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James E. Duncan 1925 – 2020
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James E. Duncan 1925 – 2020

James E. Duncan (Jim), a long-time Great Bend resident passed away Sep 8, 2020 in Olathe. Jim was born October 24, 1925 in Salina. He was the fourth of five siblings.  Jim entered the Marines in 1944 in San Diego and was deployed to the Pacific theater. He was training for the invasion of Tokyo when the war ended. He then deployed to China for five months before returning home in 1946.

He graduated from Fort Hays State after he returned from WWII, majoring in English. Jim married Noreen (Dreiling) in Hays on January 27, 1951, and moved to Great Bend shortly after. Jim and Noreen lived in Great Bend until 2014, when they moved to Lenexa to be close to their children. They were members of Prince of Peace Catholic Church (and formerly, St. Patrick’s). 

Jim was employed by Gibson Titus and Stafford for 33 years, from 1951 until GTS closed in 1984. He subsequently worked for Stewart International and completed his career at Straub International in 1999. Jim was well known throughout the region’s trucking and agriculture businesses due to his long experience as Parts Manager at GTS. 

Jim was active in Great Bend assisting in the pursuits of each of his four children, John, Timothy, Michael, and Ann. This included youth baseball, Boy Scouts, and Argonne Rebels during the years of their national championships. Jim was also an avid hunter, fisherman, and golfer.

Jim was the subject of a children’s book written by his granddaughter, Jessica Duncan Oliveros, and published by Simon and Schuster in 2018. The book titled, The Remember Balloons, tells the story of a young boy’s close relationship with his grandfather and the boy’s confusion as his grandfather begins to lose the balloons that hold his memories due to Alzheimer’s. The book won two national awards upon its release in 2018.

Never one to draw attention to himself, Jim’s quiet demeanor left a huge wake due to his honesty, dedication and integrity.  Jim was known for his sense of humor and giggling laugh, especially among his four children, eight grandchildren, and 24 great grandchildren.  All who knew him will miss his smile and laugh, but the strength of his character will live on in his 36 descendants and the generations that follow. 

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 15 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lenexa. Burial will be in the Leavenworth National Cemetery. Condolences may be expressed at

Funeral arrangements provided by

Amos Family Funeral Home & Crematory

10901 Johnson Dr.

Shawnee, KS 66203

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Sept. 13, 2020