We are saddened to hear that Bob Duerr has died at the age of 92. Duerr was a frequent guest on Lunch with Casey, bringing various animals from the Como Park Zoo to the program. He was a noted expert on reptiles and hosted a snake exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair for over 40 years.
Robert J. Duerr was born October 29, 1929. He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in the Navy. He attended the University of Minnesota where he was an up and coming football player. He joined the Como Park Zoo in 1959, caring for animals, and having a passion for reptiles. For over 40 years, Duerr hosted a snake exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair. But we fondly remember his appearances on Lunch with Casey.
Besides appearing on television, Duerr occasionally made news headlines. In the early 60’s, he famously wrestled and captured a crocodile that had been released into Lake Phalen. Another time, in 1968, he appeared with an aggressive 16 foot python at a photo even with a St. Paul city councilman.
I remember being freaked out as a kid when he brought a rattlesnake to the set of Lunch with Casey.
In 1972, Duerr left Como Zoo to work at the Science Museum of Minnesota. He produced a film called “Snakes and Flowers” with film maker Tom Ramsay, about the various species of snakes found in the state. He continued to travel and educate people about snakes and reptiles.
Mike Hazard produced this short profile of Bob Duerr in 2012.
A service will be held in the spring and he will be laid to rest at Fort Snelling. Memorials can be sent to Como Zoo at https://comofriends.org/