Carter S. Duke, 69, of Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, was killed on May 25, 2020, at his home in a tragic farming accident.
He was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on April 22, 1951, son of the late Walter and Marion Duke. Preceded in death by his sister, Sandra Lethem, his only sibling. He is survived by his spouse of 47 years, Gail R. Duke, several in-laws with spouses, and numerous nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces, and a large extended family.
Carter graduated from Del Norte High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1969 with ROTC 4-year and music scholarships. He graduated from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1974 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Due to the times (post-Vietnam), his start on active duty was delayed. It was during this time that he took his first job with the U.S. Forest Service and received his first wildland firefighting training with the Carson National Forest.
His first love has always been flying. At 16, he learned to fly and bought his first airplane. His goal in life has always been to fly for the Air Force. Receiving orders for Mather AFB, California, to begin Navigator training was a start. Out of nav school, he selected fighters and became a F-4 Phantom Weapons Systems Operator (WSO). With experience, he was selected to attend the USAF Fighter Weapons School and graduated as a F-4 Fighter Weapons Instructor and the top WSO of the class. Over the course of his career, he was stationed at multiple locations in the U.S., Europe, Asia and deployed to numerous locations around the world.
Upon retirement from the USAF, he continued to serve – as a dispatcher for Otero County Sheriff’s office and a volunteer firefighter/EMT for Boles Acres, New Mexico. Relocating to Mountain Home, Idaho, he recertified as an EMT in Elmore County, and continued to provide support as a “dispatcher” for Saint Alphonsus’ Life Flight. He moved to Horseshoe Bend in 2000 and began supporting Boise County as an EMT and eventually becoming the Horseshoe Bend Director for Emergency Services. Carter supported the community and Volunteer Fire Department as an active firefighter. He served in various positions within the department – Training Officer, Vehicle Captain, and administrative support, to name a few. As he stated in his bio, “The real enjoyment of Emergency Service is the comradeship of working with a motivated, well trained team and the gratification of helping someone in distress.” Carter was known for his dedication and willingness to serve his country and his community.
Throughout life, Carter loved flying, skydiving, music and children. He was actively involved in 4-H, doing the “behind the scene” things that helped the children succeed. In Idaho, he was introduced to ice hockey. Carter was an avid fan of the game (“season pass holder” supporting the Idaho Steelheads). However, watching hockey was not enough, he began playing hockey and became a goalie. He even played goalie for Boise Fire in the annual “Guns and Hoses” hockey games.
The memorial service will be held at 4 – 8 PM on Sunday, July 19th, at the Horseshoe Bend City Park, Highway 55. Military honors will be rendered at 4 PM. Family and friends are welcome. This will be a casual service, so please bring your fond memories or funny stories to share with all, a covered dish, and join us in celebrating Carter’s life. You will need to bring lawn chairs or blanket. Bottled water will be available but otherwise it is BYOB.
The family is in the process of establishing a firefighter scholarship fund in memory of Carter. Watch the Horseshoe Bend Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page for details.
The family understands if you do not attend due to COVID-19. The last thing Carter would want is to have someone became sick with the COVID-19 virus because of him. We do ask people to wear masks and comply with “social distancing” rules.