| Llewellyn Brian Duke, Sr.
(Louisiana business, civic, and political figure)
|Born|| May 17, 1925 |
Breckenridge, Stephens County
|Died|| May 14, 1986 (aged 60) |
|Spouse|| Betty Summerlin (died 1982)
Llewellyn Brian Duke, Sr., known as Brian Duke (May 17, 1925 &ndash May 14, 1986), was a business, civic, and political figure in Alexandria, Louisiana. A Democrat, he served seventeen years on the Rapides Parish Police Jury, the parish governing council. He was the jury president for two terms.
Born in Breckenridge in Stephens County in west Texas, Duke moved with his family to Alexandria, where he graduated from Bolton High School. He subsequently received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in College Station and a Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. He served in the United States Navy for two years during World War II, having been assigned to a submarine in the South Pacific Theater of Operations. He did not practice law but instead became the chief executive officer of the Brian Duke Insurance Agency, a position he filled until 1985, the year prior to his death. The company merged with Insurance 1. For twelve years, Duke sat on the board of the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Louisiana and was the organization president in 1981. He was a former president of the Alexandria Insurance Exchange.
As a police juror, Duke was the vice chairman of the National Council of County Officials. He sat on that organization's National Committee on Metropolitan and Urban Problems, He was appointed by the Louisiana Police Jury Association to the special Governor's Liaison Committee. He was the president of the Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning and Development District since it was organized in 1967 under the leadership of its first executive director, Champ Baker of Alexandria. He was a past board member of the Credit Bureau of Alexandria and the Alexandria-Pineville Chamber of Commerce. He formerly served on the Rapides Area Planning Commission and the Cenla (Central Louisiana)Health Planning Council and the Cenla Community Action Committee. Duke was a member and director of the South Alexandria Rotary International, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Alexandria Tennis Association, the Rapides Parish Red Cross, and the Alexandria Jaycees, prior to his 36th birthday. He was a member of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Alexandria.
Edgar Hathorn, an Alexandria businessman and police jury colleague who died a year after Duke, said that Duke "worked on behalf of the parish, not just on behalf of himself. He was one of the most honorable people I have known. I never knew him to undercut or undermine anybody. I was proud to have served with him on the police jury." Another juror, Thomas J. "Tom" Mathews, Sr. (1925-2007), called Duke a "real good jury member and very dedicated to his work on the police jury." In an interview with The Alexandria Town Talk published on February 14, 1967, Duke addressed his view of politics. "I've always felt that politics are no better or worse than the people who participate in them. I think it's the duty of everybody interested in good government to participate to the extent that we can." At the time of the interview, Duke was speaking up for what then seemed to be an unpopular issue parish reapportionment. He added, "in the sense of justice and fair play, I believe that certain residents in certain designated wards and areas are being penalized because of real estate. In a democratic type of government, everyone should be represented, but should be represented fairly."
Duke was the widower of the former Betty Summerlin, who died at the age of fifty-six on February 26, 1982. Duke died four years after his wife and three days before his 61st birthday of a lengthy illness in Rapides General Hospital in downtown Alexandria. He is interred at the Greenwood Memorial Park in neighboring Pineville. His surviving son is businessman L. Brian Duke, Jr. (born September 18, 1948), of Alexandria.
- L. Brian Duke, Sr.. Old.findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 23, 2018.
- Ex-Police Juror Brian Duke dies. The Alexandria Town Talk (May 16, 1986). Retrieved on July 23, 2018.
- Thomas J. Mathews, Sr.. Old.findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 23, 2018.
- Tom Mathews was a younger brother of O'Hearn Mathews, a former Alexandria municipal streets and parks commissioner.
- Betty Summerlin Duke. Old.findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 23, 2018.