|Birth: ||Feb. 5, 1921|
|Death: ||Jun. 23, 1996|
My uncle was called "Dunc" by all of us. He was the good looking, spirited husband of my mom's sister.
He was terribly handsome in an exotic way, but heaven knew where it came from. His mom's family was Swedish, and apparently his dad's was Scottish, but Dunc could have passed for a Native American or someone from India, with thick hair and beautiful dark skin... which made his light eyes all the more striking. He wasn't a big man, kind of wiry, but he had a barrel chest and a voice with reverb.
As a child, I loved Uncle Dunc's crackly laugh, his booming voice, and big hugs. He humored my childish fascination with a star-shaped scar he had on his thumb and would show it with a smile when I asked. As I grew, I loved his concern for nature and his wonderful humor. As an adult, I treasured getting to know him even better by correspondence and a wonderful trip to see him at his home where he went overboard to show me around and we spend lots of time talking, after he had lost his wife. He nearly broke my heart when he tried to contain himself, showing me the patch of rhododendron where he's laid her ashes. Once past that difficult and sad shared moment, our time together was beautifully pleasant; we went to Mystic Seaport, cooked on the grill, and he introduced me to toaster hash browns. I will always hold that visit dear, especially because he left us not too many months afterwards. I remember before he passed, his daughter in law held the phone to his ear. He couldn't speak anymore, but he was alert and listened and laughed as I teased him about the chipmunk in his woodpile that he detested and I adored.
One of his funny stories I remember hearing - and seeing evidence of - was his being at the state capital coincidentally when a protest was about to take place. He was running down the steps to get out of the way of the marchers, just as a photographer from the Hartford Courant snapped a picture... which made it look like Uncle Dunc was leading the pack. He said he had a fine time explaining it to friends and colleagues who raised an eyebrow.
He and his wife had a summer cottage later made into a year round home on a beautiful lake. Visiting them was extra fun for that, to be able to sit on the porch and watch the many birds at their feeder, or relax on the dock, paddle around, or motor around or watch my cousins catamaran or ski. On one of these visits my one cousin, my dad, and I were in a boating accident when an unobservant (and underage) driver ran us over in a boat maybe three times the size of ours. While I escaped unscathed, my cousin broke a few ribs on the steering wheel when he frantically tried to get us started to get away. The prow of the other boat smacked my dad's thigh as he dove to safety, the shock traveling down and breaking his leg below the knee. It is probably my only unpleasant memory of times with the Duncans at the lake.
Wherever he is, it is certain Dunc is deftly handling a boat, checking the lake water quality and watching for algae blooms, and observing the trees to make sure there's no gypsy moths laying eggs. If ever a man took seriously the Godly dictate to be a steward of the Earth, it was Dunc.
His funeral was very hard for everyone, even me, removed as I was as just a niece. My visit with him was fresh in my mind. The drive to the funeral from Philadelphia was long, and I had a still longer trip ahead, as there was a job interview scheduled for me in Annapolis, Maryland right afterwards. The song "You Learn" from Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill was all over the car radio and unlike my usual self who tries to politely sit on feelings, I hollered along in the car as she taught me how to grieve-
Wear it out (like a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you're gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn.
In the simple little church, as we bade our goodbyes, Dunc's wishes had their kinder musical way with us all as we sang his favorite hymn, one speaking of his love of the Earth and all it held, Morning Has Broken. Perfect.
DUNCAN. Roy L. Duncan II, 75, of East Hampton, CT, beloved husband of the late Ruth (Ettinger) Duncan, died Sunday (June 23, 1996) due to a recent illness. He was born in Hartford, Feb. 5, 1921, the son of the late Roy and Helen (Erikson) Duncan, and had resided in East Hampton since 1977, having formerly lived in Windsor where he had many friends.
Roy is a graduate of Hall High School, West Hartford, and Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, where he earned a BSE degree.
A veteran of World War II, Roy served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the 29th Bomber Command in India, flying as a Special Communications Officer on a B-29 Fortress over India, Burma, China, and Japan. He was honored with the Flying Bar Oak Leaf Cluster, Crew Wings, four Battle Stars over Theater Ribbons, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with an Oak Leaf Cluster. Roy achieved the rank of Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve following the war.
Roy spent most of his career with the Aetna Life and Casualty, retiring in 1983, as director of the Field Lease Department. He was a member of the East Hampton Congregational Church, and past chairman of the East Hampton Economic Development Commission.
A devoted family man, avid community volunteer, and conservationist, he is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law, Roy and Linda Duncan of Bloomfield, Robert and Karoline Duncan of Sturbridge, MA, and Roger and the Rev. Karen Duncan of Hilo, HI; and five grandchildren, Nora of East Windsor, Karlyn and Erik of Sturbridge, MA, Adam and Andrew of Windsor. A memorial service will be held Thursday (June 27), 10 a.m., at the East Hampton Congregational Church, Main Street, East Hampton with the Rev. Nancy A. Milton officiating. Burial will be at the convenience of the family in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the East Hampton Congregational Church Memorial Fund, the East Hampton Ambulance Assn., P.O. Box 144, East Hampton, or to the East Hampton Public Library, Main Street, East Hampton 06424. The Carmon Windsor Funeral Home has care of arrangements.
Roy Leslie Duncan (1886 - 1953)
Helen Erikson/Ericson Duncan (1887 - 1991)
Ruth Emma Ettinger Duncan (1924 - 1995)*
Cedar Hill Cemetery
Plot: Section 1, Lot 83
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Apr 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 50929919