Duke, Tonna N.

August 31, 1943 - August 26, 2021

Beloved mother, teacher, coach and friend, Tonna Nan Taylor Duke returned to the home of her Lord and Savior on August 26, 2021.  She was born in Hope, Arkansas on August 31, 1943.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Audrey Taylor of Hope, Arkansas, and her husband Coach George Winston Duke of Richardson, Texas.  She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Dee Ann and Chuck Hirsch, and grandson Cole Hirsch, all of Arlington, Texas; sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Chuck Brown of Springfield, Missouri; niece and her husband, Chonna and Matt Patterson of Ozark, Missouri; and Tonna’s faithful companion, Bella. She also had special relationships with her brothers-in-law, Joe Duke (Hope, Arkansas) and Johnny Duke (Jacksonville, Arkansas) and their wives and families; and sister-in-law, Judy Duke (Hope, Arkansas); and many other cousins, nieces and nephews.

She was active in numerous organizations including: Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) where she served in numerous capacities including the Richardson Retired School Personnel President and Foundation Representative, District President and Legislative Chair, and State Legislative Coordinator; Richardson Women’s Club where she served as 1st Vice President, Women’s Club Charitable Foundation Board, Chair of the Community Affairs Committee, and Co-Chair of the Afternoon Tea Division; Iota Nu Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma where she served as President.

Tonna was a member of the First Baptist Church of Richardson and enjoyed participating and teaching in the Living Stones Sunday School Class, The Goldenaires (Senior Adult Choir), Prison Ministry, and Celebration Choir.  She is much loved and respected by colleagues for her tireless work with TRTA.  She embraced her passion for teaching and leading others by serving as a voice with the Texas Legislature on behalf of her fellow educators. She was a force for change and shining example of compassionate mentorship to others.

As a leader of young women, Tonna served as the Women’s Track and Field Coach at Richardson High School where she was also a health teacher.  Her track teams won many championships and provided a training ground for future female leaders.  She also coached internationally for International Sports Tours, leading elite-level, amateur athletes on competitive track and field tours throughout Europe.  In 2000, she retired from Richardson Independent School District as the Assistant Director of Athletics.

Tonna’s many accomplishments are eclipsed only by her impact on the lives of others; she had a particular talent for recognizing the value of those surrounding her. Tonna enjoyed spending time with her ladies tea group, special friends and family, and with her flowers; she will be remembered as a faithful Christian woman who leaves a legacy of service to thousands of individuals touched throughout her life.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10 a.m. in the Worship Center of the First Baptist Church, 1001 N. Central Expressway, Richardson, Texas 75080 on Friday, September 17, 2021.


Under the direction of

Aria Cremation Service and Funeral Home

1820N. Belt Line Road

Irving, TX 75061

(972) 607-4400

13 replies on “Duke, Tonna N.”

Thalia F. Matherson says:

Tonna and I met through TRTA District 10 as we worked for the benefit of all retired school personnel. I really appreciated the dedication and capability of Tonna as the passionately worked with legislation matters. So much so, that I asked and she graciously served as the Legislative Committee of District 10 while I was the President. I along with many others will miss Tonna Duke very much, and I thank God that Tonna and I had the opportunity to have our paths meet. Sincere condolences to the family.

Cynthia Hawkins-Bowland says:

My condolences to the family; Tonna did so much for retired public school employees in her role as Legislative Chair for TRTA. She taught us a lot, but of course, she was obviously an excellent teacher. Tonna touched many lives in such a positive way.

Paula Miller says:

Tonna was a force to be reckoned with‼️I respected and admired her as a colleague in TRTA. As a DKG sister we had another connection. May she Rest In Peace, then rise in glory. Praise he to God. Amen

Joe Mac Young says:

Tonna was my 1st cousin and always full of life and joy. Tonna loved to joke around and tell jokes. At times around around family holiday she would put her finger in unusual places.
I loved her alot she was very fun to be around.
Tonna will be greatly missed.

Dale Howard says:

Tonna was an extraordinary advocate for TX retired public school teachers for over 20 years as she worked to preserve their state pension and health insurance. I was very fortunate to be able to work with her, and learn how to convey our needs to the legislators, then to energize the retirees to do the same. She wasn’t intimidated by any offial, and knew most on a first name basis.

She served on the TX Retired Teachers Association State Legislative Committee from 2011-2020,the last two as the Chair. Few have been so dedicated to our cause.

She was very special, and blessed many of us with her friendship.

Anne Foster says:

I am saddened to learn of the loss of this great lady! She and Coach Duke were legends at Richardson High School and in the Richardson Independent School District. I will always be grateful for their tremendous contributions there. I just read about so many other things that she did that I did not know about. What a life well-lived and what a wonderful legacy she leaves. Prayers for her beloved family.

Kelly A. Atkins says:

She could see your light. And she was(and is) a very bright light herself. So beautiful, fun, hilarious, loving, & nurturing. Godspeed.

Velma’s schaferling says:

I remember Tonna in 80 81 . My daughter ran track! We were all so fond of her! God have mercy on her soul!

Viva Wilson says:

So sorry to hear of Tonna’s passing. She was my sister in the Iota Nu chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma which is an international honor society for women educators. She was well respected by many in RISD. Sincere condolences to her family & loved ones.

Kim Atkins says:

I was lucky to have Mrs. Duke as my 9th grade Speech teacher, in the 1973-1974 school year. I will Always remember Mrs. Duke’s Beaming, smiling face, and Uninhibited Laughter coming from the back of the room, where she sat attentive while I (and all the other kids in the class) ‘delivered’ speeches. Her Loving Support in the form of what felt like her delight in whatever i was talkin’ about, or performing or sharing changed me deep inside. I always wanted to perform, to make people laugh, to share my perspective, and Mrs. Duke received, received, received me in such a way and showered me with praise and laughter that i felt validated, and loved, and Funny. True Gift of a lifetime for which I’m so thankful to have received from her. All my love and deepest condolences to Dee Ann and all her family and friends. ♥️

Susanne Sims Gallizzi says:

Coach Duke was a beacon of light for me in High School. She was so uplifting for a troubled teen girl. I know you have lost a true Diamond in your family. My sincere condolences.

Patricia Roberts says:

I will always have a special place in my heart and life for Mrs. Duke. She is the one who got me into running. I will forever be greatful. I am so sorry for the loss.

Sarah Scott says:

Both Tonna and Winston Duke were role models for us all…students, teachers, administrators. They were honest, kind, hard-working folks who made everyone who touched their lives a little better and a lot stronger, and they enjoyed every minute and always had a twinkle in their eye. How lucky to call them friends. We all miss them, their support, love and guidance. ❣️Scotty

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