Denise Dukeman, who was raised in Easton but lived most of her life in Taunton, passed away early Monday morning, April 1, at Beth Israel Hospital. She was 56 years old. She had been fighting pancreatic cancer for the past three years. Despite the grim survival rate of the disease, Denise exceeded all expectations through her ever-present strength, optimism and determination. She is survived by her parents, William and Evelyn (Baptista) Dukeman; her brothers and sisters; her children, Lauren Gottschaulk , Alison Hayward, Daniel Gottschaulk and Elyse Audette; and her four grandchildren, Onyx, Makalya, Julian and Emrys. Denise's world revolved around her family, and each day renewed her resolve to fight her battle with the disease in order to spend as much time as possible with her loved ones. From the day she was diagnosed, her goal was to live long enough to be the type of grandmother her children grew up with. Although their time together was short, the impact of the memories will last a lifetime. Denise was a lifelong educator, both in and out of the classroom. She was an elementary school teacher in the Taunton Public School system for many years, teaching at both Pole and Bennett Schools. She considered her co-workers, and especially her students, members of her family. Being in the classroom gave her even more of a reason to continue fighting her battle. As a teacher, Denise hoped to be able to positively impact just one student's life. However, year after year, her former students would return to tell her how much she had changed their lives by instilling in them a love for learning. Denise's legacy will live on through her family and her students. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a wake at the Crapo-Hathaway Funeral Home, 350 Somerset Ave. (Rte. 138 South), Taunton, Thursday from 3-8 p.m. There will be a funeral from the Crapo-Hathaway Funeral Home, Friday at 10 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian burial in St. Andrew the Apostle Church, 19 Kilmer Ave., Taunton, at 11 a.m. Interment will be at Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Easton. In lieu of flowers, Denise asked for donations to be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, 1111 Stewart Ave., Bethpage, NY 11714. To light a candle, get directions or to access the memorial register go to www.hathawayfunerals.com.
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Published in The Enterprise on Apr. 3, 2013