Former city council member passes away

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 10, 2005

A former superintendent of the City of Greenville Water Works, described as a good man who believed in &uot;doing any job right,&uot; passed away this week.

Greenville resident Otto Duke died Monday, Sept. 5.

Duke served with the local water works for 33 years, overseeing the drilling of several wells for the city.

Bruce Branum of the City of Greenville Water Works recalls the former superintendent as a man always committed to his job.

&uot;Rain, shine, ice or snow, it didn’t matter. Otto would be out there with his crew whenever he was needed,&uot; Branum said.

&uot;Otto believed in doing any job right. As long as you did, too, he got along with you just fine,&uot; Branum added.

Well liked by his peers in the industry, Duke was also very active in organizations such as the Alabama Water Pollution Control Association, made up of water/waste operators from across the state.

&uot;He was working for the betterment of our water environment through organizations like AWPCA,&uot; Branum said.

Duke’s expertise with Greenville’s water system came in very handy with another one of his jobs – that of volunteer firefighter for the city, Capt. Mike Phillips of the Greenville Fire Department, recalls.

&uot;Otto was working here as a volunteer when I hired on in 1969. We worked together for a number of years. He was a true asset to our department,&uot; Phillips said.

Duke put in 20 years with the fire department before retiring with the rank of assistant volunteer fire chief, remaining close to the fire department even after his retirement.

&uot;Otto made sure things were the way they should be. His job with the water works and the fire department seemed to go hand in hand,&uot; the fire chief said.

Ervin Edwards, who retired after serving as the city’s superintendent of sanitation for 39 years, was a long-time friend of Duke.

&uot;We’d known each other since 1961, when I first went to work for the city. He was a good fellow and we were good friends,&uot; Edwards said.

The two men served as volunteer firefighters together. In the mid-1960s, both began working part-time for the city police department.

&uot;We served together under Chief Stafford, working on weekends and holidays from about 1965 to 1972,&uot; Edwards said.

Edwards recalls his friend and colleague as a man unafraid of tackling a job.

&uot;He was a worker. He always worked hard.&uot;