Dr. Gary Duke dies at age 68
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jan Williams, College of Veterinary Medicine, 612-624-6228
Gary Duke, Cofounder of The Raptor Center, Dies at Age 68
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (August 22, 2006) – Dr. Gary Duke, cofounder of The Raptor Center and a retired faculty member at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, died August 21 at the age of 68. He had battled Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
Duke’s career at the University began in 1967, after he received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He was hired as an avian gastrointestinal physiologist with teaching responsibilities in veterinary and undergraduate physiology courses.
In 1970, a veterinary student working in his lab brought him four baby great horned owls, sparking his lifelong interest in the birds. Two years later, he teamed up with Pat Redig, a veterinary student who offered to help him take care of the owls. Working out of animal holding rooms in a departmental research area, the pair launched the Raptor Research and Rehabilitation Program, which later became The Raptor Center.
“His foresight and work were pivotal in establishing The Raptor Center,” Redig said. “I will always be grateful for all his work in establishing the program and forging relationships with many friends, donors, and scientific professionals.”
Duke was the recipient of the ASPCA Award for Humane Excellence, the American Motors Conservation Award, the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Merck Award for Achievement in Poultry Science, and the WCCO Good Neighbor Award. He published 106 research papers, 9 book chapters, and papers in 26 symposium proceedings. An ardent birdwatcher, he recorded 1,601 “life birds” and led birding trips to Arizona, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Newfoundland, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana. He was also a runner, logging 20,000 miles in 38 states, 16 countries, and 5 continents.
Dr. Duke is survived by Maryann, his wife of 45 years, two daughters, and two grandchildren.
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