Ray Thomas “Jack” Duncan, 75, of Levant, KS, died Monday, April 17, 2023, at his home, surrounded by family with much laughter, prayer, and love. He was born January 20, 1948, in Hayward, CA, to Floyd and Evelyn (Cranston) Duncan.
Jack was a loving husband married to Marla “Suzi” (Smahlik) Duncan for 52 years, a proud father for 42 years, and an even prouder grandfather for 13 years. He was the finest and most loyal friend anyone could want or ask for.
Jack was a patriot and a fighter and served his country proudly. He was the last remaining Special Forces from his group. Like many of his generation, he never talked about his service. His job in Vietnam was para-rescue, picking up shot-down pilots and crew members. He spent 37 months in combat, flew over 5,200 hours, lost 9 helicopters, and spent 28 days as a prisoner of war.
He received calls and letters from veterans and children of veterans over the years of those that he rescued. He didn’t do it for the recognition. He did it because it was the right thing to do.
Jack was a rail-roader and a rancher; a bull rider and a rodeo clown. He loved to ride motorcycles and was the best man at his son’s wedding. Indeed, he was the Best Man. At the end of the day, his favorite things were being close to Suzi, sitting on the porch, watching the cows and listening to the birds.
Jack could relate to all kinds of people. He never met a stranger. He could tease and poke fun, but never out of ugliness. The more he teased you, the more you knew he loved you. He loved to laugh, especially at himself. During one of his last few days, his family was sitting around him all teary-eyed, and out of nowhere he said, “Oops.” When asked what happened, he said, “I farted.” Even in tough moments, he was always joking and knew how to lighten a mood.
Ray Thomas “Jack” Duncan will be remembered as one of the last real men… rugged and stubborn, but also as a gentle giant and loyal friend, with his kind words, and a good joke.
Before he lost the ability to communicate, one of the final things he said was, “Remember, I love you all.”
Jack was preceded in death by his parents and sister Sandy King.
His love will be remembered by his wife Marla “Suzi” Duncan; son Tony (Nicole) Duncan; grandsons, Seth and Ethan Duncan and brother Mike (Cherie) Duncan.
A graveside service will take place at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, April 20, 2023, at the Kansas Veterans Cemetery, in WaKeeney, KS. The family will receive friends from 5-7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 20, 2023, at the Colby American Legion. Memorials may be made to the American Legion and sent in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701. For information or condolences visit baalmannmortuary.com