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Updated: 02/15/2014 08:00:00AM

Raymond C. Duke

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Raymond C. Duke, D.D.S., died peacefully with his children by his side, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

Born Nov. 20, 1922, in Trenton, Fla., to John Thomas and Idella (Woodard) Duke, Dr. Duke had been a resident of Venice, Fla., since 1934. He graduated from Venice-Nokomis High School, Class of 1940.

In 1943, he was inducted into the U.S. Army, serving in World War II in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre. He was a sergeant in Battery C, 199th Coast Artillery Battalion (automatic weapons), and served in three campaigns, Guadalcanal, Bougainville and Leyte in the Philippines.

After his discharge in 1946, he received his pre-dental education at the University of Florida. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill., in 1953, where he met his beloved wife, Stephanie.

After graduation he was assigned to Japan, where Dr. Duke served in the U.S. Air Force as base dental surgeon. He was discharged in 1955 with the rank of captain.

Dr. Duke returned to Venice, Fla., to practice family dentistry until his retirement in 1984. He will be remembered fondly by generations of Venice area patients.

He was predeceased last year by his devoted wife of 60 years, Stephanie (Kucyk). Survivors include their four children, Janet Duke Baker of Sarasota, Fla., Mary Alice Duke of Venice, Fla., Steven Duke of Bradenton, Fla., and Audrey Duke of Dallas, Texas; four grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews, including Dr. Ronald (Sue) Higel, Joyce (Ben) Norton, Gary (Barbara) Higel and Lynn (Bill) Johnson.

He was predeceased by his parents; four brothers, Herman, Jack, Gerald and Harry; and three sisters, Vera and Mamie Jewel Duke and Francis Higel.

Dr. Duke was a life member of the American Dental Association, the Florida West Coast Dental Association, and the Sarasota-Manatee Dental Society. He was a past president of both the Venice Lions Club and Venice Little League. He was a co-founder in 1946 of the American Legion Post 159 in Venice, as well as a member for many years. He helped found and was a charter member of the Lake Venice Golf Club, as well as a past president of the club.

In his youth, Raymond delivered telegrams by bicycle from the Venice Train Depot. When he and his family moved back from Japan to Venice, they lived in the Higel-Lord house, owned by his sister and brother-in-law, George Higel, at the time.

Services: Graveside services will be held at Sarasota National Cemetery on Friday, March 7, at 1 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Contributions: In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made in Dad’s memory to Venice Heritage Inc., P.O. Box 1190, Venice FL 34284; or Venice Area Old-Timers Picnic, P.O. Box 1997, Venice FL 34284.