Deacon John C. Duke was born to the late John and Dorothy Duke in Mobile, Ala., on Nov. 5, 1929. He passed away at Saline Memorial Hospital on Jan. 23, 2014, surrounded by his loving family.
John was preceded in death by his son, Bobby Duke.
He served in the U.S. Navy and worked for Alcoa for 42 years. He graduated from Springhill College in Mobile, Ala., and transferred from Mobile to the Alcoa plant in Bauxite in 1960. Upon retiring from Alcoa, he was ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church and served at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Benton. He also served as Arkansas’ Diaconate Director for five years.
The last 27 years of John’s life were characterized by service to alcoholics, addicts, and individuals in troubled marriages and families in crisis, and in counseling those with financial difficulties. He served as a chaplain for the Saline County Ministerial Alliance, delivering death announcements, grieving with suffering families, and taking care of the transient and homeless.
His civic service included 13 years on the Saline Memorial Hospital Board of directors and two terms as chairman of the Saline County United Way.
His main focus in life was to do the will of God and build up the Kingdom of Heaven whenever, wherever and to whomever that led him.
John is survived by his wife of 63 years, Annette "Nettie" Duke; his children, John Duke, Mike Duke and wife Stephanie, Mark Duke and wife Kathy, Darlene Brown and husband Ralph, Vincent Duke and wife Lorri, and Marie Duke; 11 grandchildren, Shelby Duke, David Duke, Amy Wolf, Eric Brown, Jeremy Massey, Bobby Massey, Brian Duke, Dr. Julie Duke, Crystal Lucas, Jacob Duke and Coco Rhodes; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous other family members and friends.
A rosary service is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, 900 W. Cross St. in Benton. Following the service, visitation will be held at the church.
John’s Mass of Resurrection will be held at Our Lady of Fatima at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 27, with the Rev. Y.C. Irudayaraj and Deacon John Marcheski officiating. Burial will follow at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander. Serving as pallbearers are his grandsons: David Duke, Jeremy Massey, Bobby Massey, Eric Brown, Brian Duke and Jacob Duke.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Our Lady of Fatima School Fund, 900 W. Cross St., Benton, AR 72015; Christian Community Care Clinic, 220 W. South St., Benton, AR 72015; or Churches Joint Council on Human Needs (CJCOHN), 103 E. Elm St., Benton, AR 72015.
Online guestbook www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/ballard .