Funeral services for Mr. Billy "B.J." Duke, 87, of Nacogdoches will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 2, 2013, at 10:00 AM at Laird Funeral Home with Kenneth Rains officiating. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery. Mr. Duke was born on July 14, 1925, in Pauls Valley, Okla., to the late Robert Sedrick Duke and Clarice Carney Blevins Duke. He passed away on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in Nacogdoches. B.J. served his country in the United States Marine Corps in WWII and the Korean War. After his military career, B.J. worked in the poultry business. He first worked in Minot, N.D., for the Swift Company, where he met his loving wife of 64 years, Helen Grace Blom. While there, the government appointed him as the first director of the North Dakota Poultry Improvement Association. He then went to work as a hatchery manager for Land-O-Lakes and later as the flock manager for Plantation Foods and retired to Nacogdoches. While in North Dakota, he helped start the first branch of the Southern Baptist Church. He enjoyed VFW activities and served for several years as commander of the Nacogdoches post. He also loved raising animals, especially pigs and rabbits. He loved his family and adored his grandchildren. He is survived by his loving wife, Helen Duke; three sons, Billy Mike Duke and wife Jeannie, Thomas W. Duke and wife Sherry and Timothy R. Duke and wife Tracy; two daughters, Deborah A. Day and Jennifer Jo Duke Early and husband Mike; one sister, Bobbie Ann Horton; 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and other extend family and good friends. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Jane C. Duke and one sister, Lola M. Williams. Pallbearers will be Zach Duke, Austin Early, Dashiell House, Tim Latiolais, Will Lane and Dan Singletary. Honorary pallbearers will be member of VFW Post 3893 in Nacogdoches. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 1, 2013, at Laird Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to VFW Post 3893, P.O. Box 630986, Nacogdoches, Texas 75963. The family is deeply grateful to Life Care Hospice and Austin House Assisted Living for their care and support. To convey condolence or sign the online register book, please log onto www.lairdfh.net Laird Funeral Home.
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Published in The Daily Sentinel on Mar. 1, 2013