Marjorie was the oldest of four siblings and was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System. Called “Bootsie” by many family members and friends, she had a love for music and singing from a very early age. She could be heard singing at anytime of the day or night, often while some of her family were trying to sleep!
By the time Marjorie was 25, she knew she wanted to sing professionally. Her classical vocal studies began at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia and summer workshops at Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts. She graduated from Metropolitan Collegiate Center in Philadelphia, PA. She also worked toward her Associates Degree in Music from Southside Community College in Alberta, VA.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Marjorie traveled around the world, performing in productions with opera companies such as San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, The Harlem Opera, and Opera Ebony. In 1993, Marjorie relocated to Crewe, VA joining Pleasant Oak Baptist Church, and shared her love for classical music through the Musical Extravaganza each fall. Marjorie’s last tour was in a production of Porgy and Bess in Turin Italy from June-July 2019 with the New York Harlem Production Company.
Marjorie was a free spirit, who lived a life few others get the chance to live, and she did it with great humor, joy, and excellence.
Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John Wharton; her brother, Deacon Philip Dukes, Jr.; and her Sister-in-Law, Christine Dukes.
Those left to cherish Marjorie’s memories are her daughter Judith Marie Dukes; Sister, Diana R. Dukes; Brother, Alexander I. Dukes; Grandchildren, Edward Parks, Janelle Parks, and Nadirah Dukes; Sister-in-Law, Joyce Dukes; Cherished Cousins, Rev. James and Barbara Green; great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and many cousins, relatives and friends.
Funeral Services Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 12:00 noon at Pleasant Oak Baptist Church, Victoria. Interment church cemetery.
W.E. Hawkes & Son Funeral Home of Blackstone in charge of arrangements.
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