Duke became a Christian at the age of 18 and was baptized by a Chaplain while serving in the South Vietnamese Marines. Duke believes that his journey in faith has led him to where he is today.
Duke did not know any English before leaving Vietnam, so upon arrival in the United States, learning the language was Duke’s first priority. With his passion for music, Duke found an unconventional way to learn English in the first year after he arrived to the United States. Using some of his earnings from being a freelance photographer, piano tuner, and machine shop operator, he started out with several music albums that had the lyrics printed on the record covers. These records included Barry Manilow’s “I Write The Songs,” John Denver’s “Back Home Again,” Seals & Crofts’ “Diamond Girls,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Jim Croce’s “Photographs & Memories”, and several more. He recalls the first song he learned how to sing in English was “I Write the Songs”. One of his first friends in the U.S. recently wrote: I remember teaching you how to sing “I Write the Songs” by Barry Manilow shortly after you arrived. Little did we know where your love for that song would take you.
To reminisce over the dream of his younger years, in spring of 2006, Duke decided to begin writing songs for fun and he continues to find time to write more songs. About one-half of the 50 songs he has written are Christian and Gospel songs. Others are songs of love, life, and patriotism with positive, inspirational, and encouraging messages.
Duke said besides the blessings God has provided throughout his life, “I am thankful for my mentors, sponsors, supporters, and friends who have contributed to the fun and enjoyable life over the years, and especially, my family: Kerrin, Amy, Laura, and Michelle; father- and mother-in-law, Herbert and Gloria Wilson; and of course ‘that great uncle Reg’ – as my daughters would say – in California. Without all of their love and support, my life’s sailing would not have been as smooth.”
“I believe that it was God’s will that we came to know, support, and love each other, despite the fact that we started out in different corners of the world and I can only imagine what else God may do, or may have in store for us,” Duke said.
Duke, his wife, Kerrin, and their three daughters, Amy, Laura, and Michelle are members of the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, in Katy, Texas.
Duke received a BA from Hope College, in Holland, Michigan, a JD from Washburn University, School of Law. He has been a member of the State Bar of Texas since 1986.
Recently leaving his private law practice, Duke starts a new challenge to be become one of the members and Vice President and General Counsel of Epcot, LLC, doing business as Epcot Electric, a retail commercial and residential electric provider certified by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.