Most of you don't know the name Mike Dukewich, but he was a dear friend and a big part of the ABC7 family.
Every day, he was behind a camera in the field bringing you the stories of the day.
Mike, or "Duke" as we called him, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.
Duke started at ABC7 in 1977 and was part of the morning team for years. Duke always had a smile on his face, a joke to tell and a hug to give and was a genuinely nice man.
He is survived by his wife Christy and their son Clay. And our thoughts are of course with them as they deal with the unexpected loss.
Duke, you will be missed.
ABC 7 Morning News Executive Producer Doug Whitmire had this personal reflection about Mike:
When you hear the word Duke, you probably think of the University with a powerhouse basketball team. Maybe you think of John Wayne, or Duke Ellington. When we here at ABC 7 think of Duke, we hear laughter and see smiles. Mike Dukewich started at ABC 7 in 1977, following in his father's footsteps at the station. Duke, as we all called him, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. He was just 58. Today we are all shocked, sad, a little angry, and sorrowful that we have lost such a great guy. A family man. He leaves behind his wife Christy and a son, Clay. He talked about both of them so much and you could see his love for both of them in his eyes and his smile, especially when football season rolled around and he talked about going to watch Clay on the field, under the lights on a Friday night. At work, Duke would walk in each morning, at 4am mind you, with a smile on his face no matter what day of the week it was. He would stop by my desk with some donuts or a pat on the back as he walked to the assignment desk to find out what story he would be covering for the day. We work in a business that often finds our people in some challenging situations. Weather can be brutal. Neighborhoods can be rough. But as we spoke about Duke today and remembered so many wonderful stories, every single person would say how positive he was. Always a smile. Always a laugh. Often times a hug or a joke. He truly found the best in even the worst situations and did his job better than my words can do it justice. I didn't know Duke nearly as long as a lot of other people in our ABC 7 family, but whether you knew him for 30 years, 10 like myself, or 6 months, you knew he truly was a genuine original. I am not sure we will ever get over the loss of our great friend and colleague, but that's ok. His memory will last forever. And when the tears stop falling, I am certain they will be replaced with stories of "remember that one time Duke did..." or "Duke used to always say...." and the tears will be replaced by laughter and smiles. Fitting since he was so quick with both every day. One of the last times I talked to Duke some of us were giving him a hard time, calling him Sir Duke after the Stevie Wonder song. The chorus of that classic begins with the words "you can feel it all over" in reference to the music. Today, and I'm fairly certain for a very, very long time to come, we will feel the presence of our Duke all over.