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Edward Franklin Duncan

1923 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Edward Franklin Duncan Obituary
Duncan, Edward Franklin

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Franklin Duncan USMC; cherished father, husband, and friend; military hero; intrepid adventurer; dedicated teacher; accomplished athlete; avid hunter; and professional musician passed away peacefully in his sleep Thursday morning on September 29th, 2016.

Born in Myrick, Oregon on April 5, 1923 and raised in Dunsmuir, California; this long time New Mexican resident was surrounded by loved ones in his New Mexican home that he had built with his own hands.

Edward graduated from Dunsmuir High School in 1941 raring to enlist in the United States Marine Corps to fight for his beloved country in WWII, leaving behind the start of a brilliant tennis career, a blossoming music career, and his beloved Airedales. He and his brother Jack enlisted together, joining their uncle General John Cooley as Marines. They fought together in the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal, surviving the Battle of Bloody Ridge and the Battle of the Tenaru River and what they thought to be a crocodile coming up on the beach between them to eat them in the middle of the night, but turning out to be an undetonated torpedo instead. After surviving such great odds, they were shipped to Okinawa, Japan. During their courageous tour in the Pacific Theater, Edward contracted Malaria and pneumonia and had to be sent back to the States for treatment. After his recovery, his Uncle Cooley provided him with the opportunity to attend the Naval Academy, which he eagerly accepted, enrolling in 1944. While at the USNA, he became one of the 1st Battalion in 1947 as well as the Lightweight Boxing Champion whose boxing record has yet to be broken, and then joined the 4th Battalion in 1948. Upon his graduation from the USNA in 1948, he chose to return to the USMC as a 2nd Lieutenant and began his basic training at Quantico, Virginia that same year.

In 1949, he met and fell in love with his first wife, Margaret L. Duncan, in Arlington, Virginia. They married later that year at Annapolis. In 1949 he was transferred to Camp Pendleton, California to prepare for overseas duty in the Korean War. In short order, he was shipped off to the Korean War where he joined the 1st Marine Division as it fought its way across the Yalu River. As Rifle Platoon Commander of Company G, he commanded his men to take out two 50 caliber machine gun nests that had been set up to ambush a key bridge in a cross fire. For leading the brave and treacherous charge, Edward earned his Silver Star. Later that year, as the 5th Marine Regiment fought along the Naktong River, a sniper shot Edward in the left leg, shattering his knee as he attempted to cross a rice paddy. At first he demanded to know which one of his men had pranked him with a kick, but quickly realized the truth. He spotted the sniper and saluted him for his excellent shot then signaled to his men to find and take him out. He was then carried out by Korean medical aides and got his photo snapped by none other than David Douglas Duncan, a photographer for Time Magazine, who made sure the photo made the next edition's cover. Edward's injuries earned him a Purple Heart and kept him from being one of the Frozen Chosin. During his recovery in 1950, he was sent to Boston as a Procurement Officer for the New England Area. In short order, he earned his Captain bars in 1952. The very next year, he and his wife's first child, a daughter, Cheryl, was born. 1954 saw him transferred to Quantico, Virginia to attend Junior Officers School where he coached the USMC Boxing team. In 1955, he and his wife were blessed with a second child, a daughter, Shawn. By 1956, he was transferred to Okinawa, Japan once again. Upon his return to Quantico, Virginia in 1957, they had their third child, a son, Shan. 1958 found him stationed back at Camp Pendleton, California and promoted to Major. Shortly thereafter, he received orders to Norfolk, Virginia where he became Marine Corps Aide to Admiral Robert Dennison. His outstanding service to date finally led him to his special assignment in 1960 to Security Officer for the South American Embassies, and he took the US Santa Maria to Lima, Peru. In 1963, he and the Security Office moved to the Panama Canal Zone. The next year, as result of his excellent service, he was assigned to yet another prestigious duty, this time at the Pentagon in Washington DC where he was on classified duty. There he met his future second wife, Louise Heier, on the tennis court. As the Vietnam War raged on, events required his training and experience, so he was assigned to combat in 1967, but corresponded with her whenever he could. By the end of his Vietnam War service, he had become the commanding officer of an old French Foreign Legion fort. On New Year's Eve, due to a long range patrol Captain's intel, Edward and his men successfully prepared and held the fort during the Tet Offensive. Shortly thereafter in 1968, he was assigned to the Headquarters of the Marine Corps in Washington DC with a promotion to Lt. Col. Then he was shifted to Quantico, Virginia where he was able to finally propose to Louise. Later that year they were married, and he continued his specialized duties to the USMC and found himself coaching high school tennis.

In 1972, he retired as a Lt. Col. from the USMC and moved to Grants, New Mexico to begin his new career as the head of the high school ROTC program, a mathematics teacher, and tennis coach. Finally settling down, he and his second wife, Louise H. Duncan, started their family with a daughter, April, in 1974 and son, Edd, in 1976. After a few years of teaching and coaching in Grants, he moved to Albuquerque in 1978 and settled there permanently.

Edward lived and loved a full life of high adventure that can hardly be contained in one page let alone volumes of books, but we, his loved ones, have done our best to give you a glimpse into his exciting life. In his retired years, he continued his love of adventuring, hunting, playing sports (especially tennis and even pole-vaulting in the Senior Olympics), playing harmonica and saxophone, target shooting, gun shows, and flea markets. He was always happy to share his experiences, knowledge, and stories with others, and had many friends wherever he went. If he saw anyone or any creature in need, he was the first to offer help. No matter what troubles he faced, he always had a positive attitude, a quick smile, and a song in his heart.

He is survived by his daughters Cheryl, Shawn, and April; his sons Shan and Edd; his grandchildren Nathan, Peigi, Jesse, Callie, Matthew, Daniel, Christopher, and David; his great-grandchildren Austin, Bentley, and Cash; and his brother Lyle. T

The rendering of his Military Funeral Honors will be carried out by an honor guard detail at Santa Fe National Cemetery 501 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501 on Friday, October 14th, 2016 at 3pm. A memorial will follow the ceremony across the street at the Lodge at Santa Fe 750 N St Francis Dr, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Paws and Stripes to honor his love of animals.

Arrangements by Direct Funeral Services, 2919 4th ST. NW. ABQ. 505-343-8008
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Oct. 9, 2016
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