James Owen Duke, age 93, died February 19, 2017 in Miramar Beach, Florida. He was born March 12, 1923 in Camden, Alabama to Warren and Mae Williams Duke. 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 – Christopher Duke and Tracy Stewart, Brandon and Sharby Duke, Michael and Jennifer Overstreet, and five great grandchildren - Samantha and Cayla Duke, Madeleine and Connor Stewart, and Anna Duke. James 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 with the rank of Staff Sergeant serving as a radioman, landing on Vella Lavella Island and Choiseul Island, where he earned the Bronze Star. In 1943 he landed on Bougainville, and in 1945 on Iwo Jima. He completed his military service as a Staff Sergeant in 1946, honorably discharged with the rank of Technical Sergeant, with the notation for character of service – Excellent.
At age 23 James moved back to Camden, Alabama, to pursue work as a radio technician. That year of 1946 he married Ida Claire Dunn, sister of his older brother’s wife. They moved to Hollywood, California, in 1949 where James attended radio engineering school. He began his own radio & TV repair business with Claire, who did the bookkeeping. Together they raised four children in Pasadena, California. James was a man of God, early on a Baptist, and then in 1954 a follower of Herbert Armstrong in the Radio Church of God, ordained a deacon and then employed by the Worldwide Church of God in 1969. He was ordained an elder in the church, serving as associate pastor in Big Sandy, Texas (1977), then in Anniston, Alabama (1986), and lastly in Dallas, Texas (1988), before retiring at age 68 in 1991. We celebrate the life of James Owen Duke: son, father, husband, grandfather, great grandfather; committed to liberty, risking his very life for his country; committed to love of wife and family; 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.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Owen Duke, please visit our floral store.