sold out to him a year or so later.”

Don Shilt, former area resident and Darke County sheriff’s deputy, said he knew Saintignon for a number of years.

“He was a hard a worker as you could ever find,” Shilt said. “Even if he was not feeling good, he’d be plugging away. It seemed all the places I hung out Duane owned. I always liked him. He was always friendly. I’ve known him probably since the mid- to late- ’60s when I was on the sheriff’s department. I always found him to be very honest and such a likeable guy. He definitely will be missed.”

Duane’s youngest son, Rodney, said his father was his mentor.

“He was a great mentor,” Rodney said. “He taught me everything I know…how to work, not be lazy. I helped him on the farm. He taught me his electric business. If would not have taught me that I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Rodney, who now owns D’s Restaurant in Union City, said he has many memories of his father. “Dad was the kind of person who worked all of the time. He wouldn’t take time off or go on vacations. He enjoyed life, but he enjoyed work. I was close to my dad. We did about everything together, especially later in life when we became even closer. He was always happy and telling jokes. People tell me I look and act like him. I didn’t use to think so. Now, I take it as a compliment. I miss him, but he was hurting and suffering.”

Here are some other messages on that site:

“Duane, you will always be an inspiration to everyone who has even a little bit of a can-do attitude. The businesses that you created and ran were always great on customer service and doing things the right way,” stated Mike Mote.

“He was a sweetheart he will be greatly missed,” remarked Trisha Rodeheffer.

“Duane was one of the first friends I met of my dad’s when we moved in here in 1983,” wrote Toni (Red) Johnson. “He was always very good to me, and always looked out for me after my dad passed and through my adult years. Thanks for all you done for me Duane, thoughts and prayers to all the kids and family.”

“We are so sorry to hear about Duane. He always treated us like family with welcome arms and we have so many fond memories of Thanksgivings at the cabin with all the families and we will never forget! May God be with you all. With our love and prayers to all of you,” wrote Rich and Dar Hinrichs

“Duane was a kind man,who loved life,” said Lisa Clark. “He made people laugh and would always make working for him fun. He will be missed.”

“Duane was a great man.He would help anyone he could. He will be missed by so many,” said Pat Barton Smith.

“I loved his fish at Bartonia’s Restaurant. Hope that doesn’t go away. That’s my memory, Duane, you will be missed. RIP,” said Brenda Wallace.

Jennifer McEowen- Lopez wrote, “I will miss you so much Duane. I never had a dad growing up and you were always there for me and treated like your own daughter. You were like a dad to me and did so much for me in my life. I have so many amazing memories with you. From the Kings Island trips to taking motorcycle rides, and sitting around the campfire in your woods. I had an amazing childhood because of you. You were such a great man and would help anyone in need. I will miss you so much.”

“I don’t know where to start except to say Duane was an inspiration for all of us. He treated everyone equal and fairly and always was there to give us a helping hand when we needed it. He showed all of us whom got to work for him just how special he was. He was fun to work for and taught us how to be the best at what we were doing. He will be missed by many as he was loved by most. My heartfelt prayers goes out to his family and to all his friends. God Bless U Duane,” wrote Joan Beam.

“I worked for Duane for a few years, also worked with him and while he could be a serious man he could also be a very funny man. He will be missed very much,” stated Niki Frazier.

“Duane was a great man to know,” commented Brenda (Baker) Miller. “He was there for my family when my husband was battling cancer. Thoughts and prayers for all the family during this time.”

“I am so sorry to hear of Duane’s passing. I send my deepest condolences to his family. I met Duane many years ago. He was always a joy to be around. I especially remember him owning the Whistle Stop as I frequented there quite a bit with my husband when he had it. I enjoyed talking to him,” said Terri Martin.

By Linda Moody

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Linda Moody may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to

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