Duke dies at 76

Published 4:11 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bogalusa lost a model citizen Monday, when Merlin Duke passed away at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington, at the age of 76.

Duke was chosen as Bogalusa’s Man of the Year in 1974, and was a longtime member of the Bogalusa Rotary Club. In addition to serving as a past president of the club, he was also a Paul Harris Fellow and an assistant district governor.

Duke was a charter member of MCCA, and was MCCA King XVI in 1996.

Larry Miller, president of the Bogalusa Rotary Club, said Tuesday that Duke was a standout member of the civic organization.

“(Merlin) was a very special guy,” Miller said. “He was somebody who truly loved Rotary — what it stood for, and what it does.”

Miller asked for a moment of silence during Tuesday’s club meeting, in Duke’s honor.

Duke was also an active contributor at his church, Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church. He was one of the church’s “50-year-plus” members and was an organizer of the New Day Sunday School class.

The Rev. Bill Moon, pastor of ESM, said that Duke and his wife Eleanor were strong members who contributed anytime they could.

“He was always thinking of ways that the church could help make a difference in our community and beyond,” said Moon, noting that Duke narrated the church’s patriotic service around the Fourth of July earlier this year.

Moon moved to Bogalusa three years ago to begin serving as ESM’s pastor, and he said that the Dukes were some of the first church members to really invite him to be a part of the community.

“Merlin and Eleanor helped open a number of doors for me,” he said. “He invited me to just about everything, and even though I couldn’t attend every event, I appreciated it. I know that he did the same for others as well.

“We haven’t just lost a great church member; we’ve lost a great citizen. Everything that Merlin was involved with — his church, Rotary club, the community — he wanted to participate as much as he could, and also get others to join in.”

For Duke’s complete obituary, see Page 2 of the Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, edition of The Daily News.