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The recent death of Dr. Bill Duke, a retired physician, leaves a void in our community, but a great legacy to follow.
Duke practiced medicine for nearly 40 years in Lancaster until retiring about 14 years ago.
During that span, he touched and save countless lives in his dedication to his profession and his patients.
“He was very committed to what he did,” said his son, John Duke. “His care for people – that was the way he thought he could give back to the community.”
It was common for Dr. Duke to leave his home at any hour to do what he could to come to the aid of a patient.
He gave back through his care of patients and also by leading the way for medical progress in Lancaster, like a coronary care unit. He loved Lancaster, a place he lived for 65 years. He sought to make Lancaster a better place to live by pushing for advanced medical facilities and by promoting good health.
Dr. Duke practiced what he preached, taking up golf and enjoying the game as a regular at the Lancaster Golf Club in his retirement years.
Whatever he pursued, Dr. Duke did so with a passion. He was a founding member of Covenant Baptist Church and worked tirelessly to make the church’s ministry a focal point in the community. He was passionate about his faith, reaching out to folks, young and old, in all walks of life.
“He was very committed to the church and the work of the kingdom,” Covenant Baptist minister Dr. Bert Welch said. “He wouldn’t miss a Sunday, or a Wednesday. He was always there. This was his spiritual family.”
His “spiritual family” included teaching Sunday school to middle school boys, working in the church’s free medical clinic and teaching English as a Second Language at Covenant. He did so with the unselfish idea of making life better for others.
He was also active with the Gideons, spreading the message in area churches and giving Bibles to fifth-graders.
“He faithfully went out to the Lancaster Detention Center every Saturday to have devotional and Bible study with inmates,” John Duke said. “Inmates came back years later to thank him for it.”
His work will live on through the lives he touched and the medical innovations he pushed for as well as members of his family, who were quite likely inspired by his example and the love for his profession and fellow man.
Those include his son Wes, a doctor, and daughter, Ann, a nurse. They have an excellent example to follow in their medical careers.
No doubt, Dr. Duke could have probably taken his medical practice any place in this world and been successful. He chose to return to Lancaster and we’re better, in so many ways, he did.
Dr. Duke was certainly a blessing.