On December 29, 2007 the New Jersey surf community and the world in general lost a great friend. Robert ‘Duke’ Mead, Jr., 33, was born in Elmer, NJ on May 31, 1974. Before Duke was old enough to get a driver’s license, he was finding ways to get himself to the south Jersey beaches, forty-five milesaway. After graduating high school he made that trip easier on himself by moving to the Atlantic City area.
Duke quickly made his mark on the area, helping with the organization of the Absecon Island Surf Contest and assisting with local surf camps. During the summer months, Duke could be found either enjoying warm weather and waves at the Ventnor Pier or working hard to save up for winter surf trips. Rob made frequent trips to both Cape Hatteras and Puerto Rico. In addition, surfing took him to Panama, Tortola, and St. Thomas.
Duke was a rare soul who reminded everyone he encountered to keep randomness in their lives. He had a true understanding of what was important and how precious life was, and he lived it to the fullest. You were lucky to have spent five minutes with him, and if you were fortunate enough to do so you had a friend for life. At the time of his death, Rob was studying to become an emergency room nurse, or ‘Focker,’ as he always said. It was of no surprise that he chose this path. As his friend Megan said of Rob, “He was overly giving, but yet, he never gave his generosity a second thought.”
On January 5th, friends and family honored Duke with a paddle out service at the Ventnor Pier. Rob hated the cold and probably would think we were stupid for paddling out in the winter, but he would have been the first one to do so for any of his friends.
You will be forever missed and never forgotten, Duke.
The nursing school Rob was attending has established a scholarship fund inhis name; any donations would be greatly appreciated. Checks can be made payable to:
Virtua Health Foundation
with a notation to: Robert “Duke” Mead, Jr. Scholarship.
They should be mailed to:
Helene Fuld School of Nursing Annual Giving Campaign
PO Box 1669
College Drive, Bldg. #26
Blackwood, NJ 08012
-By Ben Shultz