Athens - Leroy Dukes, a successful Athens businessman and community volunteer, who was a member of Vince Dooley's first Georgia team, died Friday after an extended illness.
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A native of Patterson, Ga., Dukes was a '65 graduate of the University of Georgia. He lettered three years ('62-'64) for the Bulldogs and served as an assistant freshman coach in 1965.
Born Sept. 13, 1939, Dukes entered the Air Force after finishing high school. Following graduation at Georgia, with a B.S. in Education, he became the recreation director at Wayne County in Jesup. Subsequently, in 1969, he took over as head football coach and athletic director at Appling County High in Baxley.
In 1971, he entered the real estate business in Athens with Southern Realty which was the start of a successful business career. At Southern Realty, he was a member of the Athens Realtors Million Dollar Club. In 1977, he became a partner and general manager of the Ramada Inn on Broad Street in Athens, where he became a fixture and genial host for over thirty years.
Early on in his professional life, he became an active community volunteer working diligently with a number of projects, affiliations and charities in Athens, and the University of Georgia, including serving as president or chairman of the following organizations: Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Athens City Club, Athens Touchdown Club, Athens Country Club, Athens Area All-Star Committee, Georgia Athletic Agent's Regulatory Commission, Clarke County Classic Center Authority, UGA Letterman's Club & Georgia Ramada Managers Association.
He was also an enthusiastic supporter of AAU swimming and AAU track and field. He was a member of several boards including: Bank South, Hope Haven School, the State Recreation Board and Athens Area Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of Gridiron and treasurer of the College of Education, UGA Alumni Association. Early in his professional career, he was a member and officer of the Jaycees and the Exchange Club.
As a coach, he managed teams that won state championships in track, swimming and baseball. He served as chairman of the 20th and 25th anniversary tributes to Georgia coach Vince Dooley. A fine amateur golfer, Dukes was a member of the University of Georgia President's Club.
The Georgia Athletic Coaches Association honored him for its Distinguished Service Award and the Sam Burke Award. He was awarded life membership in the GACA in 1991. He was also honored for his service to high school athletics by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Davis Dukes of Athens; David (Evelyn) Dukes of Atlanta; Meg Dukes of Statesboro; Drew Dukes of St. Simons Island; granddaughter, Katie Dukes; brother, Charlie Dukes of Rincon; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial Services will be 11 a.m., Monday, September 8, 2008 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The family will receive guests immediately following the service in the church Common Room.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Georgia Letterman's Educational Foundation and Toys for Tots.
Bernstein Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Sept. 7, 2008