Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.
Mervin E. Duke

Mervin E. Duke

Male 1916 - 1998  (82 years)

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  • Name Mervin E. Duke 
    Born 1916  Moorefield, Wellington Co., Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Died 15 Dec 1998  [1, 2
    Hall of Fame - Waterloo Region Bef 2012  , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Name Merv Duke 
    Occupation Elmira Mennonite Cemetery, Elmira, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    teacher - principal 
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-2887 
    Buried Elmira Union Cemetery, Elmira, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Person ID I2887  Generations
    Last Modified 12 Jun 2019 

    Family Mary Caryl Hislop,   b. 1917, Of, Elmira, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Donald J. Duke,   b. 1942, Elmira, Woolwich Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1975  (Age 33 years)
     2. Marilyn Ann Duke,   b. 20 Jul 1944, Elmira, Woolwich Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Aug 2006, Kitchener, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years)
    Last Modified 14 Jun 2019 
    Family ID F22027  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1916 - Moorefield, Wellington Co., Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsHall of Fame - Waterloo Region - Bef 2012 - , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - teacher - principal - - Elmira Mennonite Cemetery, Elmira, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Elmira Union Cemetery, Elmira, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Mervin Duke
    Mervin Duke

  • Notes 
    • Duke, Mervin E. "Merv" - Peacefully, on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 1998, in his 83rd year, of Elmira. Mr. Duke came to Elmira in 1943. It is here that he started teaching at No. 4 Woolwich School or what is now called Riverside School, grades 6, 7 and 8, as well as being their principal. In 1951, Mr. Duke started at Elmira High School teaching a variety of subjects, where he also introduced Driver Education at the high school. In 1959, Mr. Duke became the Vice Principal and Principal in 1967, retiring in 1973. During this time, Duke was a youth hockey coach in Elmira for 20 years, nine hockey teams coached by Duke went on to win Ontario Championships. Mr. Duke was manager of the Elmira & District Chamber of Commerce in the late 1970s and a charter member of the Elmira Lions Club. He has affected the lives of many people who live in Elmira through his professional and community contributions. As a result, Merv has been elected to the Waterloo County Hall of Fame. Loving and devoted husband of Caryl (Hislop) Duke for 58 years. Dear father of Susie and Al Deep of Elmira, Jane Duke and Lloyd Fraser of Elmira, Margaret Duke of Waterloo. Fondly remembered by his three grandsons, Kal, Kyle and Kam Deep; brother of Keith Duke of Carey, N.C. and Helen Hastings of Wiarton. Predeceased by his parents, Donald and Ethel (Robb) Duke; one son, Don (1975); one sister, Louise Schlegel. The family will receive friends and relatives at the Dreisinger Funeral Home, Elmira, on Thursday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. On Friday at 9 a.m., transfer will be made to Gale Presbyterian Church, Elmira, for funeral service at 11 a.m. with The Rev. Dr. Linda J. Bell officiating, followed by interment in Elmira Union Cemetery. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Federation of Ontario Naturalists or the Parkinson Foundation of Ontario would be appreciated by the family.

      Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 16 December 1998


      ______________________


      Merv Duke, School teacher, principal, public service champion

      On his way from a farm near Moorefield with dreams of earning big money in Toronto, Merv Duke stopped off in Elmira, and got stuck here. After finishing his high school education in Listowel, where he boarded in town at $4.00 for five days of the week during the winter because of the long distance and impassable roads. At 17 years of age he attended Stratford Teachers College and in 1934 started the beginning of his 38-yr. teaching and principalship career. "I didn't like farming because it was too much work!" He exclaims. Earning $7000.00 a year at East Zorra #10 Innerkip one-room schoolhouse, he was relieved to hear of an opening for a principal in the six-room Elmira Riverside Public School, at more than double the salary. Duke, his wife Caryl, and daughter Jane managed to find a first-floor house apartment on Park, now Duke Street at the corner of Erb in 1943 during a housing shortage caused by the influx of workers to the newly opened Naugatuck Chemical plant. As principal at Riverside School, Duke was also teaching, and ringing the quarter bell before the pupils lined up and marched inside to a gramophone player. The older students tended their garden plots as part of their agricultural instruction and the girls danced to gramophone music. The sports-minded Duke had the boys clear a skating rink on the front lawn, some as a reward, and others for a punishment. In particular, it was a great release for Don Martin's pent-up energies. "I didn't need to use the strap. There were other ways of handling discipline." He seemed to be blind to the antics of his students, who were amazed in later years that he knew what they were doing. Coaching hockey endeared Duke to many of the boys around, even though his stern manner might have been seen as a deterrent. Instead, he was a great encourager, always fair, who pushed them to do better. Winning nine championships between 1947 and 1962 speaks for itself. During that time, he organized the fundraising to build the Elmira Arena, and was offered as much time as he needed for hockey practices and games. By 1951 Duke had continued his studies and joined the staff at the Elmira high school as a teacher. During the summer, he visited each Grade 8 student's home, trying to convince the parents to send them for more education at [what was later named] E.D.S. S. "If you teach (my boy) welding, he can go," he heard repeatedly. A welding class was promptly supplied. After more studies, Duke became vice-principal, and finally principal in 1965. "I've been going to school long enough; I guess it's time I graduated," he is quoted as saying when he announced his retirement at the end of 1972. He was recipient of the Citizen of the Year award in 1973, at a time when he accepted a job of manager of the Elmira Chamber of Commerce. He became an excellent promoter of the town for influencing businesses and tourists to come. He took a keen interest in the Maple Syrup Festival. After six years, he finally retired completely. The Dukes never made it to Toronto, and are quite content with their quiet life full of excellent memories of their 55 years living in Elmira.


      Elmira Old Boys and Girls Reunion, 75th Anniversary, June 5, 6 & 7, 1998, "Reminiscing of Elmira's Past," pp 68-69 [author not named].

      ________________________


      Mervin Duke was born in Moorefield, Ontario and attended high school in Listowel, Ontario. He graduated from Stratford Teachers' College in 1935 and his first assignment was as Principal of a two-room public school in Innerkip where he taught all subjects in all the classes from grades 6 to 10. In 1943 he accepted a position with School Section #4 and Elmira Union School, now Riverside Public School in Elmira, as Principal. During this time he received his BA from the University of Western Ontario and Bed from the University of Toronto. Eight years later he joined the staff at Elmira High School. He was appointed Vice Principal and then Principal of the High School, retiring in 1973 after 38 years.

      During this time, Merv Duke was a youth hockey coach in Elmira for twenty years. Nine hockey teams coached by Merv went on to win Ontario Championships. In 1951 he was awarded the Ontario Hockey Association Honour Award for outstanding contribution to Minor Hockey.

      He was chairman of the Elmira Old Boys' and Girls' Reunion in 1973 and during this celebration he topped the list of the ten individuals who had contributed most to the town of Elmira in the previous twenty-five years. In the late 1970s, Merv managed the Elmira and Woolwich Chamber of Commerce until 1984.

      Merv introduced Driver Training Education to Elmira and District Secondary School and he organized extra-curricular activities for students. He was an active charter member of the Elmira Lions Club and Gale Presbyterian Church, and supported many local activities including the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. He affected the lives of many people who live in Elmira through his professional and community contributions.3a

      3aWaterloo Region Hall of Fame 2010

  • Sources 
    1. [S490] News - ON, Waterloo, Kitchener - The Record (1994-March 2008), Obituary of Mervin E. Duke - 16 December 1998.

    2. [S98] Cemetery - ON, Waterloo, Woolwich - Elmira Union CC#4578 Internet Link.
      In Memory Of/ Mervin E. Duke/ 1916 - 1998/ Beloved Husband Of/ M. Caryl Hislop

    3. [S220] Waterloo Region Hall of Fame Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.