Ralph Duke Powell Jr. of Peterborough, formerly of Harrisville and Chatham, New Jersey, passed away on November 3, 2016 in the presence of his beloved wife of 66 years, Nancy Richardson Powell, and his children. Duke was 92 years old.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska on September 1, 1924 to Ralph D. and Rosamond G. Powell, Duke graduated from Vermont Academy, Saxtons River, Vermont in 1943. He then served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a member of the 121st Squadron, 106th Cavalry Group, whose units landed on Omaha and Utah beaches during the invasion of Normandy. This armored unit was also engaged in the German counter offensive known as the "Battle of the Bulge."
Upon his discharge from the Army, he joined his high school sweetheart and soon-to-be wife, Nancy, at Middlebury College. He graduated cum laude in 1948 and entered the University of Virginia Law School where he earned a J.D. degree. In 1951 he was sworn in as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and served in their offices in Baltimore, Wilmington and Newark, New Jersey. In 1957 He joined Fisher-Stevens, Inc., Clifton, New Jersey, an information services organization to the pharmaceutical and health care industries. When Fisher-Stevens was acquired by IMS, Inc., Duke was named President of Dun and Bradstreet Corporation, the parent company. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Council for 12 years and was president of the organization in the early 80's.
The Powells resided in Chatham, New Jersey for over 30 years, where they raised three children: Ralph Duke Powell, III, Slatersville, Rhode Island; Lissa Powell Slade Belchertown Massachusetts; and Alison Eley Zuckert, Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Duke's father had been a tennis pro, and as a result he inherited a love of sports. He taught his children to swim and play tennis at Minisink Swim Club in Chatham and to ski at Elk Mountain, Union Dale, Pennsylvania. He loved golf as well and played frequently with his friends at the Dublin Lake Club, Dublin, New Hampshire. Duke also enjoyed politics and served as Republican County Commissioner for Morris County, New Jersey, for three years. But most important of all to Duke were his faith and his family. He loved the Lord and his beloved Nancy, his children, his son-in-law Evan Zuckert, and his six grandchildren: Jessica, Casey, Mackenzie and Sarah Slade, and Cameron and Keleigh Zuckert.
After retiring in 1987, the family moved to Silver Lake, Harrisville, where he was active in organizations working to protect the natural resources in Southern New Hampshire. He was Chairman of the Silver Lake Land Trust, and was on the Board of Directors of the Harris Center for Conservation Education, the Monadnock Conservancy, and the Town of Harrisville Conservation Commission. Duke was also active at St. James Church, Keene, New Hampshire, where he helped lead many Alpha courses.
A service to celebrate Duke's life will be held on Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Rivermead, 150 Rivermead Road, Peterborough.
For those who would like to make a donation in Duke's name, the family gratefully suggests either of two organizations that he devoted much time to: The Harris Center for Conservation Education, 83 King's Highway, Hancock NH 03449, or to Alpha USA, 1635 Emerson Lane, Naperville, IL 60540.
Jellison Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the family with arrangements. To view an online obituary or to leave the family a condolence, please visit www.jellisonfuneralhome.com