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Skeeter Duke

Skeeter Duke Photo by Paul Neevel

The son of a Navy test pilot, Skeeter Duke lived all over the map before landing in Oxnard, Calif., for junior high and high school. “I married my high school sweetheart the day before the Tet Offensive,” he says. “We broke up a week before Woodstock.” Duke taught preschool in San Jose, studied for a bachelor’s in history and lived in communal housing with pot-smoking antiwar freaks. “On the first Earth Day in 1970, my friends bought a brand-new Pinto, dug a hole and pushed it in,” he says. “A week later, I sold my VW. I haven’t had a car since.” He moved to “The Farm,” a commune west of Creswell, with 10 others in 1971, then to Eugene for a job at the UO Child Care and Development Center. He campaigned for Jerry Rust, got arrested for anti-nuke sit-ins, played drums in rock bands and sold mobiles at the Saturday Market. He’s been active in the Community Village at the Oregon Country Fair since 1977, and a member of the East Blair Housing Cooperative since 1984. “We own 22 households in two clusters,” he says. “We have chickens, bees, fruit trees and raised beds.” A history buff since childhood, he has recorded public-affairs radio programs on cassette tapes since the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979. “I have close to two million tapes,” says Duke, who hopes to find a safe repository. “The insurance company says they have to go.”