An Honorable Man – Larry Duncan – A Life Worth Living from 1947 – 2014

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Larry October 2013

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1966

The preacher cried as he conducted the funeral service for Larry Duncan — a Vietnam War veteran and a man of distinction and honor. The preacher, Jamie Rowan, was also Larry’s son-in-law. Jamie’s love and admiration for this man whose daughter he had married was palpable, as he would often have to stop talking to pull himself together. Though his mind told him Larry was now free of his daily suffering, his heart told him he wanted more time with the man he so admired and longed to emulate. And he said so.

Picture from Larry and Brenda’s facebook

Pastor Jamie Rowan admitted being in awe of his father-in-law. His message was that words like honor and integrity were not just meaningless language to Larry. He lived them without having to think about it. Because, man and boy, Larry lived by a code of honor that seemed to be stamped on his DNA.. He was loved. He was trusted. He was looked up to as a man of wisdom whose words came softly, slowly, and thoughtfully. But Larry was no stuffed shirt. He was good-natured, had a sense of humor, and loved his family and family gatherings. He also made sure his grandparents, and aunts and uncles, and all of us crazy Duncan cousins were not forgotten.

Brenda and Larry Duncan

Larry and his wife Brenda were some of the rare visitors when my mom and dad were no longer able to get out and about. When my dad died, they came to our house sometimes to visit with mama (Larry’s aunt). It made her feel special, remembered, and loved. And even when Larry and Brenda were trying to cope with their own serious health problems, they took the time to visit relatives who were in the hospital for surgery — our Aunt Fay when she had heart surgery — our Aunt Frances in her struggle with cancer. Aunt Frances was my cousin Cindy’s mother. Cindy recounted to us — Joan, Chris, and me — on the way home from Larry’s funeral, how he would sit with her and her mother at the hospital, and share in sending out for food for the vigil. Frances — who was always there to sit with and care for anyone sick —  died at the age of 62.

He and Brenda together often helped people who were down on their luck. I remember when my daughter lost so much in a house fire, they gave generously to help with getting her back on her feet. Another family member told me recently how Brenda and Larry invited them to their house to share Christmas with them. And now Facebook is rife with personal stories of their generosity, even though Larry, because of his health, had to take early retirement from Goodyear after many years of faithful hard work.

Larry’s love and commitment to Brenda and their children were obvious. Taking care of his family was ever his first priority. He built them a beautiful home and, later, looking ahead to retirement, he bought a camper and a boat that all of them could enjoy. They lived only a few miles from Guntersville Lake. But they were able to enjoy only a few outings before they had to give it up. Larry and Brenda both had gotten to the point where their own doctors and hospital visits took up much of their time.

Heart surgeries followed and Larry’s back got worse and worse. They sold the camper

and boat. Because of his back problems, I was always amazed that Larry, a tall man, always carried himself like a soldier even before he was a soldier — straight, tall, and with dignity, even when the pain was etched on his face. But he never came across as arrogant or proud. He always let others speak first, never monopolized a conversation, looked at a person when he or she was speaking, and made each one feel he was interested in what they had to say.

When Pastor Rowan popped the question to Kristi Duncan, he so admired her father that he decided to ask for her hand in marriage. Old-fashioned or not, Larry Duncan’s high example of a wise, responsible, and honorable man, was already working on the young man his daughter had chosen.

Larry was known as Superman among his family and friends. There was even a stand of flowers depicting the big red “S” of the Man of Steel beside his casket. He acquired the name because of his tireless commitment to holding the center in an unraveling world. A world that the younger generations are inheriting. Larry Duncan has left a legacy for all who knew him. His unwavering example of an honorable man.

“He taught me so much,” the weeping pastor said. “And I was so looking forward to learning more.”

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See: Duncan Cousins’ Day Out –https://thevillagesmith.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/duncan-cousins-day-out-more-fun-than-a-barrel-of-monkeys/

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8 thoughts on “An Honorable Man – Larry Duncan – A Life Worth Living from 1947 – 2014

  1. What a lovely tribute. Larry would have liked it, but based on what you’ve written about him and his innate goodness, he probably would not have felt he was all that special. What a wonderful man and what a loss to his family and friends.

    I apologize for being MIA for so long. My husband had a bad fall in our garage and really did a number on his knee. The surgeon had to put his knee cap back where it belonged then stretch and stitch together the tendon and some ligaments. He’s still in the hospital and at the end of the week will be headed to rehab for who knows how long. I’m planning a trip to the hospital tomorrow with clothes and other things he’ll need if he’s not going to be home for a while.

    AND…guess what? Another big snow storm is supposed to hit us tonight and tomorrow. I have a wonderful neighbor who plowed the driveway for me Sunday and will do the same tomorrow. I told him the job is his for the rest of the winter.

    And that’s the latest news from snowy NH..

    • I was going to email you before all this happened. Larry’s death was a SHOCK, even with his bad health. He’s the cousin who is one month older than me.

      I figured it had to be something like a hospitalization, but did not want to put you under any pressure to return mail if you were in those circumstances.

      I guess you know that old Dixie was defeated again — by snow. My neighbor had to spend two nights at work. Highways impassable. She’s the manager of a store near a Walmart, so she stocked up on food and drink and books and camped out. She called me from her cozy nook to ask about the electricity here. She sounded so nested up with books and comfort food I asked if I could join her.:)

      I certainly hope Frank gets much better. He’s going to have a long row to hoe, though. We’ll be praying for him and you, too.

      Since all the company from the holidays and cramming things out of sight, I can’t find my first midwife book. I was already into it and I hate to go on to the second book before finishing the first. It is here somewhere, but I am going to have to go through a thorough book-by-book search. Will let you know how it goes. The other two are sitting high and tight on the main bookshelves in the bedroom.

      It is SO good to hear from you. We didn’t know what happened, but we didn’t think it could be good.

      Great to have you back. If you have time, please keep us posted on Frank.

      • I don’t think it will make a lot of difference if you go on to book two before finishing book one. It’s just more stories about Jenny’s life and experiences at Nonatus House. But it’s frustrating to not be able to find a book when you want it.

        I know you’ve done several entries that I’ve missed and one must be about snow, judging from the subject line. I’ll do some backtracking and try to catch up. I have friends in Charleston and Atlanta. They had some very interesting and unusual snow and ice stories to tell on Live Journal.

        Frank just called me since I posted the previous comment and he must be feeling OK because he was quite testy about how much stuff I was planning to bring to him at the hospital. He’s going to be such a fun patient to have at home (she said, dripping sarcasm.)

      • I feel for you. So even though I’m not Catholic I will burn a candle in your honor and ask the Lord to toughen your teeth enamel. Because, honey, you are going to grit them like you never have before.:)

      • Thanks. I’m not Catholic either, but far be it from me to say it wouldn’t help. Maybe I should get one of those things to put in my mouth that people who grind their teeth in their sleep use It would be cheaper than a trip to the dentist. .

  2. So sorry for all of our loss whenever a good man gets his reward. Sounds like he was what we all should be. I feel your hurt sis. Love you!

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