William Curtis ‘Bill’ Duncan

Funeral services for lifelong area resident William Curtis “Bill” Duncan will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 9 at Ertel Memorial Chapel. Interment will follow at Lewis Cemetery. Military Honors will be provided by Montezuma County V.F.W. Post No. 5231.

Visitation is planned for Thursday, May 8 , 5-7 p.m. at the chapel.

Bill was born Jan. 9, 1927, to Eva Elizabeth (Stevenson) and Lee Curtis Duncan, on the family homestead north of Lewis, the fifth of nine children.

He attended grades one through eight at the Lewis School, and Garrett Ridge for grades nine and 10. He graduated from Dolores High School in 1945.

Bill’s dad died in 1939, leaving his mother with seven children, all less than 18 years old.

In 1943, his brother Dick left for the Navy, leaving Bill, 16, the oldest boy to take of farming.

As Dick was coming home in 1946, Bill joined the Navy to avoid the Army draft.

Bill spent 2 years in the Navy and was discharged in December 1947.

The next spring he started farming and did so for the next 56 years. In June 1950, he married Berniece Sitton, an Okie girl who had moved to Cortez.

The first year they had no electricity. and made do with lanterns, and an icebox. Sept 1, 1952, they welcomed daughter Evelyn Sue.

They moved that winter to Arriola and in 1954 to Yellow Jacket on Harold Ives’ place, where he worked for Harold and farmed Bill’s mother’s place. May 29, 1954, Allen Curtis was born.

The winter of 54-55 Bill and Berniece moved to Washington. The next spring they returned to the Ives place.

December of 1955 they moved to Dove Creek, and he worked for a service station and a drilling outfit.

In November 1957, they rented a place from Roy Garlinghouse in Lewis and in 1962, bought it. August 1962 they lost son Allen. 1966 was the purchase of a farm at Dove Creek and 1967 started building the house that he lived in the rest of his life. Jan. 11, 1969, Tracy Dianne was born, followed by Kimberly Ann on September 14, 1971. For several years, Bill farmed from Dove Creek to the land he purchased at Goodman Point and land he leased near Dolores.

Bill helped form the Lewis-Arriola Volunteer Fire Department, established in 1973 and served on the Board of Directors from 1973 for over 20 years. He also served on the Montezuma Water Co. Board and the Lewis Cemetery Board.

Bill loved to camp and fish, and play horseshoes and cards. In winter, he bowled and watched his cows. From 1976 to 1993 he had three grandsons and three granddaughters, Eric, Amber, Curtis, Misty, William and Savanah. In August 1998, Berniece passed away. In November 1998, the last granddaughter, Emily was born, and grandsons Nicholas and Duncan followed in 2002 and 2004.

Bill was blessed in 2001, finding a friend in Emma Luellen. They spent most winters in Phoenix and summers at home.

They took cruises to the Caribbean, Virgin Islands and Alaska and took bus tours to Mexico and to Laughlin.

In 2007, they traveled to Scotland, Wales and England.

Bill passed away at his home on May 4, 2014. Surviving him are his daughters, Evelyn and Jim Simmons of Dolores, Tracy and Kevin Montgomery of Dolores, and Kimberly and Bruce Martin of Lewis; his sister, Daisy King of Cortez; brother-in-law, Walter Sitton (Milda) of Cortez; grandchildren, Eric Simmons and Amber Rantz (Travis) all of Dolores, Curtis Duncan (Kathryn) of Dewey, Ariz., Misty Wright, William Wright and Savanah Wright, all of Cortez, and Emily Martin, Nicholas Martin and Duncan Martin all of Lewis; and step-grandchildren, Jerrod Simmons (Brandee) of Dolores, Kevin Simmons (Kari) of La Plata, N.M., and Tyler Montgomery (Danielle), Ashley Williams (Ty), Karlee Montgomery and Kyle Montgomery all of Cortez. There are five great-grandchildren, Dylan, Michael, Levi, Loralei and Jax Rantz; and 12 step great-grandchildren. He is survived by dear friend Emma Luellen; and other family and friends.

He was preceded in death by parents, Lee Curtis and Eva Duncan; wife, Berniece; son, Allen Duncan; great-granddaughter, Cecillia Elizabeth Wright; siblings, Tom Gilliland and wife, Dorothy, June McCalley and husband, Jack, Richard (Dick) Duncan, Jeanne Reed and husband, Jack, John Duncan and wife, Helen, Peggy Roe and husband, Darrel, and Pattie Ashbaugh and husband, Lloyd; and brothers-in-law, Dean Ives and Bill King.

For information, go to ertelfuneralhome.