William Joseph Duke, 91, of Franklin, went to be with his Lord and Saviour August 9, 2017.
Bill was born April 10, 1926, at Banta, in Johnson County, the son of William Lloyd and Mary Minerva Knox Duke. He married Martha Lucinda Hyatt November 10, 1946, at Franklin. They are the parents of five children, David Lenard (Chella) Duke of New Whiteland, Carolyn Sue (David) Billingsley of Eustis, Florida, James Dennis Duke of Bremerton, Washington, Scott Eric (Nancy) Duke of Bedford and Jeffrey Alan (Tess) Duke of Port Orchard, Washington. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; three brothers, Arnold Duke of Trafalgar, John (Minnie) Duke of Morgantown and Marvin (Opal) Duke of Castle Rock, Colorado; and a sister, Marjorie Fleener of Franklin.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Lloyd Duke.
Bill was a member of East Columbus Christian Church and the Nineveh Senior Center. Bill, his wife and son, Jeff, helped to establish the Calvary Christian Church in Edinburgh.
He was a 53-year member of Hope Masonic Lodge #150 F & AM and a 50-year plus member of Nineveh Chapter Order of the Eastern Star #466 and a dual member of Clifford Chapter OES #587. He was also a member of Alice Ct #30 Order of Amaranth, Columbus, and a dual member of Daylight Ct #331 Order of Amaranth at the Indiana Masonic Home. He was a former member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Indianapolis.
Bill served in the U.S. Army and later the Army Air Corps, serving in both the Philippines and Hawaii, and he was privileged to take one of the Honor Flights to Washington, D.C.
Bill was a farmer in his younger years and received the Johnson County Young Farmers Award in 1957, of which he was very proud. He was a long-time member of Farm Bureau and served as chairman of Nineveh-Blue River Twp for several years. He was also Director of Nineveh Twp REMC in the 1950’s.
He and his wife purchased a farm at Elizabethtown where they raised cattle and chickens. Bill was raised during the depression and knew what it was like to be very poor, but to stay strong.
He was a devoted husband and father.
Bill retired from Reliance Electric on 10th Street after 27 years of service. After retirement he and his wife traveled extensively throughout the states, visiting 49 states and parts of Canada and Mexico. Their most memorable trip was to the Holy Land.
Bill loved to read western books and books about the sea, along with watching John Wayne movies. He read the Bible through approximately 25 times.
The funeral will be conducted at 11 a.m. Monday, August 14, 2017, at Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home with Ron Bridgewater and Larry McAdams officiating. Calling will be from 2-6 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service Monday. Interment will be at Garland Brook Cemetery with military honors presented by the Bartholomew County Veterans Honor Guard.
Memorials may be made to the Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.
You are invited to view his video tribute, light a virtual candle and send a message to the family via the internet.