E.K. Roggenkamp Jr.
Edward Karl (Duke) Roggenkamp Jr., 100, passed away peacefully Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, at Harrison Springs Health Campus, Corydon, Ind.
He was born in Louisville, Ky., on July 5, 1921, 100 years and 57 days ago, the third child of E.K. Roggenkamp Sr. and Florence Herdt Roggenkamp. For almost all his life, he was known by the nickname “Duke.” A moniker he self-selected, after hearing stories of the Duke of Windsor, famous in the news of the 1920s.
At the age of 9, his family moved to Milltown, Ind., the hometown he grew to love so much. He graduated from Milltown High School in 1940, and was, at his death, its oldest living graduate. In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served his country with distinction in World War II as motor pool sergeant of a medical company (similar to a MASH unit). He made four amphibious landings under heavy enemy fire in New Guinea and Luzon, Philippines, and, after the surrender, he was sent to Japan in the occupation forces.
After the war, he spent his life working at the family business, E.K. Roggenkamp Co. Inc. in Milltown, a Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealership.
While a soldier, in 1943, he married Kathleen Hilgeman, his high school sweetheart, a bond that lasted 68 years, until her death in 2011. They were inseparable, working together daily at the dealership, one of the only husband and wife service management teams in any GM dealership nationwide. Plus, they got to travel the world on trips they won in Chevrolet sales contests.
Back in Milltown since 1946, Duke has been a deacon and elder of Milltown Christian Church, assistant fire chief for the Milltown Volunteer Fire Department, a 75-plus year member of the American Legion, a 75-plus year member of the Masons and a 75-plus year member and worthy patron of the Order of the Eastern Star. It was Duke’s idea to use the fireman’s boots to collect money for the WHAS Crusade for Children, a Milltown tradition that has lasted many decades. Duke and Kathleen were recognized widely for their philanthropic work for the town of Milltown.
Duke was a life-long and avid auto racing fan, who loved the Indy 500 (attended many Indy races) and a NASCAR fan (attended many races). He rarely missed a race on TV, and on his 80th birthday he drove a NASCAR race car at Kentucky Speedway at speeds reaching 160 mph.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Dorothy Parks, Mildred Booth and Virginia Trowbridge Chase; and brother, Walter Roggenkamp.
Duke and Kathleen had four children, Edward K. Roggenkamp III (Rheva) of Versailles, Ky., Rebecca Roggenkamp Vance (deceased 2019), Roslyn Roggenkamp (deceased 1950) and Kelly D. Roggenkamp (Laura) of Georgetown, Ind.; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Duke was a friend to many, a devoted father to a few and a good citizen of the town and nation he loved.
Funeral services will be on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, at 3 p.m. at the Milltown Christian Church. Interment will follow in the Milltown Cemetery.
Visitation will be on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Brown Funeral Home in Milltown and after 1 p.m. until time of the service at 3 p.m. at the church.
Brother Dee Sweeney will officiate the service.
Due to COVID-19 resurgence, mask wearing is requested and an outside receiving line and drive-thru will be available.