Donald “Dean” Duke died Friday in Newton at 89 years old.
He was born in McPherson on Feb. 27, 1930 to Donald Vear Duke and Augusta Riffel Duke. He spent his early years in Durham and graduated from Durham High School in 1947. He was baptized in the Kleiber pond and joined the First Baptist Church in Durham in 1948.
Dean attended McPherson College in 1947-1948. The following year Dean began working at Tip Top Dairies in Hillsboro for 50 cents an hour making butter and ice cream. When he received a raise to 54 cents an hour, he married his high school sweetheart.
On Dec. 20, 1948, he married Joyce Gloreen Janzen at the First Baptist Church in Durham. To this union was born three daughters, Anita Joy, Debra Lynne, and Kimberly Kaye.
In 1950, at the age of 20, he started working for the Marion County Health Department where he inspected water supplies, restaurants, slaughterhouses and foster care homes. He also inspected milk sheds: Wolf Creamery in Marion and Franz Dairy in Hillsboro. In 1951, there was a flood and the Health Office in Marion was filled with water. Many records were ruined and hauled to the dump. Dean was in charge of directing flood cleanup including making sure wells were sanitized.
He transferred to the Kansas State Department of Agriculture, Dairy Division in 1970. He became Milk Sanitation Rating Officer in 1986, and was responsible for conducting interstate milk shipper surveys on Grade A dairy farms and Grade A milk plants, traveling across Kansas and overseeing nine field supervisors who assisted him. He enjoyed the travel, always wanting to see what was “over the next hill.”
In 1992, he received the Outstanding Dairy Industry Award for his contribution to the dairy industry in Kansas. In 1993, he retired with 43 years of service.
Retirement brought more time for his hobbies of fishing, hunting and traveling. Dean prided himself on having visited all 50 states. Annual family vacations included travel to Oklahoma, Missouri and Colorado, often sleeping in vans or a travel trailer. Most recent trips were family reunions to Texas and South Dakota.
Retirement also brought the opportunity to enjoy morning and afternoon coffee with his local coffee buddies at Ampride.
His parents, and one daughter, Debra Duke May, preceded Dean in death.
Dean leaves to mourn his passing his wife of 70 years, Joyce, of the home; brother Gene (Shirley) Duke of Durham; daughter Anita (Eddie) Schmidt of Durham; daughter Kimberly (Rod) Sondergard of Wichita; son-in-law Steve (Missy & daughter Hannah) May of Marion; grandchildren Melinda Schmidt, Jason (Denise) and Jeremy (Amanda) May, Matthew (Jessica) Sondergard and Sarah (Christian) Hansen; as well as great-grandchildren Paige, Taylor and Jayden May; and Colt and Walker May.
Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Zeiner Funeral Home in Marion. Graveside service will be 9:30 a.m. Friday at Marion Cemetery, with a memorial service following at 11:00 at First Baptist Church in Durham.
Memorials for Dean may be given to the First Baptist Church.