Alma Cross Duke

Published 10:13 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Alma Cross Duke, 97, of Suffolk, died peacefully on Oct. 14, 2016. Mrs. Duke was born in Suffolk on Sept. 23, 1919 to the late Harry Lee Cross and Jennie Lee Williams Cross. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ray Eley Duke, and their son, Ray Eley Duke Jr.; her sisters, Betty Cross Pretlow, Martha Cross (Howe) Fawcett, and Jennie Lee Kalie; and her brother, Harry Lee Cross Jr. She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Lydia G. Duke and her husband, William “Bill” Hevener, of Suffolk; two grandchildren, R. Eley Duke III and his wife, Nicole, of Suffolk; Kelly Duke Drewnowski and her husband, Bartek, of Richmond; two grandchildren by marriage, William “Skip” Hevener V, and his wife, Ginny; Monica Hevener Eure and her husband, David; and seven great-grandchildren, Austin Duke Drewnowski, Parker Lee and R. Eley Duke IV, Thomas and Sarah Hevener, and Caroline and Gracie Eure. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, John Kalie, and many dear nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Duke was a life-long member of Main Street United Methodist Church in Suffolk, where she served on the Administrative Board, taught kindergarten and served on many various committees. She was a life member of the United Methodist Women. She was past regent and a member of the Constantia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a member of the Colonial Dames, XVII Century, and a member of the Henry Lee Society. She organized and sponsored the Westover Garden Club, was a past member of the Suffolk Garden Club, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Riddick’s Folly. She was also a long-term member of the Suffolk Art League, the Sans Souci Literary Club, and the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society, and she served as a volunteer for the Suffolk Chapter of the American Red Cross.

“Miss Alma” operated an in-home play school for many Suffolk children and later served as the cafeteria supervisor for Suffolk High School for 16 years. She left to join her husband and son at their family business, Duke Oldsmobile-Cadillac where she became greeter, cheerleader and all around “Girl Friday.” She served as vice-president of Duke Automotive Corporation until her death.

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“Memaw” will be remembered for her great love of church and family, her ability to make you believe anything was possible, and her gift for making the ordinary seem special through her upbeat, positive personality.

A memorial service will be held at noon Oct. 24, 2016, at Main Street United Methodist Church, 202 N. Main St., Suffolk, with the Rev. Myrtle Hatcher officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the church social hall. Burial will be private in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

The Duke family would like to extend its deep gratitude to the caregivers at Lake Prince Woods and Home Instead Senior Care for the many kindnesses shown and for the exceptional quality of care they provided. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Duke Family Memorial Garden at Main Street United Methodist Church, 202 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434. R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk VA 23434 is assisting the family. Condolences may be offered at