Famed Doctor, Aggie Red Duke Passes Away

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HOUSTON - Dr. Red Duke, whose involvement on a variety of projects and events made him an icon in Texas, the nation, the medical community and Aggieland, has died at the age of 86.

The Texas A&M graduate, Class of 1950, earned Distinguished Alumni status from the Association of Former Students in 1988.

Duke gained national fame for syndicated television programs that aired on many stations across the country, including KBTX. He also hosted a show on PBS, "Bodywatch."

The founder of the Life Flight medical helicopter service, he earned a degree in divinity from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a doctorate of medicine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

He was in training at Parkland Hospital in Dallas in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally were brought in after both were shot. He helped treat Connally in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, which Connally survived.

Duke spent much of his medical career in Houston, including at Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he died Tuesday.

In February, Duke was back on the Texas A&M campus to receive an honor for his Army service. Duke was a tank commander in the early 1950s. He received the Order of St. George from the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association.

“It means so much to me,” Duke said. “To me, every day is an opportunity to try and be of some kind of service to somebody, and serving our country is a great honor and privilege.”

The Association of Former Students notes that Duke, while an Aggie Yell Leader, was the first to read "The Last Corps Trip" poem publicly.