John Wallace Duncan, 90, retired Joplin-area rancher, died Wednesday, July 23, 2003, at a Chester care facility.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at the Chester United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dale Wolery officiating. A fellowship reception will follow the service
at the church. A private family interment will take place at the Duncan Family Cemetery north of Joplin at a later time.
John was born June 29, 1913, to Troy and Helen (Keith) Duncan on the family ranch 28 miles north of Joplin. He attended the Burke School in rural Liberty County. He would ride his horse to school and the horse would often dump him in the creek, causing him to get wet enough that school attendance was not possible. He then attended and graduated from the Joplin High School in 1931. While in high school, he went to the state track meet in Missoula twice, competing in the mile, in which he placed second once, and the high jump.
In 1946 he met Dorothy Anne Packer. They were married on July 25, 1946, at the Grace Evangelical Church north of Rudyard. The couple always lived and worked on the family ranch.
In the 1940s, he showed carloads of feeder cattle at the International Show in Chicago several times, and at the National Western in Denver in the 1950s. In 1953 he purchased his first registered Herefords. The highlight of his livestock career was in 1986 when a bull bred and raised on the ranch was named Reserve Grand Champion bull at the largest Hereford show in the world, the National Western in Denver.
John was a conservationist all his life. He served on the Liberty County Soil Conservation Committee for more than 20 years. He was a board member of the Montana Land and Mineral Association for 15 years and served in an advisory role to the Montana Department of Natural Resources. He also served on the Natural Resources committee of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. Working with his neighbors, John formed the Sage Creek Water District and served on its board. The rural water district brought water out of the Sweet Grass Hills that hadn't been polluted with alkali and distributed it to rural families in the north country from Chester to Inverness.
John loved the land and was happiest when he was improving his ranch and making it more efficient and productive. With his father he developed a private irrigation system that he spent his entire adult life improving. He loved to irrigate and was never happier than when he was wearing his irrigation boots, running water and making things grow.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Troy and Helen (Keith) Duncan.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Dorothy Anne (Packer) Duncan of Joplin; children, Keith Duncan of Great Falls, Sylvia (Jack) McComber of Rocky Ford, Colo., Bruce (Tammy) Duncan of Joplin, Rhea Duncan of Portland, Ore., and Tim Duncan of West Lafayette, Ind.; sister, Ina Rose Kelly of Scottsdale, Ariz.; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Hill County 4-H Foundation, c/o Hill County Extension Service, P.O. Box B, Havre, MT 59501 or to the Hi-Line Health Foundation, Box 705, Chester, MT 59522.
Services and arrangements are under the direction of Holland and Bonine Funeral Home in Havre.