Duane Whitelaw, born in 1953 in Whittier, passed away on July 23. He was raised by Roy and Virginia Whitelaw and is survived by his wife Laura and his three children Becky, Jake, and Brad. Duane had four grandchildren Jered, Joshua, Stella, Hazel, and one more on the way.

Duane leaves a legacy of over 42 years in public service, with 33 of those years benefiting the Tahoe region. Not only did he serve as fire chief for 21 of his 25 years with North Tahoe Fire, Duane also served 14 years as the Tahoe Basin operational area coordinator for the California Office of Emergency Services, and his contributions as a Placer County Parks commissioner and, most recently, the GM/CEO of the North Tahoe Public Utility District, have been pivotal for development in our region. He was responsible for securing millions of grant dollars supporting local projects and land purchases for parks, playgrounds, bike trails, beaches, boat ramps, and fire stations.

Duane was a quiet leader both professionally and in his personal life. He was humble and kind and was able to lift the spirits of those around him. You could always count on him for an entertaining story, either around the campfire or at bedtime for his grandchildren. He was, and will forever be, loved.


There was a celebration of his life at 10 a.m. on Aug. 5 at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center in memory of Duane.

“At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought but what we built; not what we got but what we shared; not our competence but our character; and not our success, but our significance. Live a life that matters. Live a life of love.”  ~ Anonymous

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