Duncan Clan Reunion Uproariously Good

June 1965 Family Reunion, courtesy of Colin Duncan

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor A. Duncan of 16 Washburn Ave., Auburndale, with their six children and families, hired a motel near Manchester, N. H. last weekend for their first family reunion in 13 years.

Betty, Taylor, Virginia, Wally, Harley perhaps, 06.12.1965, courtesy of Colin DuncanWeary but happy after the excitement of family baseball games, musical sessions, and en masse church attendance, Grandfather Duncan’s two-word description of the Friday-to-Sunday gathering was “uproariously good.”

The 28-member clan, lacking only one youngster who had the mumps, included Mrs. Willard Kindberg (Virginia Lee Duncan) and Mr. Kindberg, who have returned from the jungles of Peru where, since 1952, they have been working with the Campa Indians, translating and defining the language of the people, preparing young natives to teach it, and establishing schools. Mr. Kindberg is a translator with the Wycliffe Bible Translators, a Protestant mission society. Mrs. Kindberg was the first graduate of the nursing school at Wheaton College in Illinois. There are six children in their family.

Mrs. Harley Smith (Betty Duncan) and her husband and two children, [sic] home from Paris, France, where they operate a school for Greater Europe Mission (Protestant). Mr. Smith is business manager for the European Bible Institute in Lamorlaye, France. Mrs. Smith, a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, is a teacher of music.

Mr. and Mrs. J. Wallace Duncan and their four children [sic] from East Haddam, Conn. Mr. Duncan is a quality control engineer with Winchester Electronics Co. in Waterbury. He is a B. A. graduate of Gordon College, Wenham.

The Rev. and Mrs. Robert Duncan and their three children [sic] of Mattapan, where Mr. Duncan is the minister of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

St. Louis, Mo., is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor A. Duncan Jr. Taylor, a graduate of Northrop Institute of Technology, Inglewood, Calif., is with McDonald Aircraft Co. in St. Louis.

The youngest son, Bertrand Stevens Duncan, was graduated this June from Boston University with a degree in psychology. “Steve” is working as a laboratory technician at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton. He plans to study medicine.

The senior Duncans, who will have been married 40 years on July 25, have lived in Newton since 1935. They left their first address on Hartford St., Newton Highlands, at the outbreak of World War II when Mr. Duncan reentered the service.

He had been in the Navy during World War I and after that had gone into public accounting, getting his CPA in 1925. He entered teaching when he was called upon to fill a temporary vacancy at Temple University in Philadelphia, continued on a part-time basis, and was later called upon to set up business courses at Girard College.

During World War II Cmdr. Duncan spent three years in Philadelphia where he was in charge of a $115 million airplane contract between the Navy and the Budd Co. Later he was transferred to Portsmouth, N. H., where he served as the yard’s fiscal officer.

Mr. Duncan says he has retired twice. He left the Navy as a captain in 1932. Then he worked for General Electric Co. for more than five years as manager of a special auditing project in which he organized a staff of auditors. He retired in 1957.

For five years before World War II and for five years afterward he taught accounting, economics, and finance at Bentley College. He has also taught in the Boston University School of Business Administration.

June, 17 1965 News-Tribune newspaper article entitled “Newton-Based Duncan Clan Reunion Uproariously Good, courtesy of Polly Duncan (Bob’s wife) via Colin Duncan (Bob’s son)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Colin or Aunt Polly, what’s the name of the newspaper and the date of the edition in which this article appears? Best guess, anybody?
  • Which cousin had the mumps and couldn’t come? Can you tell who stayed home with you? Tell us about having the mumps. How long did it last? Did anyone else in the family get it?
  • Virginia, what year did Aunt Lee graduate from Wheaton as the first graduate of the nursing school? What was it like being the first graduate? What, exactly, does that mean? Was there no one else in her class? How big was her class? Was the program up and running or were there fits and starts? How long did it take her to get through? Why did she choose nursing? Why Wheaton?
  • Uncle Harley, Debby, Sandy, did Aunt Betty teach music in the school in Lamorlaye? Or did she take private students only? Did she teach anything else in the school? What was the school’s name? I presume it’s Aunt Betty playing the piano in the photo above. Am I right? Is Uncle Harley holding the trumpet?
  • Jimmy, Diane how long were you all in East Haddam? Why did you move? Can you describe your house? Remember your address? What ages were all the kids? How long was Uncle Wally with Winchester Electronics? Was he always quality control there or did he move around in jobs, up the ladder or otherwise? How did he get that job? Why did he leave?
  • Aha! The name of Uncle Bob’s church in Mattapan was St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. Aunt Polly, what position did he serve there? What were his dates there? Was he still in seminary? Where did the Bob Duncans live at that time? How old were the kids? What happened to St. Paul’s that I can’t find anything about it on the web?
  • Gloria, Trey, how did Uncle Tad end up on the other side of the continent in California? What did he do with McDonald Aircraft? How long was he there? Did he move up in the ranks, move around? Why did he leave? What did he go to? Does your mom remember that time? What does she recall? How did they feel about moving to St. Louis?
  • Dad/Steve, can you tell about getting the lab tech job at St. E’s? How long were you there? I’ve never heard about that lab tech job. Why not? What else was going on at the time? Were you dating that painful pre-mom woman still?
  • Anything else anybody wants to tell us?

8 thoughts on “Duncan Clan Reunion Uproariously Good

  1. vgorman63

    This is a very informative article! How fun! I will ask mom the questions, next time I talk to her. My dad, Will Kindberg, is holding the trumpet. He and both my older brothers played the trumpet.

  2. Dawn Duncan Harrell Post author

    Debby Chasteen (Betty’s daughter) writes: “Yes, my Mother taught hymn arrangement and I think music theory and worked with the choir, some ensembles and then private lessons as well. The school was the European Bible Institute. It’s very possible that my Dad was holding the trumpet. He traveled with a youth for Christ gospel quartet to Sweden in 1950 and he also played trumpet with that group. Yes, Mother is at the piano in the picture!”

  3. Harley Smith

    Hi, Dawn,

    Yes, that is Aunt Betty at the piano and her Dad and Mom both singing. No, I don’t think it is I holding the trumpet. Too bad the picture isn’t a bit wider. Did Uncle will play the trumpet? It looks a little bit like him.

    You are doing a wonderful thing. Who knows – perhaps before I die I might get to sending you the topics I mentioned. It would be more difficult afterward probably.

    Uncle Harley

  4. Dawn Duncan Harrell Post author

    Aunt Polly writes, “Dawn, here are some of the answers to your questions, but I might have to do a bit of digging for at least one of them. Here goes. I think that the Reunion of 1965 took place in Hookset, NH, at a Motel. Will try to find article with specifics (it is buried here in my house somewhere!). We moved to 121 Greenfield Rd., Mattapan, in July 1962, where U. Bob served St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, located on Cummings Highway, first as Student Pastor (or perhaps it was “Stated Supply”) until he was ordained and installed there on February 10, 1963, at which time he became Pastor. He had completed all the work of Seminary but did not march down the aisle for graduation until June, 1963. (He was just waiting for a call so that he could be ordained, that’s why the time lapse I guess). We served there from 1962-1967; Andy was 5 yrs., Gene was 1 year old, and Colin was born in Oct. 1964. Shortly after we moved to our new call in Greenlawn, L.I, NY, Boston Presbytery decided to merge St. Paul’s with Hyde Park Presbyterian Church – not sure of the exact date. St. Paul’s church building was sold to Assembly of God denomination, still is that today. Hope this helps. Sorry it takes me so long to answer. Aunt Polly”

  5. vgorman63

    I asked my mom about this; she did not have a clear memory of being the first to graduate from nursing school; she thought maybe it was she was the first Wheaton student to graduate from West Suburban, the nursing school. She thought she may have graduated before the others in her class (she thought there were about 30 or so~ she still is in contact with some) because she had already taken some courses before entering the nursing school. She does not remember whether she graduated in 1949 or 1950. I can find that out…
    She does not recollect what it was like, or could not describe it to me. She didn’t remembering there being any “fits and starts”.
    She always wanted to be a nurse because she wanted to help people.
    She is not sure why Wheaton; just that she heard it was a good college.

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