HELENA - Dave Duensing, whose family owned the Parrot Confectionery in downtown Helena for 50 years, has died after undergoing heart surgery. He was 56.
Duensing died Tuesday night at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, said Jim McHugh, director of Downtown Helena Inc.
The Duensing family purchased the Parrot in 1956, when Dave Duensing was a toddler. He and his brother, Dusty, started working there in the early 1970s and later became co-owners. The brothers made most of the store's candy while Dusty's wife, Pam, dipped the candy in chocolate and Dave's wife, Wendy, was in charge of the front end of the store.
The Parrot was named Small Business of the Year by the Helena Chamber of Commerce in 2008. In June 2009, the family sold the shop to Brian and Kelly Ackerman, but agreed to stay on for a year to help them learn the ropes.
Brian Ackerman says Duensing was an artist with a high level of perfection.