Duane Lempke was born in 1939 in Kewanee, Illinois, to Loretta (Kolb) Lempke and Arthur A. Lempke. From 1953 to 1957, he attended Kewanee High School and graduated from KHS in June 1957. In 2007, he attended the 50th high school reunion of his class.
In 1993, after 31 years, Mr. Lempke retired as a Colonel from the United States Army. He enlisted as a private in 1962 and spent six years in the Army’s elite Special Forces. As a Staff Sergeant, he entered Officer Candidate School in 1966 and was commissioned in the Field Artillery as a Second Lieutentant. From 1965 to 1970, he spent three years in Southeast Asia and Vietnam. When he retired, he had been awarded the Legion of Merit twice, the Bronze Star for Valor and Service, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for the Cuban Refugee Crisis, four awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, two awards of the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Master Parachute Badge. During his service, he received two degrees in Political Science, a BS from the University of Nebraska in Omaha and a MA from the University of Kansas. He successfully commanded an eight inch Corps Artillery battery and battalion in Germany in 1976 and 1986. Colonel Lempke graduated from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and is a 1988 graduate of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
From 1993 to 1996, Mr Lempke used the GI Bill to attend photography classes at the Alexandria campus of the Northern Virginia Community College. He graduated with an Associate Degree in Photography in June, 1996. Later that year, he was hired by Sission Studios, Inc. located in Springfield, Virginia, as the manager of their commercial section.
In June 1997, he attended his 40th high school reunion in Kewanee. To celebrate the occasion, he assembled his first photographic exhibit entitled “Reflections.” It ran for three months and contained 130 color prints and digital images of Kewanee; images he had taken during visits to see his 90 year old father from 1993 to 1997. When the show closed, the local newspaper, the Star Courier, wanted to print the images in a book. In January, 1998, Mr. Lempke’s photographs were published in a pictorial book also entitled Reflections by Lee Enterprises, Inc. The book became a popular local keepsake item and was sent by parents to many former Kewaneeans throughout the United States.
In his 11 years at Sisson Studios, Mr. Lempke has specialized in construction progress, aerial, commercial and architectural photography in the Washington DC metropolitian area. He has literally gone from muddy boots images at construction sites to photographing many prestigious architectural accomplishments. In October 2001, when the Pentagon was no longer declared a crime scene by the FBI and the Department of Defense, he was the first civilian photographer to document the existing conditions at the Pentagon after the 9/11 attack. Additionally, in the past 11 years, he has logged over 230 hours in helicopters photographing new buildings, memorials and the progress of projects.
His photography has appeared on the covers and in articles of numerouos publications. He is credited in three professional books. First, in 2003, he was the only area photographer to be represented in an exhibition and book entitled Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century, presented and published by the National Building Museum. In 2004, Mr. Lempke is credited for aerial and architectural contributions in the Smithsonian’s Building America’s Hanger, the Design and Construction of the National Air and Space Museum. In 2005, his twilight image of The Market Common at Clarenton, in Arlington, Virginia, was featured on the cover of the 28th International Council of Shopping Centers’ Book titled Winning Shopping Center Designs. His photographs of the Market Common are displayed in the book, along with other prize winning shopping centers from around the world.
Mr. Lempke is a member of the Virginia Professional Photographers Association (VPPA). He is also a Hall of Fame recipient at the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School (OCS) located in Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. Additionally, he is a life member in AUSA, MOAA and the Army Historical Society.
More recently Mr. Lempke is known for his artistic ability to capture the personalities of Washington DC buildings, subjects and events, and present them in dramatic images and custom collages. This skill contributed to the photographing, layout and editing of TRIBUTE. His work can be viewed and he can be contacted about his book on his website TRIBUTE4foundation.com
Duane and his wife, Terri, have lived in Kingstowne in Alexandria, Virginia, for the past 21 years.