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Duke, Sr., James H.

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February 19, 1924 - November 25, 2014

Duke, Sr., James H.

James “Harold” Duke peacefully left this physical existence on Nov 25, 2014 and went to join others that have gone before him.  He was born February 19, 1924 in rural west Tennessee, the second of seven children.  They were a family of farmers and he had many stories about those years.

In 1944, he enlisted for the United States Army Air Corps.  Knowing he would be called by draft soon anyway, he decided to go ahead and volunteer. He did his basic training in Miami, Florida, and was sent to England and France.  He was back in San Antonio, Texas when he heard the news that the war was over.

Immediately after service to his country, he enrolled in college thanks to the GI bill. He attended University of Tennessee at Martin for two years, and then progressed on to University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he graduated with a degree in agriculture with teaching certification. He went to southern Indiana to teach, where he met Madonna Traylor, whom he married and was her husband for 63 years.

Teaching was not his calling, so he applied to and was accepted into Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, Alabama, one of only two admissions from Tennessee (Tennessee did not have a vet school then).  It was also during this time he joined the Masonic Lodge.

After graduation from Veterinary school, he was involved in a few private practices but found his permanent professional home with the Federal Government, USDA branch.  His position at retirement was Assistant Federal Veterinarian for the State of Tennessee.

After he retired in 1990, he spent time with family, children, grandchildren, and doing mechanical and construction projects around the house. He had a few hobbies including wine making, woodworking, amateur ham radio, and curing country hams.  Most things he could fix or build himself since he had acquired skills with carpentry, electrical, and refrigeration projects.

He leaves behind wife Donna, son Jimi (Donna), daughter Jo (Rick) and three grandchildren.

His wishes were to be cremated and no funeral; ashes will be interred at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your charity of choice on his behalf.

ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home

19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252




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November 13, 2015 1:04PM

Ashes interred at Dallas Veteran and Cemetary on Nov 12, 2015.

Teresa Ann Duke Holimon

December 20, 2014 7:28PM

Donna, Jimmy and Sister,
Another sad day with his passing. I enjoyed getting to know Harold after he moved his family to the Nashville, TN area where he and Donna could attend more of the Duke family functions. I hope he and you Donna also enjoyed those times. Harold is the first of Uncle Luther and Aunt Beadie family to leave us and Harold will be missed. Very sorry for Jimmy and sister and family during this time. We (the Carlos Duke family) remembered him last weekend at our Duke family Christmas. Take care of yourselves during the upcoming holidays and winter months. Teresa Ann Duke Holimon (daughter of Van and Mary L. Duke and sister of Johnny L. Duke)

Alex C. George

December 04, 2014 11:00AM

I was blessed to know James Duke Sr. thru my affliation with his son and daughter n law Jimi and Donna. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace. Love and Prayers, Alex & Donna George

Travis Lewis

December 03, 2014 8:30PM

I met Brother Duke only a couple of times, however I was raised close to his parents, who truly were model neighbors and citizens. The caption of his life shown above surely tells the All-American story. He was a faithful steward of his heritage and has now entrusted it to worthy children and grandchildren. Carry it well. Until we can meet again in a far better land, may God rest his soul.
Travis Lewis
PM, Cheap Valley Masonic Lodge, F&AM
Lexington, TN 38351