A self-described Army brat, Walter B. Duke III was born on New Year’s Day at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. For the first six years of his life, Walter’s Army-pilot father was stationed at various bases around the globe and so the family traveled with him wherever he was sent. When his father went to serve in the Vietnam war, Walter’s mother moved the family to Fort Lauderdale to be close to her parents who had lived in the area since 1956.
Walter grew up the South Florida way, on the water, fishing and boating with two uncles and an aunt who loved salt water fishing in the Atlantic and fresh water fishing in the Everglades and Chokoloskee. When his father returned from the war he became a commercial airline pilot and moved the family to nearby Hollywood, where they planted roots and became fixtures in the community. Mr. Duke was a major figure in little league and the youth sports scene in Hollywood, where he has a baseball field named after him at Rotary Park. Walter credits his father with teaching him the value of volunteering, teamwork, and leadership skills through his involvement in sports, and thanks his aunt and uncles for helping him to become a true steward of the marine industry.