Larry B. Duke was born in Medicine Hat, AB but moved to BC with his family early on. He attended Hollyburn Elementary and West Vancouver High, graduating in 1953. After a brief stint in the auto industry, Larry applied to the Department of Fisheries & Oceans in 1963 and was 1 of only 6 chosen over 200 applicants. He worked as a floater for the first 2 years with his first major post being in Alert Bay in 1965. In 1968, Larry was then transferred to Tahsis and then onto Prince Rupert “Capital of the Halibut World” in 1969. While in Rupert, he worked alongside and under many great Fishery Officers and Veterans of WWII, Jim Connors, Bill Winsby, Doug McIntyre, Vic Giraud, Lou Gelly, where he was taught to work hard and play even harder. Also, it was here, he married his wife Susan in 1970.
In 1974 he was then transferred to Sooke, BC and within the next 2 years would be promoted to District Supervisor in Victoria in 1976 and then the family moves again to View Royal, BC in 1977. At this same time, Larry went on to the RCMP Academy in Regina, Sask., for the DFO. Many of those who would work under and beside him, were not only co-workers, but would become lifelong friends. Dennis Brock, Kathleen Voss, Lyle Freeman, Bob Warren, Willie McKenzie, Jack Broome, Ron Kehl and John Forgie, to name a few. Larry would continue to serve the DFO on the West Coast all while working directly with Vancouver Regional and Ottawa National Headquarters and the Minister of Fisheries & Oceans. He would go on to draft and implement many treaty’s on behalf of the Minister as Larry had developed a deep and respectful relationship with local Chiefs and Bands throughout the West Coast. Many of these treaties still hold today.
After 30 years with DFO, Larry retires as the South Coastal Area Manager in Nanaimo, BC in 1993. He was then able to continue his love of the Pacific and snowbird yearly to his favorite spots down on the coast of Mexico. Over the next 25 years, as soon as the sun started to set by 6:00 pm in BC, Larry & Susan would be underway to the beaches of Mexico spending time in Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, La Penitá, Bucerias and La Cruz.
He was an easy man to like, with a quick wit, a love of country music and many stories to tell of a “Ripley’s believe it or not” nature. Larry is survived by his Wife Susan of 50 years, his Children, Christine, Victoria & Gorden, Sister Madeline, Grandchildren Rebecca & Joshua and many more friends & family.
We can look forward to details of a Celebration of Larry’s life being held in early 2021 in Victoria, BC.
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