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ADRIAN — Duane L. Flint, who kept in present tense the aromas and ambience of an old-time magazine and tobacco shop, died Saturday in his Adrian home. He was 71.
Mr. Flint had multiple myeloma, a type of cancer, for nearly seven years. Until about two weeks ago, he was at work and serving customers at Chaloner & Co., the store on West Maumee Street he and his wife, Carol, bought 18 years ago.
“He enjoyed his fellow man, conversing, talking sports, talking politics,” his son Kirk said.
His daughter, Stephanie Herriman, said: “He had the gift of gab, period. That sort of kept him going.”
On a whim, the Flints bought Chaloner’s, as it’s commonly called, when they saw it was for sale. After all, it was an Adrian landmark, begun in 1874 by Charles Chaloner, who came from England. Three generations of Chaloner family members owned the shop until 1977. And they recalled fondly visiting as children.
The Flints left intact the hardwood floor — it still creaks — and the tin ceiling. Scents familiar and enticing advertise the wares: tobacco of the roll-your-own variety, and imported cigars; roasting cashews and peanuts, and popping popcorn by the huge batchful. Customers stopped in for magazines and books and candy.
“You get a lot of people coming back after 40 or 50 years because they can still relate the store to their childhood,” Mr. Flint told The Blade in 1999. “You can’t do that with too many places.”
His son said: “That’s a sign of respect, to carry on the heritage.”
Their daughter, Stephanie, lent a hand on occasion.
“They pretty much ran the show the entire time,” she said, adding that she plans to join her mother in running the store.
Mr. Flint retired about the time the couple bought the shop. He’d been a metallurgist at Ervin Amasteel in Adrian for about 20 years. For 35 years, he was an H&R Block tax preparer. He also had his own clients and helped other downtown business people with their taxes.
“He loved doing taxes, and he was very good at it,” his son said. “This was in his character. He loved to be social.”
He also was a handyman and a woodworker who read Western novels by Louis L’Amour and watched Westerns.
“John Wayne was his movie idol,” his son said.
He was born June 28, 1942, to Helen and Eugene Flint and was a 1960 graduate of Adrian High School.
Surviving are his wife, Carol Flint, whom he married Sept. 16, 1969; sons, Jeffrey, Kirk, and Brian Flint; daughter, Stephanie Herriman, and 12 grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. today in Wagley Funeral Home, Adrian. The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Lenawee or the Hickman Cancer Center.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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