Hayward Clay Ducharme, “Duke” passed away, surrounded by his loving family, Saturday evening, October 23, 2021, at 84 years. Duke was born on August 5, 1937, in Lafayette, Louisiana to Laura and Milton Ducharme. He grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, and graduated from Bishop Byrne High School with the Class of ‘55. After high school, he joined the Air Force and served honorably for four years. During his time service in the Air Force, he graduated from Florida Institute of Technology with honors in Electrical Engineering. While he was in school and after he graduated, he worked for IBM with its involvement in the Space Program at Cape Canaveral, where he was part of the team of the Minute Man Missile Program, Apollo 11, and Apollo 13 mission to the moon. It was during this time that he met and married the love of his life Mary Gahring, who he referred to as “the baby.”
In 1975, they relocated to Elgin, Texas, and were active members of community for the 46 years that they lived there. Duke retired from IBM in 1992, yet after his retirement he kept physically and mentally active with his hay business and with serving on the Aqua Water Board, Elgin School Board, Bastrop Central Appraisal District and Frontier Bank Board. He was also very involved with Cattleman for Cancer Research. Duke was known for his abilities to solve almost any mechanical or electrical problem. A true engineer at heart, he once rebuilt an electronic interface to hook up his hay bailer to the tractor and then shared his design with the manufacture.
He loved to golf, drink coffee with his buddies, traveling, spending time with his family, taking care of his ranch, hayfield, cows, and teaching his grandkids to ride horses. However, out of all the things that Duke accomplished in his life, his true love for his wife Mary was the most impressive. It brought him joy to make her smile, hold her hand, and spoil her with gifts.
He was preceded in death by his son, Duke Anthony Ducharme; his parents Laura and Milton Ducharme; and his brother, Harold Ducharme.
Duke is survived by his wife, Mary Ducharme; daughter, Leslie Bruce and husband Howard; his grandchildren, Heather Madden and husband Chris, Jordon Holmes and wife Allison, Alyssa Savell and husband Casey; his eight great grandchildren; his two brothers Larry Ducharme and wife Pat, Galen Ducharme and wife Debbie; his sister, Beverly Mathews and husband Don; and his sister-in-law Kristine Gahring; and numerous extended family and dear friends. Duke was a noteworthy inspiration to so many and his impact and counsel touched numerous lives.
The family requests Memorial Contributions be made, in Duke’s Memory, to the American Cancer Society.
Family and Friends will gather for Visitation at Elgin Funeral Home, Tuesday, October 26th from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM. A Funeral Service will be conducted at Elgin Funeral Home, Wednesday, October 27th at 1:00 PM with Pastor, Jason Huddleston presiding. Interment will follow at Pleasant Grove Cemetery.