Col. (Ret’d) Ronald Humphrey Duke

In Memorial

Duke – Ronald Humphrey, B.Sc., Prof.Eng., CD
March 9, 1925 to January 9, 2011

Ron passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years Patricia, his daughters Laurel (David) and Robyn (Michael),his son David (Vicki), his grandchildren who adored him, Jordan, Nicole, Haley and Emma; brothers Vernon (Audrey) and Peter (Barbara), sister Barbara (Jim), sister-in-law Frances (Paul) and many nieces and nephews.

Ron was born in Edson, Alberta to Charles and Laurel Duke. The family moved to Edmonton and then to Winnipeg. In 1943 Ron enlisted in the Armed Forces. Shortly thereafter, he met and married the love of his life, Pattie. Ron attended the University of Manitoba where he graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemistry, Honours and re-enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. During the next 33 years Ron and his family lived in the U.S.A., Europe and Canada before he retired to Ottawa after attaining the rank of Colonel. One highlight of his military career was serving as the Canadian Military Attache to Yugoslavia and Greece. Ron was never one to sit still and spent many hours as a Boy Scout leader, minor hockey coach and non-stop volunteer serving on many boards and committees. When he retired from the Forces he returned to school where he graduated with a Diploma in Recreation Management from Algonquin College in Ottawa. In 1980 his diploma led he and Pattie across the country to Chilliwack, B.C. where he worked as Director of the Y.M.C.A. for eight years. Ron loved to golf and he spent many hours on the golf course with his friends and family. He also loved to garden both at home and at the Gwynne Vaughan Gardens where he tended to his veggies. A staunch supporter of the Chilliwack Bruins/Chiefs, you could always find him cheering in his reserved seat at the arena. He was a faithful member of the Chilliwack Rotary Club where he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow. His dedication to Rotary was exemplified by his 32 years of perfect attendance. In 1996 Ron was also recognized by the “Independent Senior” newspaper as the “B.C. Senior of the Year”.

Whether it was building an ice rink in the backyard for his kid, starting the St. Thomas Carpet Bowling league, serving as President on the Board of the Senior Resource Centre for 9 years, playing Candyland with his grandkids, reading with Kindergarten students, volunteering at Elder College or helping Pattie design a quilt pattern, he brought to everything he did passion, commitment and loyalty. Never a quiet man, he loved a good joke and laughed loudly and often. He was intensely proud of his wife, children and grandchildren. He also showed a great affection for his children’s pets. He was a man that was never afraid to show his love for his family and he was a man who was admired by all and a mentor to many. He will be missed.

The family would like to thank Dr. Scott Markey, Dr. S. Mawani and the wonderful staff at the Maple Ridge Seniors Village for all the love and care they gave to this wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Messages and remembrances can be sent to

A memorial service will be held at St. Thomas Anglican Church, 46048 Gore Avenue, Chilliwack, B.C. on Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ronald’s memory may be made to The Rotary International Foundation c/o the Rotary Club of Chilliwack or a charity of your choice.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Ramsey & Alison Withers

    Dear Pattie and family,

    Alison joins me in offering our most sincere condolences. At the same time, we join in celebrating the life of a fine officer and gentleman who gave so much to Canada and, in particular, the communities in which his leadership always enriched people’s lives.

    We have fond memories of 53 Breddestrasse those many years past as our children grew up. After the sea trip home and two years at the CASC our paths diverted and we did not meet again until Victoria, a few years ago.

    Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Ramsey and Alison

  2. Dear Pattie and Family:
    Sylvia and I send our heartfelt condolences on the passing of a wonderful family man, officer and gentleman. I had the great privilege of serving with and for Colonel Ron Duke staring in Gordon Head Barracks, Victoria, BC in 1951. Our paths did cross again in Ottawa when Ron was a Director of Engineering and I had the great pleasure of serving on his staff. Sylvia and I will always remember our meetings in Lahr in the mid 70’s during my posting to Germany when he and Pattie would travel from his position as a military attache in Europe. The family can be assured that their loss will be shared by many. Harry and Sylvia

  3. Dear Aunt Pat, Laurel, Robyn and David
    We were so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband and dad. He was such a wonderful person. He had a knack of always making you feel that he was glad to see you, and always making an event happier because he was there. I remember how brave he was too. Once he single-handedly took 5 little girls downtown shopping and bought them their first malteds at the Bay (that was us, remember?. You have our deepest sympathy as you deal with this loss.
    Paula & Michael

  4. Dave and Tannis Walters

    Dear Pat. We were very saddened to hear of Ron’s passing and want to send our heartfelt condolences to you, Laurel, Robyn and David and the grand children. We know that you all will miss him terribly. We have the warmest memories from our time together in Hemer; those two beautiful little girls, Laurel and Robyn who knew their boundaries but would assert “we’re allowed” to us newly-wed babysitters; the bridge games where Ron would get us all confused and arguing among ourselves, which resulted in the two of you always winning, and Ron laughing and cackling loudly. He really put up a good fight and will be remembered by all as a strong and good man. Love from Dave,Tannis,Robyn, David and Nancy.

  5. Although I did not know Ron well or for a long time, he was always a delight to deal with in my business. Ron used our banquet facilities on a couple of occasions in booking functions for his group. Ron had an exceptional manner of friendliness and left an impression very few people do today.
    I thank you, Ron, it was a pleasure knowing you…
    My condolences to his family.
    Roy @ Banners Restaurant/Chilliwack

  6. Dear Pattie,
    Ron was a positive force who made a real difference in this world.
    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  7. Antoinette Mayer

    Patti and the Duke family,

    So sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. I have many fond memories of his efforts to provided activities and support for Seniors. He always was there for me when I was working with him at the Chilliwack and District Seniors Resources Society. The Seniors of Chilliwack were the real beneficiaries of his work on our Board.

    Antoinette Mayer

  8. Ben and Birgitta Marklund

    Dear Laurel and Dave,

    Sorry to hear of your father’s passing. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

    Ben and Birgtta

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