Josh, Kathy, Joe, Kim, Allan, Katrina, Loma Linda, Colombia, ca. 1994
[Kathy]: I’m Kathy. I’m the fourth of the family there, also born at Yarina. All of us were born there except Gail, so we always said she was the odd the one—ha!
[Gail]: She was adopted.
[Kathy]: She’s the adopted one.
[Dawn]: Gail, where were you born?
[Gail]: I was born in Newton, Massachusetts.
[Marcia]: Oh, Newton Wellesley Hospital?
[Gail]: I don’t know if that was the hospital. Is that the only hospital in Newton?
[Steve]: That’s the main one.
[Marcia]: Yeah, that’s the major one.
[Gail]: I guess.
[Kathy]: So what am I supposed to say? Just kind of a little background? Um, so yeah, so almost all the years, all my years were in Peru—school years—except kindergarten, when we were on furlough in New Jersey, and my eighth grade year were on furlough. That’s when. . . .
No my kindergarten year was when you [Eric] had the accident, the car accident. My eighth grade year was when you and Bruce were going to start in college and that’s why our family moved back. So we had very few times in the States before. Then my senior year of high school, we actually moved to Colombia and I thought that was the worst thing ever, to have to leave. But I had a great time in Colombia, too, after I adjusted. Then came to the States for college in Dallas Bible College and then transferred over to Bryan College in Tennessee. That’s where I met my husband Allan.
Allan and Kathy Courtright, March 13, 1981
So Allan and I met at college. I was playing volleyball and he was like the student volleyball coach. And so we made all of our away trips, away game trips. He was there with us and we got to know each other and got married.
Actually, I have to back that up. He came to Dallas when Eric and Mary Lynn got married—poor guy. Met all the Duncans. What?
[Gail]: You broke up, too, didn’t you.
[Kathy]: I broke up with him, while he was there at the wedding. I mean, there in Dallas for the wedding time, not at the wedding itself, but I guess I just got scared off. Too serious, too fast. It was very, very mean of me to do that, but he met the whole Duncan clan and he still decided to propose later on.
We got back together at school and so, um, after he graduated, that summer, he came down to Colombia, kind of like the Eric and Mary Lynn thing you guys did. But we ended up getting engaged there at Loma Linda in Colombia. Then I finished school and got married the next year [March 13, 1981].
Soon after we got married, we joined Wycliffe and went through all the training and all that.
Doug, the brother between me and Virginia, Virginia and I—he was killed in a motorcycle accident when Kim was just born, so that was thirty years ago, last month. And we were doing our support-raising.
Oh, by the way, I was born in June of 1959. I think you were writing the dates down.
[Dawn]: So you were here when he was killed, in the States?
[Kathy]: We were actually in Waxhaw. We were in Tennessee at my Dad’s parents’ place. We were traveling around doing deputation, raising our support. We found out when we were in Tennessee. The next day, two days later, we were coming here anyway as a planned thing. It was really hard because we were speaking in a church the night we found out he was killed. We were doing a slide show. Allan was doing the speaking and I was clicking the slides. As Allan was speaking, we came across a picture of Doug and I was like aaaaagh. Anyway, I won’t go into that. But we came here [Waxhaw] soon afterward and we were with friends of his and family. Otherwise, we didn’t really know anybody. The others got to go down to Loma Linda, but I didn’t have a passport with me.
Loma Linda was where he was killed on a motorcycle after traveling from Dallas through Central America. The night he got to Loma Linda, just a freak thing that he was killed. He lived to the next morning, but then he died.
[Eric]: The neat thing about all that was when he arrived, on the morning he arrived, I guess, he had lunch with the family and started telling the story of his travels all the way from Texas all the way down to Colombia and so they recorded it all. They got it all on tape.
[Kathy]: Mom turned on the tape recorder.
[Eric]: So the very, almost the last hours of his life, he was telling his experiences, laughing and joking. So we’ve got all of that on tape recording.
[Kathy]: It was actually within a few hours because he didn’t arrive until evening, at late afternoon. They had supper. He was telling his experiences at supper. They went out riding right after that with just kids around the center and that’s when that happened.
Anyway, so we were preparing for mission work when we found out about that. And then Allan and I went through the rest of training. We were in Colombia for, assigned to Colombia for eight years of the fifteen years we were with Wycliffe. And then we were here at JAARS Center part of that time. Allan was in charge of—you saw the tour?—Allan was international computer services. He was the director of international computer services for a couple of years after were from Colombia to here.
[Eric]: He actually helped design the building that the IT center was in, the Languages Services Center.
[Kathy]: Language Services Center. I couldn’t remember the title of that building.
Then we ended up, while we were here, and on that assignment, we started. Our kids were in soccer. We did a lot. We volunteered for a professional, all Christian soccer team, which is under Missionary Athletes International. We ended up switching over to that. The last fifteen years, we’ve been with MAI. That’s kind of our ministry background.
story told by Kathy (Lee’s daughter) with interjections by Gail and Eric (Lee’s kids), Steve and Marcia (Steve’s wife), Dawn (Steve’s daughter) to the family reunion gathering on January 11, 2014; 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.)
- Kathy, what helped you adjust to Colombia?
- How did the two schools compare?
- What did you like to do for fun, both at Yarina and then in Colombia, besides ride motorcycles?
- Did your folks help you choose a college? How did you come to be at Dallas and then to transfer?
- I’ve guessed at the first photo date. Do you have a better idea of the year?