Born in Drumheller, Alberta on December 4, 1933 and passed away December 21, 2010 after battling cancer for 6 years. Survived by his loving wife, Janice of 54 years; his 5 children Sherryl Skaalid (Leiv), Jim Duke (Donna), Lori McKinnon (Bing), Bill Duke (Jeanna), Christine Hollins (Clay); 13 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; and sister, Anne Beach; and numerous nieces and nephews.
At age 17, Bill left his home town of Rosedale to attend the University of Alberta where he completed a B.Sc. in 1955, B. Ed in 1956 , M. Ed in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1970.
He started his career as Principal in Edgerton then moved to Innisfail for one year as principal- designate. The family then relocated to Delburne where Bill was Principal for 4 years. The next career change was as Superintendent of High Prairie School Division and then as High School Inspector in Lethbridge. Bill, Janice and family moved to Edmonton in 1968 where Bill completed his Ph. D. and held various positions with the Department of Education ending his career as Associate Deputy Minister of Education in 1990.
Bill joined Western Management Consultants soon after retirement and came to Victoria for a one-year contract however they remained for the past 15 years where Bill taught at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads.
As a life-long learner Bill presented many workshops all over North America and was a respected educator. Many of his students hold his “Billisms” with fond regard. He will be most remembered as a man who held a genuine interest in all his colleagues, students and friends as he treated everyone with good will and integrity. His sense of humour, intellect and love for animals will be missed.
The Duke family would like to thank special friends: Chris Burke, the DeSorcy’s and Pasini’s as well as Janice’s sorority sisters and neighbours.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held on January 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm at OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY CATHOLIC CHURCH, 798 Goldstream Avenue, Langford.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Victoria Hospice, Richmond Pavilion 1952 Bay St. Victoria BC V8R 1J8 or

  • Leo Chaland

    Janice and members of Bill’s family,

    Both Ann and I mourn your loss. Bill was always friendly and filled with good cheer. He had a quick wit and a good heart. We were amazed to see him still attending mass even though he was so obviously quite ill. And despite how he must have been feeling he always bore himself with great dignity and grace. Nor did he complain.

    We will remember him and all of you in our prayers

  • Katherine Hildebrand

    Dear Janice and the Duke family,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you remember your husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and most importantly, a friend and mentor. Bill was everyone’s friend as he welcomed all in in his presence with respect , sincerity and interest. I know he will be missed by all of you in so many different ways because of the special relationships he had with all of you. My wish is that the love you experienced together and enduring memories will help sustain you in the difficult days and times ahead.

    Lori, I am so glad that I had the chance to visit with him on his last visit to the lake.

    With love, Katherine Hildebrand

  • loretta warren

    Sorry i coulded be there
    I have many fond memorys of Bill.
    These are a few of the many good times our family had with Bill Jan. Bill always asked jim to play the gambler it was his favorite country song which Bill sang at one of his kids weddings.
    Then one scarry one was New Years day in Mexico. Bill being the good man said him and i could shop on the way too the boarder then jump back in the car .Will I have never seen so many red cars .So Mr Bill had a plan walked accross then we would go to the police station as they told their kid that is how they would find them. Lucky for us we didint find one as later Jan said we would never looked there so kids good thing you never got lost .

  • Cheryl Thomas

    Janice and family,

    So sorry to hear of Bill’s death. We had many grand times at the Cranbrook residences. Bill was passionate about leadership programs for Educational Administrators and his vision and his persistence made the RRU MBA for Educational Administrators the excellent program it was.

    I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with him. He will be missed.

    Cheryl Thomas

  • Bonnie Hewson (Robertson)

    Dear Janice,
    Your dear husband, the father of your children and grandchildren, a friend to all who had the privilege of meeting Bill, what an amazing individual. My memories are from those years in Delburne and the very positive influence he had on me and so many of my peers during high school. My parents, Georgie and George always held Bill in such high esteem. He was an individual who could relate to all. And Janice thank you for the effort that you and Bill made to attend those Delburne High School Reunions – your presence really added a special touch.
    Sending you loving wishes, holding you in prayer and may the love of family and friends surround and hold you and may you feel comfort and peace.
    Blessings, Bonnie

  • Maurice Grzeda

    To the Duke Family:

    It was with great sadness that I learned of Bill’s passing today. I only knew him for a relatively short time through our work together in the MBA program at Royal Roads. He left a lasting impression on all of us and made it possible for us to feel a tremendous sense of pride in our work. It was a privilege to consider myself among his colleagues.

    My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.



  • Diane Buffel

    To The Duke Family

    I was so sorry to hear of Bill’s death. My prayers will be with you, especially as you celebrate his life on Saturday. I will always remember Bill at Hastings Lake. He made everyone feel welcome at the Duke cabin and was a good friend to all.

    Diane Buffel

  • Dwayne and Lizzamarie Morey

    Dear Lori and Family, we are so sorry to hear of your great loss. Please know that you are in our hearts and our thoughts.

  • Dave and Carole Kerr

    Janice and Family,

    We have thought of you and Bill often and our hearts go out to you and family. I must admit, I am still having trouble getting around the passing of Bill. Even though there were years of no contact, there were many times I referred to Bill as “that great Principal” who came to Delburne. I remember, as many do, our first day of school. We had been told that a new Principal was hired to “clean-up” the place along with new staff. We all sat nervously in the gym and Bill came on stage. Wow, he held our respect from that moment on. He was so fair, kind, and because of him many went on to greater things. We will miss him. He was a great man with so much understanding and direction.

    Bill, you will never be forgotten.

  • Bill Weber

    I was saddened to hear of Bill’s passing. For many years I was fortunate to have worked quite closely with him. He was my Director in the Field Admin, Services branch, then later as an A.D. M. in the same areas of Alberta Education in which I served. He was an excellent boss — always fair and reasonable. He was a true professional . He will be missed by all of us. Bill Weber

  • Cathy & Randy Gobin

    Our hearts go out to you in this time of deep sorrow.
    May your memories give you strength.

  • Cathy & Randy Gobin

    Dear Lori & family,

    Our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow.
    May your memories give you strength.

  • Darlene Pruden(Roguski)

    My sincere sympathy for your loss. I have not seen Dr. Duke for many years but his name still comes up many times at Alberta Education. Many of us remember him as a very kind, sincere man who listened and cared. He was respected by all of us.

    He will be sadly missed but our memories of him will live forever.

  • Corinne and Clinton Blair

    Dear Duke Family.

    May all the great years and fond memories give you strength during this very difficult time.
    Although no words can really help ease the loss, just know that you are very close in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Lyn Boyle

    dear Janice and all the family
    please accept my deepest sympathy,I know you will all miss him terribly.
    Since first meeting Bill and Janice in High Prarie we have kept in contact with visits to NZ and my visits to Edmonton and Victoria. I was always made to feel part of the family with the exception of Goldie!
    He had a place in my heart with his genuine kindness, generosity and wicked sense of humour.
    Arohanui Bill, Lyn

  • Richard Ramsay

    Dear Janice and family
    I was very saddened to hear of Bill’s death. I have always thought of him as a mentor even though I was only there for Grade 11 when he was principal in Edgerton. I often wonder why I didn’t stay for Grade 12 after I knew that Edgerton had returned to having a great principal at the helm. For some reason I was destined to attend Red Deer composite in my brother’s footsteps. I remember my visits to Delbourne in ’62-63, while covering my area for the Red Deer Dept of Public Welfare office. Although our contact was minimal after I returned from McGill and started my career in social work, he was always in my mind as a mentor. When I think of great teachers, I always return to Edgerton – GC Welsh, John Ronjom and Bill Duke. They were the best.
    Many special thoughts are sent your way as you celebrate his life.
    Dick Ramsay

  • Karen Frank Ferguson % family

    Our deepest sympathies and regrets. May he rest in peace.

  • Kelly Anne Huculak

    Dear Jan and Family,
    Your friendships have been such an important part of our life and we’ll remember with fondness and love our time spent with Bill. He had a knack for making you feel like part of the family for sure. We always enjoyed his nostalgic storys or conversation about current events.

    We’ll miss his easy style, quick smile and generous spirit . But without doubt, Bill will continue to be part of the Hastings folklore and campfire stories because that’s how we show our love here at the lake, we talk about you forever.

    With love, Kelly & Jim
    Hastings Lake, AB


    My heart goes out to you and the family, Janice. Even those of us who have not had a lot of recent contact with Bill will miss him dearly.

    I will always remember my days in the Alberta Dept of Education, where John Myroon, Gerry Hawley, and others, worked with Bill Duke on various projects. Prior to that I enjoyed being on a Master’s program at the University of Alberta at the same time as Bill was completing his Ph.D. in Educational Administration.

    Bill’s kindness and thoughtfulness and care for one and all are legendary. It is amazing to me that he could be so respectful to everyone, “high” and “low” alike.

    I said to Bill one day, “You are the only person I know who combines many usually separate traits. You are both very intelligent and very practical; you have both organizational skills and people skills; you have both political skills and business acumen; you have both vision and day-to-day reality knowledge; you both lead and follow, whether it be in relation to your organizational superiors or your subordinates; you care for people in both a professional way and a personal way; you are both a scholar and handyman.”

    Bill nodded humbly. I think he was pleased.

    Bill, I salute you!

    J. Collins Meek, Ph.D.
    Educator and Health Researcher
    Sherwood Park, Alberta

  • William(Bill)Marusy

    Dear Janice and family, I can’t believe that Bill is gone from us.
    Bill and I spent a lot of good times in Rosedale when we were kids.
    I’ll miss your visits and I’m truly sorry that I didn’t come to visit him in Victoria.
    So Long my dear buddy and I hope we get to spend some time together again some day. Adios mi querido amigo.
    Bill Memo) Marusy

  • Bruce and Carole Thom

    Dear Jan and family,
    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. You will all be in our prayers as you spend this special time of year without Bill.
    Sincerely, Bruce and Carole Thom

  • Rod Andrews

    My sincere sympathy to Janice and the family. I was never one of Bill’s students but I wish I had been a student at Delburne School when he was Principal. I met him when I came home for Christmas from the University of Saskatchewan in 1959. He took an interest in everyone, even students at the school before his time.

    After I was ordained and posted to a Lethbridge Church as Assistant Priest Bill’s office was across the street. I would go and visit with him. We formed a lifetime friendship. I spoke at the church service at a Delburne School reunion a few years ago. He complimented me on becoming Anglican Bishop of Saskatoon. I appreciated his kindness, but his interest in me over many years was typical of Bill.

    At the reunion many students spoke about the influence Bill had on them and his part in helping them to achieve success. I recall that several of them became teachers because of Bill’s example.

    I am one of those who will miss Bill.

    Rod Andrews

    The Right Rev. Rodney Andrews, D.D.
    Anglican Bishop of Saskatoon (Retired)

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