James Martin Duke, 72, longtime Chelsea/Big Cabin area rancher, died Thursday (July 23) at the VA medical Center in Muskogee from covid-19 and existing medical conditions.
He was born Nov. 27, 1947, to Martin and Pauline Duke of Perryton, TX. In 1957, the family moved to their ranch between Chelsea and Big Cabin. Mr. Duke graduated from Chelsea High School in 1966 and was a student at Oklahoma Panhandle College when he accepted the call to duty in the U.S. military in 1967. He served as a Staff Sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam until 1969 when he was honorably discharged. The many friendships and associations formed in those years were important to him for the remainder of his life. Among the medals he received were the Purple Heart, National Defense Service, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, Army Commendation and the Air medal.
Mr. Duke rejoined his parents in managing the family cow/calf ranch for several years before earning an associate degree in Computer Science in 1985 from Rogers State University. He was a partner in Chelsea Software, which developed customized hardware and software for small businesses. He returned to full time ranching in the early 1990s.
He participated in many community activities in the Rogers/Craig County area through the years. His favorite pastime was mounted cowboy shooting in which he earned titles at events in several Southwestern states.
He married in 2004 and divorced in 2015.
In 2018, he moved to the Claremore Veterans Nursing Home, needing their special care in his long battle with Parkinson's and PTSD.
Mr. Duke was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Vivian Black, Big Cabin. He is survived by a sister, Virginia Duke, Amarillo, TX; a niece, Elizabeth Black, Big Cabin; a great-nephew, Larry Dudley, Claremore; a great-great-niece, Abigail Dudley, Vinita; his aunts, Mary Hummer and Martha Hall, both of Amarillo, TX; many cousins in Oklahoma and Texas, and a host of service friends throughout the United States.
Viewing will be at the Luginbuel Funeral home in Vinita Tuesday, July 28, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Funeral services will be 2:00 pm Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at the Luginbuel Chapel. Family and friends are encouraged to add their signatures to special thank you letters to the Muskogee VA Medical Center and the Claremore Veterans Nursing Home. These will be available during viewing and memorial services.
Graveside services and interment will be 2:00 pm Thursday, July 30, 2020 at the Fort Sill National Cemetery, Elgin.
Anyone wishing to make a memorial honoring Mr. Duke may wish to consider the 101st Airborne Division Vietnam Veterans, 3570 Green View Parkway, Sumter, SC 29150-7066, the Oklahoma chapter of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, or the Claremore Veterans Nursing Home.
Online condolences may be left at www.honoringmemories.com or on our Luginbuel Funeral Home Facebook page. Services are under the direction of Luginbuel Funeral Home, Vinita, Oklahoma.