John Leslie Duncan was born in Butte, Montana, February 13, 1958, and began going fishing, hunting, and camping before he could walk. John learned to scout new fishing holes early in life and found his favorites on the Madison River, the site of some of his fondest memories. When the family moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, John began fishing the Rogue River and bird hunting. John took up archery and won medals at several shoots. He did not want to leave the fishing, hunting, berry picking, and gardening of Oregon, but moved again with the family to Benson, Arizona, to complete high school with plans to get back to Oregon as soon as he could. John hunted dove, quail, and javelina in the desert, and even found a few fishing spots.
John married Terri (Theresa Tillmon) Duncan, on April 4, 1981, and they built their first home in Benson, Arizona. Shortly after they wed, John brought Terri to Montana to visit his folks, Gene and Helen Duncan, who had retired to Hamilton. He often recalled being shocked and thrilled when they weren’t even off Lost Trail Pass and Terri said she wanted to move to Montana.
The couple built their first Montana home on Mountain View Drive in Victor. All three of their children were born in Hamilton: Brian, Lisa, and Torey. The family enjoyed camping up the Burnt Fork, on Stony Creek, and many other places in Montana. Every chance they got, John piled everyone in a vehicle and drove to the Oregon Coast. Beverly Beach campground, Newport, Devil’s Punch Bowl, and The Chowder Bowl in Nye Beach were always favorite spots.
John worked many jobs through the years: union carpenter (Tucson, Arizona); contractor working with Terri’s Dad, Bill Tillmon (Benson, Arizona); and a crew leader at Alpine Log Homes (Victor, Montana). John was a building contractor in the Bitterroot Valley, constructing and remodeling numerous homes for family and friends, all reflecting his skill and craftsmanship. The couple moved to Maui, Hawaii, in 2003, where John worked for The Maui Home Depot (#1703) as head of the hardware department. That experience sparked a new interest in John, and when the couple moved back to the Bitterroot in 2006 to help his aging parents, John began pursuing a degree in Marketing. He proudly earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing from the University of Montana in 2016, and he began building two online businesses. While at UM, John also pursued his artistic talent in multiple artistic medias, including acrylic, watercolor, and oil painting, drawing, and sculpture (metal and clay).
John’s online businesses were just beginning to take hold in 2017, when PBC (primary biliary cholangitis) led to cancer. John spent his last two years fishing every chance he got, raising chickens, walking and driving all his favorite spots in the Bitterroot, and laughing with and loving every moment he had with family and friends.
John is survived by his wife, Terri (Theresa) of Hamilton, Montana; his daughters Lisa (Anthony de la Fuente) and Torey (Jessy Williams); his son, Brian (Great Falls, Montana); five grandchildren (Amelia, Abigail, Micah, Bentley, and Arlo); his sister, Nancy Martin (John) of Benson, Arizona; and his brother, Pat Duncan (Kathy) of Dallas, Oregon (nephew and niece, Scott and Kelly). John was preceded in death by his parents, Gene and Helen Duncan of Hamilton, Montana.
A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Friday, August 9, 2019 at the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton.
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