Robert D. Duke, 85

Robert D. Duke died Friday, Oct. 3, at Norwalk Hospital after a long illness. He was 85.

Mr. Duke, an attorney, was a resident of Wilton for almost 40 years before moving to Meadow Ridge in Redding last year. He was a long-time board member and served as counsel to the Wilton Library Association, which honored him as a Life Trustee. He was active in the Wilton Presbyterian Church and many other local organizations.

Mr. Duke retired in 1993 as senior vice president and general counsel of The Brinks Company (formerly Pittston Co.), and continued to serve as senior counsel there until 2002. Before joining Pittston Brinks in 1984, Mr. Duke was senior vice president and general counsel of Freeport McMoRan Inc., a global mining and oil and gas exploration company. He practiced corporate law at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York from 1951-52 and 1954-64.

Mr. Duke was born in Goshen, N.Y., on Oct. 14, 1928, and grew up in nearby Walden. He matriculated at the Virginia Military Institute at age 15 and graduated in 1947 (class of 1948-B). He received his law degree from the Yale Law School in 1950 and earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1952.

From 1952 to 1954, Mr. Duke served as a first lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Army, stationed in Charlottesville, Va. Thereafter, he served in the Army Reserve Corps for many years, achieving the rank of captain in 1957.

In April 1954, Mr. Duke married Jeannette Parham, of Oxford, N.C. They had four children: Kate, a children’s book author and illustrator who died unexpectedly earlier this year; Robert, a drama teacher and director; Ben, an attorney; and Lois, a nutritionist.

For more than 60 years until his death, Mr. Duke remained Jeannette’s devoted husband both in health and unfailingly throughout her debilitating illness in recent years. He is survived by her and by their sons, their daughter, and two grandchildren, Will and Peter.

A memorial service for all who wish to gather in remembrance will be held at the Wilton Presbyterian Church on Nov. 1, at 2 p.m.