Tag Archives: 1983

Dear Grandma


Doug’s Letter to Grandma, 1983, courtesy of Virginia Gorman

Dear Grandma

I haven’t written you in a long time but that has nothing to do with how often I think of you. I received your card for my birthday back in may and I meant to write you and thank you for it but I never got to it. I kept real busy all summer and I’m now in Alaska again for a short while. I’ll be returning to Dallas hopefully before mom and Dad return to Colombia. It will be exciting to see Kathy’s new baby when I return. I hope to see Bruce and Brenda and their new baby as well as Gail + Virginia on the way home in October.

It has been rather interesting working in 10°–30° weather with ice floating all around the boat. The salt water ocean freezes at 28.6° F and is now 29° so we will be forced to head south in a few days. We are working off the coast of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean.

In November sometime, some friends of mine and I are planning a motorcycle trip through Central America to Colombia. I am really anticipating this trip because we have talked about it for years.

In January I plan to go back to school to finish my degree in Mathematics in order to fly in the Air Force. Please pray with me that the Lord will guide me every step along the way. I love you Grandma. Doug

undated letter from Dough (Lee’s son) to Grandma, referencing his parents and siblings; provided by Virginia Gorman (Lee’s daughter); transcribed by Dawn (Steve’s daughter)

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.)

  • What was Doug doing on the boat in Alaska?
  • Where did he plan to finish his degree? Where did he begin? Why did he take a break?
  • What his parents think of this venture?
  • Does this letter reference his Duncan grandmother or his Kindberg grandmother? What did Grandma think of this venture?

They’re Twins, They’re Girls, They’re Identical

We came back and we lived in Waltham [Mass.] for a year. Steve a year of internship at what was then Waltham Hospital [now Boston Children’s at Waltham]. Then he did residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, where he had done that externship.

It was during that time that I got pregnant again, and so we were pretty sure that—we found out we were going to have twins. That was kind of unexpected. It did come from my grandmother; [she] always used to tell me that she had a miscarriage that would have been twins if she had carried them to term. My aunt always wanted to have twins and never had them, but my cousin did have twins. She had fraternal twins and our twins are identical. They say that that isn’t so much a part of your heritage as fraternal twins are. At any rate, we followed the twin tradition.

My mother thought we should have a boy in the mix, so when Steve announced—and we thought we would, just because that was most—statistically that was most common. Then we had two girls [Kimberly and Stephanie]. He called up my mother and said, “Guess what? We have two girls!” And she said, “Oh, no!”

[Dawn]: Did she?

[Heidi]: Yeah.

[Dawn]: I love it because she came outside and she said, “Your mom had two girls.” And I said, “Oh, no! I wanted a brother.” And she scolded me!

[Stephanie?]: She had done it herself.

Anyway, so then we moved. When Dawn and Heidi. . . .

[Victoria]: How many years between you [Dawn and the twins]?

[Dawn]: Six.

Dawn is six years older than the twins and Heidi is two years older than the twins. The twins were 14 months and Dawn was in second grade—is that right?—when we moved out to South Dakota?

Steve Duncan Girls, 1982

Heidi, Dawn, Kimberly, Stephanie, Christmastime, 1982

[Dawn]: Yup.

Heidi was. . . .

[Heidi]: Toddling.

Not in school yet. And we lived in South Dakota for five years [1977–1982] and then we came back to the East Coast, raised our support and went to Angola. Dawn was in seventh grade and Heidi was in third grade and the twins were in first grade when we went to Angola [1983].

Then gradually they all—I homeschooled them in Angola. Dawn left in tenth grade to go to Ben Lippen School and Heidi wanted to go sooner because she didn’t want to do all the work that Dawn was doing in school.

[Heidi]: She had to do homeschool in ninth grade and it was just like uuuggghhh.

[Stephanie]: That was back when homeschooling was in its infancy and you had no options except the University of Nebraska.

We had University of Nebraska, a high school course from the University of Nebraska.

[Stephanie]: GED, basically a GED course.

Heidi went off when she was in ninth grade to Ben Lippen. Then we came home on furlough and lived in Sumter, South Carolina, for four months in a colleague’s house when the twins entered school. They weren’t too keen on being at Ben Lippen, but we said, “Try it.”

[Kimberly?]: [can’t hear] We were like kicking and screaming.

We said, “Try it.” We were on furlough. We stayed there until Christmastime and then they came home with us for Christmas break. Then they went back and stayed.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Kimberly, Dawn, Heidi, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) and Victoria TJ Ramey’s wife; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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.)

  • Which grandmother was it who had the miscarriage?
  • I’m thinking Heidi went to Ben Lippen in 1988 and Kim and Steph went in 1990. Is that right?

Daredevil Douglas

Doug and Virginia going to school, Lomalinda, Colombia, n. d.

Doug and Virginia going to school, Loma Linda, Colombia, n. d.

[Virginia, showing photograph]: My brother—he was two years older than me—he was killed in a motorcycle accident down in Colombia [December 21, 1983], so this is a memorial of him. He was very good on a motorcycle and also a daredevil, as was . . . as is my sister. So you have a son named Douglas. This is my brother Douglas and I named my son Douglas after my brother.

[T. J.]: And my Douglas was a daredevil, also.

[Virginia]: Oh is that right?

This was a memorial motorcycle trip down to Peru [sic]. They went over the Andes. Well, anyway, they had a memorial for my brother up in the Andes Mountains. They built a rock memorial and so they were dedicating it.

Bruce Kindberg at Doug's Memorial, July 2010, courtesy of Doug Bondurant

Bruce Kindberg at Doug’s Memorial, July 2010, courtesy of Doug Bondurant

[Kathy?]: There’s Bruce [Lee’s son] at the memorial.

[Virginia]: Yeah. That was up in the Andes Mountains in Peru.

[Steve]: That’s Dougie [shows another photograph].

[Virginia]: Is that Dougie?

[Steve]: Yup. I think I might have taken that picture.

[Virginia]: You may have.

[Steve]: Yup.

story told by Virginia Gorman (Lee’s daughter) with T. J. Ramey (Kathryn’s son), Steve, and Kathy Courtright (Lee’s daughter) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; recorded and transcribed by Dawn (Steve’s daughter)

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.)

  • Anyone else in the family—past or present—named Douglas?
  • Which Kindberg sister is the daredevil on the motorcycle?
  • Virginia, can you guess at a date for the photo?
  • I know it’s tough to relive, but if anyone wants to tell about the accident in more detail, we’ll listen.
  • Bruce, do you want to tell about the memorial trip? Was the memorial trip indeed taken in July of 2010 as I’ve noted on the photo? Who all went? From where to where? How long did it take? What else would you like tell us about it?
  • Family, do recall hearing about Doug’s death? Can you tell us about your experience?
  • Steve, can you point us to the photo you were thinking about toward the end of this piece?

Outravert, Music Leader, Source of Electricity and Trucks

I know that I have been acquainted with the Duncan family for—I was trying to figure it out—for 28 or 29 years [ca. 1983]. When I pastored Union Baptist Church back in the 80s . . . and where the pastorum and the old church building was located on Jenkinsburg Road, Tad and his family lived just down the road from the church. And that’s how Katie and I got acquainted with Tad and Carol and the kiddos. . . .

I came back to Griffin at the beginning of ’03 . . . And while I was here at Wildwood, I looked out one Sunday and who was there? It was Carol and Tad. And we—I don’t think—we had seen them in about twelve years. But of course I was glad to see them. So was Katie. So when you take our acquaintance and put it together, it equals out to about 28 or 29 years. It’s been a very good relationship.

I never found Tad Duncan to be a man hard to get along with. He was an outgoing person. I’m an introvert. He was an outravert. It’s true. He never met a stranger. He could talk to a sign board. I’ll tell you. That was Tad.

[Woman, perhaps his wife Katie, interjecting:] But it would answer him back, too.

We’d go out sometime with Tad and Carol to have a meal, usually at the Chinese house up here at Belk’s, and he’d have something going with the waitress. That’s the way he was. . . .

While I was here at Wildwood as pastor, we had need of someone to lead us in music. And Brother Milton and Brother Tad, they joined in together and they helped us in leading the music here.

When I get back to myself as just a personal guy from Tad to myself, he was very special. I know we have two ceiling fans hanging in our house that Tad put up. We have two other ceiling fans that Tad put switches in. There’s a light on the front on one of the barns behind our house that Tad wired up. That Chevrolet we drive that’s parked out back here, he put Freon in. And there are other things he did. He probably never thought anything about it.

When that tornado came through last year, my truck trigger, it got damaged. It got damaged bad. It’s still in the hospital. You know what, Guys, I don’t know when he’s going to fix it. But Tad and Carol had just come back from Arizona and they came by to see us. We had some damage. There was other people had a lot more damage than we did. He saw the truck how it was damaged. He said, ‘Ralph, I have a pickup truck at the house.’ He said, ‘I’m going to bring it over here to you. The insurance is paid. It’s got a tag on it. You won’t have to worry at all about it. I want you to take it and keep it and use it.’ So they went back to Arizona and I kept that truck for nearly a year.

And Tad called me one day and said Trey was needing a pickup, and needing a big pickup. It was a big pickup. I said, ‘That’s fine’ because I was going to let Tad have it back—I’d had it for nearly a year—when they came back from Arizona. Trey came back a little bit early and I brought it over to him. Well when he and Carol got here, he insisted to put a trailer hitch on our car. I said, ‘Tad, you don’t have to do that.’

‘Yah, I want to. I feel bad about taking the truck.’

I said, ‘Don’t feel bad about it, man. I had it nearly a year.’ But he went and found a hitch for that automobile that we drive. And he took it over somewhere. He was going to put it on himself, but he ran into somewhat of a problem. (When Tad and Carol came back this past time, I knew something was wrong with my buddy; he had just lost too much weight. I knew. But he just kept going.) So he took that car somewhere and had that thing put on and then he had to wire up the lights.

And you know, when it comes to somebody like that and having a friend like that, I just don’t forget it. I just don’t forget it. I enjoyed being in his company. And there were other things that he did for me in a personal way. So when I come here today in a celebration for Tad Duncan’s life, I can celebrate the fact that he was a great friend of mine. There is a sadness and I miss him already. So does Carol and the family. I know that. But there is something to celebrate when a man lived a life like he did. Not a perfect life. None of us are perfect. But he lived a life.

Ralph Simmons, pastor and friend, speaking at Tad’s memorial service, Wildwood Baptist Church (950 County Line Church Road, Griffin, GA 30223), June 22, 2012, partial transcription, audio provided by Gloria Boyer (Tad’s daughter)

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.).

  • Did Tad ever helped you out? What do you recall about that incident?
  • Do you remember singing with Tad? What did you sing? What was the occasion?
  • Did he play an instrument? Who taught him to play? Sing?
  • Growing up, did he talk to everyone? Was he an extravert? Give an example.