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Cornelius News

Former Commissioner Jim Duke has passed away

May 27. James Edward Duke, who served three terms on the Cornelius Town Board, passed away on Friday, May 24 after a brief illness.

He was born in Monterey Park, CA on Sept. 2, 1941.

After graduation from Venice Senior High School, he obtained his undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University and graduate degree from Syracuse University. He was a highly decorated Army officer (helicopter pilot, battalion commander and general’s aide) receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for Valor and the Air Medal for Valor in Vietnam as well as numerous awards for meritorious service and leadership.

He continued to serve his communities through local political involvement in Stafford County, VA as well as serving three terms as a Cornelius town commissioner. He also served throughout the years on various committees—Big Day at the Lake was a favorite.

He was a true patriot and was incredibly proud of his service to our country.

James E. Duke

Jim met his wife Carolyn of 52 years in Texas and together, they blended a family raising three children while Jim’s active-duty military career had them living abroad and throughout the US before settling in the Northern Virginia area after retiring from the military.

Jim then went on to work as a comptroller for the Executive Office of the President in the Pentagon serving two sitting presidents before his second retirement. Jim also had a passion for all things related to golf, politics and family.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father, brother and one sister.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Carolyn Duke, his children, Julio Garcia-Laffite (Lisa Diskin) of Spotsylvania, VA, Melissa Duncan (Keith) of Cornelius, and Josh Duke (Ashley) of Greenville, NC and 10 grandchildren: Amber, Heather, Jon, Ashley, Anna, Abbey, Andrew, Sy, Tate and Anne Price as well as eight great grandchildren. The running joke in the family was how he often started every family gathering with, “I’m so proud!” followed by his signature grin and laughter.

The family is hosting a drop in to celebrate his life Sunday, June 2, 2024 at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius between 11 am and 1 pm; local friends are invited to stop by. Jim will be buried with full military honors in a private family ceremony. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to He Provides 501c3 Childrens Charity. This was a recent project he was working on with his daughter, Melissa, who serves on the charity’s board.

Donation Link: https://heprovides.org/donation/

Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Click here to read one of his columns in Cornelius Today.