Virginia Burdick Duncan

Duncan, Virginia Burdick Virginia Burdick Duncan, a noted television and radio producer, model, spokesperson and great mother, stepmother, wife and friend, died March 20, 2013, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The 78 year-old leaves behind a legacy defined by love of family, friendship, media and the arts. Born and raised in beautiful, East Aurora, New York, Virginia attended both Milton College and University of Wisconsin-Madison. While pursuing her degree in speech and theater, Virginia caught the eye of a Milwaukee modeling agency in 1954. She entered her first pageant and, later that year, she went on to become Miss Milwaukee. Virginia completed her degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1956. During that time, she was crowned Badger Beauty. She went on to become a student producer and on-air host at WHA-TV in Madison. Shortly after graduation, Virginia met her first husband, Larry Habermann. Their daughter, Linda, was born in 1961. Virginia and Linda were best friends and a nearly inseparable duo during their shared time in Arizona. Virginia's career took off when she relocated to Milwaukee. She quickly landed a job as a TWA flight attendant during the glory years of aviation and she enjoyed a standout career as a professional model and actress. Virginia spent time as a writer/producer for the Miss Wisconsin pageants and telecasts and she became the first woman in management at Milwaukee's Allis- Chalmers Farm Equipment Division. As her professional reputation grew, so did Virginia's interest in travel and tourism. She became the Director of Tourism Development at the Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau and served on the Governor's Tourism Advisory Council. During the 1990's, Virginia wrote and produced travel features for WISN-TV and produced The Midday Show with Kathleen Dunn for WTMJ Radio. In 1979, Virginia's life took a romantic turn when she met the man she called "the love of her life," former Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce Executive, John Duncan. During the next twenty-five years, Virginia and John enjoyed numerous travels together including time in Russia and China. They grew to love their second home in Arizona, and in particular, a summer spot in Payson, Arizona. But it was time with their family that most defined their happiness. Virginia became a stepmother and friend to John's children, Chip, Bob and Nancy Duncan, and according to Chip, an extraordinary host of family gatherings that always celebrated life. Virginia moved to Arizona permanently, after the death of her husband, John. It gave her an opportunity to be closer to daughter, Linda and son-in-law, Bob and their children, Daniel and Troy. During the past decade, Virginia was never without a positive, life-affirming story about her grandchildren and their activities. She was a constant presence at their school functions and athletic events and their number one fan. Whether she was on a tennis court, rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers or walking a sandy beach on her beloved Madeline Island, Virginia found a way to make good friends. And more importantly, she always found a way to impact the lives of so many who will miss her. Virginia is survived by her loving daughter, Linda (Habermann) Parsons, son-in-law, Bob Parsons and stepchildren, Nancy, Bob and Chip Duncan. Grandchildren, Troy and Daniel Parsons and Taylor and Anna Duncan will carry her great legacy far into the future. Private memorial gatherings will be held this summer in New York, Arizona and Wisconsin's Apostle Islands. Donations may be made in Virginia Duncan's memory to the Valley Lutheran High School, 5199 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013 or to the American Parkinson's Disease Association in Arizona (APDA-Arizona), P.O. Box 40067, Tucson, AZ 85717.

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 5, 2013