William J. Dukes Sr., 76, of Hummelstown, Pa. passed away Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, in the M. S. Hershey Medical Center.
Born in Crawfordsville, Ind., Nov. 26, 1936, he was the son of the late Oakley M. and Leona C. Bir Dukes. Bill retired as sales manager of the family-owned marina in Dewey Beach. He was a 1954 graduate of Sparrows Point High School, Sparrows Point, Md. Bill was a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy, and served during the Vietnam era as a band master and trombonist of the Navy’s traveling ambassador band, Commodores. He was a member of St. Catherine Laboure Roman Catholic Church, Harrisburg, Pa.
Bill served as president of the Hummelstown Lions Club from 1996-97, and was a long time member of the Rehoboth Beach Lions Club where he reveled in his role as tale twister. He was a member of the Tri-County Association of the Blind, Harrisburg. Bill was a long-time member of the Salisbury Community Band, Salisbury, Md.; a charter member of the Special Olympics of Sussex County and was the official Santa Claus of Rehoboth Beach for over a decade where he was known as the “best damn Santa ever.” He was an avid lover of golden retrievers.
He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Barbara R. Decker Dukes, whom he married Feb. 20, 1982; four sons, William J. “Bunky” Dukes II of Naples, Fla., Briant K. Dukes of North Richland Hills, Texas, J. Patrick Dukes of Omaha Neb. and David R. Shearer of Jonestown; two daughters, Barbie Dukes of North Richland Hills, and Luanne R. Shearer of New Cumberland, Pa.; seven grandchildren, Scott M. Shearer and Lisa M. Schmitt both of Mount Joy, Taylor Kelly Dukes of Seattle, Wash., Tyler J. Dukes of San Marcos, Texas, Hunter A. Dukes of North Richland Hills and Laura E. Dusi and Nathaniel S. Dusi, both of New Cumberland; one great-grandson, Caleb M. Schmitt of Mount Joy, Pa.; one sister, Darlene Tzannakos of Lewes; two brothers, Donald M. Dukes of Lewes and J. Darrel Dukes of Milton; and numerous nieces and nephews who affectionately called him “Uncle Bull”.
In addition to his parents, Bill was preceded in death by a brother, Richard Dukes; and a sister, Patricia Dukes.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, Sept. 28, at 11 a.m., in St. Catherine Laboure Roman Catholic Church, 4000 Derry Street, Harrisburg, with the Rev. Fr. Neil Sullivan, as celebrant. Interment will be in the Nicholson Cemetery, Wyoming County. Friends will be received for a viewing Friday, Sept. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Trefz & Bowser Funeral Home Inc., 114 West Main Street, Hummelstown; and Saturday in the church from 10 a.m. until time of the Mass.
Those desiring may send memorial contributions to the Penn State Heart & Vascular Institute, c/o Office of Development, 600 Centerview Dr., Hershey, PA 17033; the Hummelstown Lions Club, PO Box 129, Hummelstown, PA 17036; or to the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, 60 Vera Cruz Road, Reinholds, PA 17569.