Robert Leo Duncan (Bob), 90, passed away peacefully at his home, Saturday, February 1, 2020. Bob was born in Haskell, Texas on August 20, 1929 and grew up in the West Texas area, spending most of his childhood in Haskell and Breckenridge, Texas. He was a fourth generation cotton ginner, having grown up helping his grandfather, Daddy Bill, at Duncan Gin in Haskell. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1954 with a degree in Textile Engineering. The Korean War interrupted his college years, and he entered the US Army following his sophomore year in 1951, serving with the 57th field artillery battalion in Korea.
Following graduation from Texas Tech and while waiting to begin graduate school, he took a job over the summer helping to run Elrod Gin in Harlingen, Texas. That summer was a turning point in his life. It began a wonderful friendship and business partnership with Ross Bigham with whom he purchased Santa Maria Gin in the mid 1950’s and later Electric Gin Company in San Benito in 1960. San Benito was also where he met the love of his life, Marilyn. They were married in 1961 after having met at a Christmas party just a year earlier. He adored his wife and cherished every day of their 41 years together until her passing in 2002.
Bob managed Electric Gin in San Benito until 2001 when he and Tommy Woolam purchased RGV Gin Company in Harlingen, combining their two San Benito based gin businesses into a single, larger capacity gin. He actively managed RGV Gin Company through his 89th birthday, only recently stepping down as manager. He had a passion for work and he dearly loved his many customers and friends. He was a devoted member of All Saints Episcopal Church in San Benito, where he served on the vestry and helped in other capacities. Bob was a member of the Texas Independent Ginners Association and was also very involved with the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association, serving as a Director and Secretary and receiving their Lifetime Membership Award in 2005. He and wife Marilyn were past Don and Dona of the Algodon Club. He loved the Valley from the moment he first arrived and made a wonderful home in San Benito for over 60 years.
Bob was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his son Bob Duncan and wife Patty, daughter Nancy Yates and husband Mark; grandchildren Tommy Yates, Carter Yates, John Duncan and Catherine Duncan. He was preceded in death by his wife Marilyn, brothers Bill Duncan, Mike Duncan and Jimmy Duncan, sister Nancy Williams, father Leo Duncan and mother Marjorie Dart.
The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to Alicia Rodriguez for taking such loving care of their father and his home for over 20 years. The family also wishes to thank his amazing caregivers, Maria Villa, Jesse Zambrano, Claudia Flores and Isabel Mills as well as his incredible doctor, Dr. Peter Lazzopina. The compassion, caring and friendship of these wonderful individuals were a blessing not just to their father but to the entire family.
Visitation hours will be Friday, February 14 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 15 at 2:00 pm at Saint Albans Episcopal Church in Harlingen with Father John Inserra officiating. Burial will follow in Mont Meta Memorial Park.
Pallbearers will be David Newell, Billie Mack Simpson, Mike Fitzpatrick, Sam Boswell Jr., John Mozingo and Mike McKinney. Honorary pallbearers will be Buddy Ross, James Russell, Tommy Woolam, Sterling Gray and Ernie Gonzalez.
For those desiring to do so, memorials may be made to All Saints Episcopal Church, PO Box 1948, San Benito, TX 78586 or to a charity or organization of your choosing.
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