We were saddened to learn of the recent death of James Owen Duke, father of Russell Duke, Vice Chairman of the GCI Board. Russell provided the following tribute to his Dad.
My Dad was born in 1923 and died at age 93. He leaves behind his wife of 71 years, Claire Duke, two sons, Russell and Warren, and one daughter, Kay Overstreet. He was preceded in death by his son Byron. He leaves six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Dad graduated high school in Camden, Alabama, in 1940, and with war raging in Europe, he entered the United States Marine Corps in 1941 at age 17. He was on duty in the radio room at Point Loma, California, when the call came from Pearl Harbor to another desk in the room, reporting the Japanese attack. Over the next four years he served in the South Pacific, landing in Vella Lanella Island and Choiseul Island, where he earned the Bronze Star. He completed his military service in 1946, honorably discharged, with the notation for character of service—Excellent.
In 1954, Dad became a follower of Herbert Armstrong in the Radio Church of God, ordained a deacon and then employed by the then-named Worldwide Church of God in 1969, then ordained an elder in the church, serving as associate pastor in Big Sandy, Texas (1977), then in Anniston, Alabama (1986), lastly in Dallas, Texas (1988), before retiring at age 68 in 1991.
Dad was committed to liberty, risking his very life for his country; committed to love of wife and family; and committed to faith in Jesus Christ, living his whole life for our God. And now he lives on in the hands of the Father, the heart of Jesus Christ, and the breath of the Holy Spirit.