Thomas Earle Dukes, Jr. passed away on Sunday, October 24, 2021, at home in Tampa, FL.
Earle Dukes was born in Orlando, FL, November 6, 1931, to Earle Dukes, Sr. and Marjorie Leigh Holleman. He was raised in Orlando and attended Orlando High School where he was a standout multi-sport athlete and student. There he met the love of his life, Faustelle Williams Kennedy (Bootie). They were married on July 25th, 1952 and remained married until her death on June 8th, 2019. Earle attended the University of Florida and Emory University where he pursued his life-long passion for medicine. After graduation and service as a captain in the U.S. Army, he developed a love for ophthalmology and trained in retinal surgery at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 1962, Earle and Bootie moved to Lakeland, FL where he became the first ophthalmologist at the Watson Clinic. As one of few retinal surgeons in the state of Florida, Earle worked tirelessly doing what he loved best. He served terms as president of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology and the Florida Chapter of the American Medical Association. Earle and Bootie were long-time members of First Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, FL. He was a die-hard Florida Gator fan and made every home football game until health issues prevented attendance in his mid-80’s. Earle loved music, playing golf, running, swimming and spending time at the beach.
Earle is survived by his four children: Thomas Earle Dukes, III (Susy), Susan Faustelle Dukes Fisher (Gregg), Leigh Holleman Hughes (Nelson), Claire Dukes Reisenweaver (Bill), thirteen grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.