Obituary for Basil Duncan
Basil was born on November 2, 1924 in a farming community located in northeast Texas called Mount Joy. He was the second of three children born to his parents, his sister, Florine was born in 1922 and a brother Noel was born in 1930.
By today's, standards his family was quite poor and was destined to become even more so because the so called Great Depression hit the nation in 1929. In many ways however the family was fortunate that they lived on the land and could grow most all of their food and so did not suffer the awful hunger that city folks experienced. Even this did not prevent the family from time to time of having to eat only one meal a day consisting of dry cereal with no milk and what was called baking powder biscuits. Usually we managed to raise one or two hogs and come winter, we killed and prepared the meat for use over the next few months.
Needless to say these conditions presented tremendous pressure for the parents and so like many before them, his parents separated and went in different directions. Basil was seven at the time, his sister was nine and his brother was two and with their mother they moved in with his grandparents. This was not a good solution but it was the only solution. His grandparents lived in a three room house plus one large room upstairs and they had four children still at home. Along with our four that made a total of ten people living in this very small farm house. It was not very comfortable. You might know it was necessary for every member of the family to work in the cotton fields and contribute as much labor as possible. When time permitted, those of the family that could, worked for other more affluent farmers in an attempt to bring in some cash for food and clothes. None of the children got to keep any money they earned, it all went to support the entire group and to buy school clothes and books if possible.
It was a real strain on the grandparents and their children and Basil realized this from the start so when he was 13 he moved out and worked where he could for his room and board. His mother and little brother had already moved in with a neighbor.
Basil was born with an intense desire to better himself and to learn everything he could and so this desire enabled him to enter his senior year at high school at age 15, graduating very close to the top of his class at 16. That year he met a beautiful young 16 year old girl from another community and shortly they both decided they would be married when they turned 18. They did exactly that three days after Basil turned 18 on Nov 2, 1942, by eloping to the city of Hugo, Oklahoma where they were married by a Rev. Young in the living room of his home. His wife played the piano and sang and my step father stood in as our witness. They returned to his mother's place and soon boarded a bus for the city of Dallas. Basil knew he was destined for the military so he took odd jobs until he received notice to report for duty. About four months later he received the notice so he reported to the induction center in Dallas, Texas and received permission to enter the U. S. Marines.
On April 9, 1943 he reported to the San Diego Ca Marine Recruit Depot and began some very intensive training to become the Marine he wanted to be. He served with the 4th Marine Division in the central pacific and was wounded a couple of time in combat at Saipan and Tinian. This would bring him back to the states and later he would serve with the 2nd Marine Division in the occupation of Nagasaki, Japan 5 weeks after the Atomic bomb was dropped. He was discharged from the Marines on January 1, 1946 at Camp Pendleton.
On April 15, 1945 his wife Evelyn presented him with identical twin sons, Ronald Glenn and Donald Lynn Duncan, Five years later daughter, Marlana Denise was born.
After leaving the Marines in 1946 and agreeing with his wife Evelyn they would make their home in San Diego, he found employment with the U.S. Postal service as a clerk since the wounds received in the war prevented him from walking as much as delivery carriers were required to do. At age 29 he was promoted to supervisor and sometime later to Station Manager. From there he received a promotion as the Retail Sales and Service Manager at the Main Office. In 1978 fell in a home accident and lost the vision in one eye but continued to work and in the same year received an appointment for a temporary position as a teacher in the Postal Service Academy in Potomac, Maryland. While there he was requested by the Asst. Post Master General to prepare and write a test to be used by the Postal Service for entry level supervisors. When that assignment was finished he completed his teaching appointment and returned to San Diego. He was now 56 years of age and started thinking of retirement. On February 9, 1982 after a little over 37 years with the Federal Government he retired at age 57. Since 1971 he and Evelyn have made their home in Rancho Bernardo.