Stephanie (Grant) Duke
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Stephanie Grant Duke (78), of Medina, died Sunday, March 21, 2010 at the Cleveland Clinic. Born in England, Stephanie immigrated to the United States on March 10, 1950 and married her pen friend Paul M. Duke who preceded her in death in 2008. Over two years Paul in the U.S. and Stephanie in England, wrote hundreds of letters to each other until they met and married in 1950. They built and lived in an English Cotswold Cottage for more than fifty years in Granger Township. Stephanie first worked as a secretary for General Tire and then for B.F. Goodrich in Akron during the 1950's and 1960's. She was determined to earn her college degree and did so by working at the University of Akron Institute For Civic Education while at the same time taking evening classes at the University over many years, working full time and raising three children.

After earning her B.A. in 1970, Stephanie taught at Archbishop Hoban High school in Akron. She continued her education and earned her M.A. in History from the University of Akron in 1974 and began a rewarding career teaching in the History Department at the University of Akron and English at Kent State University until she retired in 2000. During her many years in the classroom she enriched the lives of thousands of students with her enthusiastic and caring approach.

Stephanie believed strongly in the equal rights of all Americans. Because of her conviction she was active in the civil rights movement in the 1960's and 1970's. She took part in marches and rallies to help give voice to the need for social justice.

In her retirement Stephanie built a close association with her beloved friends in the local chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She was able to share with them her love of theater, art, music and literature. They in turn offered their love, support and help during her illness, and to them, the family is eternally grateful.

Stephanie leaves behind, son and daughter-in-law, Philip and Kim Duke of Medina; her daughter, Wendy Duke of Akron; son, Paul Duke, Jr.; and granddaughters, Julia (Andrew) Young of Medina and Jennifer Duke of Columbus; great-grandsons, Benjamin and Noah Young of Medina; and her sister, Sonia (Peter) Wakely of Whitchurch-on-Thames, England.

Stephanie graciously left her body to the Cleveland Clinic so that, like in life, her death may help students learn and grow. A memorial remembrance will be scheduled at a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Akron Beacon Journal from Mar. 23 to Mar. 24, 2010.
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37 entries
June 6, 2015
I am so sad to learn of Stephanie's passing. I was a customer in the bookstore and did some Jane Austen events with Stephanie. Recently I recommended the book Dear Stephanie, Dear Paul to a friend from Georgia who married her English penpal. She loved the book and did a blogpost about it at

trying to find contact information for Paul and Stephanie led to my discovering the information about their deaths. They were both very special people who gave so much to the world!
Kristi Jalics
August 9, 2014
From Agnes to the family of my dear friend,Stephanie. We meet at an NEH summer program held at a college in Virginia and were "pals" throughout the the summer. We later traveled to England -- my first trip to Europe and the beginning of establishing contact with my mother's family in Scotland.
Stephanie and I shared a love of teaching. I'm sure that many "former students" also have happy memories of Mrs. Duke!
Agnes Dailey, 41 Meadowbrook Road, Brunswick, ME 04011
PS We are next door to a great neighbor, Bowdoin College. August 2014
Agnes Daliey
April 12, 2014
I am sorry I am late in my condolences. I did not know that Mrs. Duke had passed. I think often of her when I am writing. Her expository prose class challenged me exceedingly. Before her class, I had only written with research in mind for my English classes. Writing had always been so much more, but I didn't have much confidence in what I wrote. She helped us develop into storytellers in our own rights. May God bless and keep near to her loved ones and friends. She has no doubt left quite a legacy. <3 Susan Mather Barone, Kent State University, '94, '98
Susan Mather Barone
November 12, 2012
Thedford, Ontario.
November 12th, 2012
I am broken hearted.I have been thinking about my dear friend Stephanie almost every day these last years. I did not understand why she did not answer my emails.
Today I finally got the idea to look at google, and found out that she died in 2010.
Paul and Stephanie were dear friends, who we met at a local country summer theater. We learned from their enormous interests in many things, especially writing, history, music.
We loved their visits.
May they rest in peace.
Jan and Miep Verkley, Thedford Ontario
February 8, 2011
Paul and Steph were a real find,as every year when bonanza weekend came in our B&B, first on the farm now town.We were a big family of 10 every year for 10 or more years.I will tell Eric Coates at Blyth Festival.Our belated sympathy to you her familyEmerson and Phyllis Mitchell,Brussels.Ont.519-887-6697.How she loved Ontario
May 6, 2010
Dear Wendy and family,
I was very distressed to learn of the passing of Stephanie. She was a mentor, friend and fellow activist. I will always remember her forthrightness, wisdom, and lovely sense of humor. The memorial service was beautiful; thanks to everyone who made it happen.
lyn broach
April 30, 2010
I'm very sorry to here of your loss. You are in my thoughts at this difficult time.
Tom Hurray
April 12, 2010
I just found out about Mrs.Duke's passing, and am deeply saddened. I had her as a teacher my jumior year at Hoban. And of all my time there, she was one of my favorite teachers. But what I remember most is one time in the library. I was studying and some other students were being rowdy and fooling around. Mrs. Duke stopped what she was doing, came over and corrected these students--"Don't waste your God given talent!" I think about that day often. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, Mrs. Duke.
Hoban Alumni ('85)
March 26, 2010
Dear Wendy, Nancy and I send you and your family our most heartfelt sympathy at this difficult time. Although we only met your mother a few times, she was clearly an extraordinary woman. You are much in our thoughts and prayers. Randy and Nancy
March 25, 2010
My condolences, prayers, and best wishes to Mrs. Duke's family and friends. I can remember her to this day and and saddened to hear of her passing.

--Eric Johnson (Hoban '86)
Eric Johnson
March 25, 2010
Dear Wendy and Family,
We are sorry for you loss. Your mother did quite alot in her life. What a gift she was to this world. It is obvious that she loved life and learning. You can see the joy in her face. Her legacy certainly shines through Wendy. Thank you for sharing a bit of her with all of us Wendy.
I hope your memories will be sweet and bring you love and laughter.
DJ Maggio
March 24, 2010
We will miss my mom so much. In recent months we spent time with her almost every day. She loved her new flat in Medina and wanted so much to enjoy the lake, the trees and the waterfowl that congregated on the water. It was not to be and we are left to live life without her. From all the comments left on this page, I think it is fair to say that Stephanie touched the lives of more of us than we knew. Our world is better that she was here and that is for sure! Perhaps she is in Plato's world of Forms, or some libary with Paul reunited in bliss. We love you Mother.
Philip Duke
March 24, 2010
Dear Wendy & family,

It is so nice to read what a wonderful life your mother lead. She is admired in many ways. May her giving spirit live on in you and your family.
Sarah Core
Sarah Core
March 24, 2010
Wendy, Philip, all the Duke Family,

I first met Stephanie in 1963. I was last with her in October 2008 in London. We had a lifelong friendship. The influence that she and Paul had on my life is too broad and deep to describe here. I grieve with you and will find the strength to write you about your wonderful mother at another time. True to her beliefs her entire life, she will not be forgotten.

Love and sympathy to her children and her sister.
Jim Mingle
March 24, 2010
Just a note of Thanks to a life well spent.
An African-American stranger
March 24, 2010
Dear Phil & Kim Duke and Family,

We are so sorry to hear about your loss. You and your family are in our prayers. We never had the priveldge of meeting Stephanie but she sounds like a remarkable women who will be missed dearly.

Michael & Theresa Hardman - Hempstead, Texas
March 24, 2010
Dear Phil & Kim, we are very sorry for you loss. Know that you and your family are in our prayers.
Love and Prayers,
Brent & Dana Gary
Brent & Dana Gary
March 24, 2010
So sorry that Stephanie has left us. I knew her for just a while and determined she was "One Fine Lady". God Bless all her extended family who will certainly miss her but can remember all the good she created in her lifetime.
Uncle Earl
Earl Gary
March 24, 2010
Thanks for sharing this. Now I understand the influence that set Phil on his path of education and sharing. I know this is a difficult time but what a wonderful life Stephanie made for herself.

As an aside, having been to the Cotswold's I can picture the home but would love a drive by next time in Cleveland
Rich Ream
March 24, 2010
Dear Duke family
John & I are so sad together with you all & know you will be hurting right now with the shock of Steph's sudden passing. But we smile at our memories of her - such a brave, positive, loving person who holds a special place in our hearts. So do you all. One good thing - we have been brought together through her passing.
Much love and prayers,
John & Hilary &Hilary is Steph's first cousin)
John & Hilary Hield
March 23, 2010
Dear Kim and Phil, She sounds like a truly remarkable and grand lady. A true pioneer for women as well! Bust most importantly, a wonderful mother and grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Laurie and Jason McCourt
March 23, 2010
Dear Wendy and family,
Our thoughts are with you during this sad time. We remember meeting your Mom several times when you came to shows and she was always a bright light in the audience. Let us know if you need anything. You have all of our love and support, Jim and Jairo
Jim/Jairo Slowiak/Cuesta
March 23, 2010
Dear Duke Family,
I had the best time working with your mom at the University. She has always stayed in my memory and in my heart.
I hope you all are holding up and know that your mom and dad are in my prayers.
Mike Rossano
March 23, 2010
Dear Philip, Kim, Wendy & family, we feel priviliged to be members of your family. Being first cousins Stephanie and I had a very warm relationship. As you know this also included your father. They were both very special people with whom we spent many happy occasions regardless of where we were.

We offer you our sincere condolences and may you find solace in knowing that she is now at peace.

Ruth & Bryan Gollop Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
March 23, 2010
Wendy and Family,
I am very sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you and your family.
Sarah Christman
March 23, 2010
Dear Wendy and Phil & family,

Your mom has been one of the greatest influences in my life. She was my friend, co-worker, mentor and guiding light. Even though I moved from Akron 13 years ago, we kept in touch by email and phone. She always took time to share her thoughts with me on so many different subjects that we both held dear. I last spoke with her just before she moved from her beloved Cotswold Corner, which was never the same after your dad's departure.

I miss both of them and shall always treasure the memories of many hours spent surrounded by books in their home. In tribute, I hope that in some way, my life will reflect a fraction of what they exemplified -- an appreciation for all of the good in humanity and the quest to share its benefits with all.
Susan Judge
March 23, 2010
Wendy & family--
Your Mum was a refreshing and wonderful lady! I am so sorry for your loss. I can't express how much I adored her myself & I will remember her fondly throughout my life. Her smile was infectious and her wisdom appreciated. Love to you!
Teresa Hurray
March 23, 2010
Wendy and family,
From reading about your mother, she sounds like she was a truly extraordinary person! Lydia and I are so sorry for your loss.
Laura Sherman
Laura Sherman
March 23, 2010
To the Duke Family,
Stephanie was one of my favorite teachers at the University of Akron. Also, I had the privilege to hear her and your father narrate a program from their book "Dear Stephanie/Dear Paul" at the library where I work. She was an amazing woman. You are in my prayers.
Cathy Morgan
March 23, 2010
Wendy and family:

Sending gentle and healing thoughts. We are sorry for your loss. Peace, The VanWinkle-Bright's
March 23, 2010

The Euell family would like to ensure you that you are in our heart-felt prayers and that we are touched by the beauty of your mothers life. Please know that we love you and appreciate the legacy your family has contributed to the students that come your way.
Veronica Euell
March 23, 2010
Dear Wendy,
We are so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. She sounded like a truly wonderful and giving person! Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Michell Nusbaum, Nicholas & Sydnie Rosenfeld
Michelle Nusbaum
March 23, 2010
I'm so sorry she is gone, amazing how much I can miss someone I never even met. She sounds like quite a woman.
Kevin Horn
March 23, 2010
Duke Family-I remember having Stephanie as my English literature teacher my Sophomore year at Hoban. With her enthusiastic teaching, she really made the stories that we were studying come alive. Teachers like her are few and far between.
May God hold you in His arms during this time of grief. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless
Sharon (Brown) Ulman
Archbishop Hoban High-Class of 1986
Sharon Ulman
March 23, 2010
Dear Wendy,
Your mother sounded like a wonderful person that contributed so much to everyone around her. I can see a lot of her in you. Please take confort in knowing how many lives she touched.
Cyndy Hartline
March 23, 2010
Wendy and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you all.
Diane Thanasiu
March 23, 2010

Lynda and I are away from home and will not be back in time to offer our personal condolences to you. Please know, however, that we were sorry to hear of your mother's passing.

As you know, your mom and I worked together at the University nearly forty years ago when she was at with ICE and Continuing Education. There was not doubt then that she would become the educator she dreamed to become. She was an outstanding woman with a family that will live on in her tradition.

Caesar and Lynda
Caesar Carrino
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