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Virginia Carter


1945 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Virginia Carter Obituary
DUKE, Virginia Earl Carter Virginia Earl Carter Duke was born on August 6, 1945 to Grace Ruth Thompson Carter and Marion Cooper Carter, the same day that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan near the end of World War II. Gina had two older sisters, Patsy Jean and Carolyn Ruth. At the time of her birth, Cooper was in the army and on a ship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean en route to the Philippine Islands. Before departing he had given Ruth a box of stationary having sheets and envelopes of several colors. Ruth was instructed to send the birth announcement in a pink envelope if a girl was born and a blue envelope if the child was a boy. Having two daughters already, Cooper wanted a son, of course. Upon arriving in the Philippines, Cooper found he had multiple letters in multiple colors of envelopes. He had to open all of them to find he had a third daughter. Gina spent her first 15 years or so in, and near, Honey Grove, Texas the old family home. Cooper was a professional school teacher and administrator and would change school districts as opportunities arose. In Honey Grove she attended Main Street Presbyterian Church, Honey Grove Elementary School and Honey Grove Junior High School. In addition to extended family, she had many friends in Honey Grove, some of whom she continued to maintain contact with for the rest of her life. Even though she did not graduate from Honey Grove High School, she would return to high school reunions when invited to do so by her friends or family. The summer before her sophomore year in high school, Cooper left Honey Grove to take a job with the Richardson Independent School District and her high school career was spent at Richardson High School from which she graduated in the spring of 1963. While at Richardson High School she played clarinet in the Richardson Eagle Marching Band and participated in other activities including National Honor Society, Spanish Club and Presbyterian Youth Fellowship. Here too she made friends with whom she maintained contact throughout her life. Upon Graduation from high school, after considering enrollment at Michigan State University, Gina enrolled at the University of Texas. She had a double major in Mathematics and Spanish and used her electives to obtain a teacher's certificate. She graduated in 1967 with a Bachelors Degree from the College of Arts and Sciences. On November 22, 1963 she met a man named Jim Duke on a blind date. They were not to see each other for about a year when they met again at the University of Texas Speological Society. After many cups of coffee at the Chuck Wagon in the Student Union, dates and caving and camping trips they became engaged and were married by the Reverend Sammy Rice in Richardson, Texas on August 27, 1966. Their honeymoon was a camping road trip from Austin to Idaho, via Yellowstone National Park and southern Utah, and back to Austin to begin the fall semester. A trip that they would approximate, without camping, for their 50th wedding anniversary in August 2016. August 1967 she and Jim moved to Fort Collins, Colorado where she served as a study hall cop and then a teacher at Fort Collins High School. Many years later she proudly showed her classroom to her grand-daughters. The teaching career was to be interrupted at the end of the school year in 1969 when she and Jim joined a research study on tropical meteorology and hydrology in the eastern provinces in Venezuela. They lived at the site of the study for five months and, during the study, Gina became an employee of Colorado State University to conserve and publish the data collected during the study. August 1971 found Gina and Jim moving back to Austin where their first son was born in February 1972. In May 1974 their second son arrived. For the next 14 years or so, Gina was a full-time mother and housewife and volunteered with local schools (including the relocation of Summitt Elementary at its current location), Cub Scouts and Balcones Little League while Jim worked successively at the University of Texas at Austin, a consulting engineering firm and self-employment. In 1988 the self-employment business became slow and to support the family, Gina acquired a job in the Granger Independent School District where she taught for 16 years. She also designed and implemented a networked computer system in all classrooms and buildings of the district and sponsored teams of students competing in Texas Engineering Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. It was during this period that both her sons graduated from high school and university, one to become an engineer, the other to become a musician and then a lawyer. Three grandchildren were also born in this period of her life. She retired from her education career in 2004 and stayed in touch with many of her former students via Facebook. Gina passed away on September 10, 2018 in Austin at the age of 73. She lived in Austin from 1963 until her death with the exception of the four years spent in Colorado and the summers separating her college years. She was an avid UT football fan but preferred to watch the games on television rather than in person. Austin did not constrain Gina's geographical ramblings. She made many trips to her sister's cabin in northern New Mexico, to Southern California to visit with her older son and family and to Boston to visit the younger son. She always made herself available to help family members when they needed it. In all, Gina traveled through the 50 states at one time or another and she visited and photographed every county courthouse in Texas as a way of seeing of the state. Internationally she traveled to other countries in the Americas (Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia and Peru), in Europe (England, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Serbia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria), the Far East (Hong Kong and Singapore) with airport stops for connections in other countries not listed. She crossed the Atlantic Ocean 10 times (once by ship and the remainder by air) and the Pacific Ocean twice by air. She is survived by: her two sisters, Patsy Jean Benson of Wendell, Idaho and Carolyn Ruth Allen of Granbury, Texas; her husband James H. Duke, Jr. of Austin; her sons, James Henry Duke III and wife Diane Renee Duke of Garden Grove, California and John Earl Duke and wife Amber of Austin; grandchildren James Henry Duke IV and Shellin Marie Duke of Fort Worth, Texas, Madeline Renee Duke of Garden Grove, California and Bozeman, Montana, step-grandson London Gillian of Fort Worth, step-granddaughter Arabella Allen of Austin; and many nieces and nephews living in Texas, Idaho and Virginia. A visitation will be held between 6 and 8 pm on Monday, September 17, 2018 at the Duke residence. Memorial contributions maybe made to Granger ISD Virginia Duke Memorial Post Office Box 57 Granger, Texas 7650. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cookwaldenchapelofthehills.com for the Duke family.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Sept. 16, 2018
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