Obituary for James Duncan
August 7, 1953 – December 21, 2020
James Douglas Duncan (Jim) was born August 7, 1953 in Oakland, California to June and Jim Duncan.
Jim grew up in Pleasanton, California. Throughout his childhood, his family spent their summers at the Russian River. Those long, free summer days on the river were a cherished memory. Jim swam on competitive AAU teams during his school years. He graduated from Amador High School in 1971 and went into construction, following his father’s footsteps.
In 1977, Jim married Marna Mattern from Livermore. They lived in Pleasanton with their two sons, Garrett and Chase, and Jim built his family a beautiful home in Pleasanton. When Jim retired at age 50 after 32 years in the Carpenter’s Union, he and his family moved to Grass Valley where they bought 15 acres, and Jim built another beautiful home for his family.
Jim loved many things. He loved dancing and volunteering with his wife, Marna, at Naggiar winery. He loved his family. He loved being outdoors. He was an accomplished skier. He hunted both out-of-state and at the hunting cabin he and his brother built on family property in Monterey County, sharing it with his boys, his great friend Louie Santillanes, and many others.
In his retirement, Jim helped family and friends with his building skills. He spent countless hours in his shop. One project he came back to time and time again was to make wooden hearts. He was generous in gifting these special hearts to family, friends, sometimes giving them anonymously to make someone’s day.
Jim passed away on December 21, 2020. He was 67. His family thought it fitting that Jim passed away on the Winter Solstice and on the day that the “Christmas Star” appeared in the sky. He is survived by Marna Duncan, his wife of 43 years, and his son Garrett Duncan, daughter-in-law Cameron, son Chase Duncan, daughter-in-law Susan, and four grandchildren, Sage, Jade, Lyla and Callen who brought him great joy. Jim is also survived by his siblings, Diane Wardin of Pleasanton, California, Susie Jones of Miwuk, California, and Scott Duncan of Rocklin, California and many nieces and nephews. When remembering Jim, many call him a “gentle giant” and remember his laughter.
A celebration of life will be held at the family home in Grass Valley at a later date.
Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of the Foothills or any charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the care of Hooper & Weaver Mortuary, Nevada City, CA
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