For years, Bob Duncan donned a blue Union Army Civil War uniform and re-enacted famous battles of the Civil War with gray-clad Rebs. Bob had an all-out zest for living, an attitude that characterized everything he undertook. He was a lover of history, read voraciously, and was a bona fide expert on the war between the States. His great grandfather was a Civil War veteran who survived the sinking of the USS Cumberland in 1842.
Robert Evans Duncan, U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, Korean War-era vet, historian, photographer, builder, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District board member, civic activist, and good friend, passed away on January 29, 2014, in Santa Barbara.
Bob was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, on September 24, 1934, and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He graduated from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, with a degree in English literature, and moved to Santa Barbara in the mid-1960s. Once here, he began a photographic journey that lasted the rest of his life. His photos were featured by Noozhawk and other local media, and his dramatic pictures of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill were published internationally.
Throughout his life, Bob was acutely aware of the importance of preserving the memory of those who fought and died for his country. He was past commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, General William T. Sherman Camp 28. He was responsible for restoring the Cieneguitas Civil War veterans’ cemetery.
Bob led the enormous and costly effort to rescue and relocate the Summerland Veterans Memorial monument and flagpole from an obscure, overgrown and forgotten position below Highway 101. Once the monument was moved to Summerland Memorial Park in the heart of town, Bob ensured that monument, flag and pole were always well and respectfully maintained.
Bob Duncan was an outgoing man, a talker and a people pleaser, and his interests were wide-ranging and infectious. Golfing friends remember him as a pretty decent hacker. He founded the Slicers & Hackers Invitational Tournament to extend fun on the greens. Skiing buddies remember him as good on the downhill and even better organizing trips for the Santa Barbara Ski Club.
Bob’s gregariousness and inclusiveness, his love of life and people, attracted a legion of friends from every corner of our community. His passing leaves a gap in the lives of many.
True to his devotion to flag and country until the end, Bob requested that the Summerland Memorial Park flag be kept flying and that the wooden flagpole be kept in good repair. He also wanted good lighting for the Carpinteria Cemetery Flag near where he will rest. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Summerland Citizens Association, marked Veterans Memorial Park Fund, 1140 Eugenia Place, Carpinteria 93013.
As he requested, a celebration of Bob’s life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 22, 2014, at the Lions Club Park, 6197 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria.