Rose Mary Long Duncan lived a wonderful 99 years. We lost her on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. She lived in 11 decades, from the 1920s to the 2020s.
Rose Mary was born in Antlers, VA, on June 14, 1922, the only child of Charles Henry Long, originally from Culpeper, VA, and Rosalie Crews Long of Antlers, VA. The automobile industry was just starting to boom, and in 1923 Charles Long moved his wife and young daughter to the Park Street neighborhood of Southwest Atlanta. Charles was very successful in automobile sales, and the family really enjoyed living in Southwest Atlanta.
Rose Mary attended Girls High School, a citywide school for students who had college aspirations. She had skipped a grade, so she graduated in the Spring of 1939 and entered the University of Georgia as an undergraduate in the Fall of 1939. She was a student until the Spring of 1941.
A very significant event took place while Rose Mary was in high school. In 1937, she was active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship and met one of the leaders. She was 15 years old, and the young man, Harold Owen Duncan, was seven years older, just out of college and working as a statistician for the U.S. government. Despite their difference in age, Harold was determined to make Rose Mary his wife, and he succeeded. They married on January 30, 1943, at Atlanta’s Park Street Methodist Church. Harold had just been commissioned as a U.S. Navy Line Ensign, and their honeymoon was a 24-hour train ride to Miami.
He was later stationed in Bayonne, NJ, and Rose Mary worked as a comptometer operator for Bloomfield Tool in Bloomfield, NJ.
After World War II, Harold and Rose Mary moved back to Atlanta where he resumed his Civil Service career with the Veterans Administration. In August 1947, their first daughter, Linda, was born. The family then moved to Bethesda, MD, where their second daughter, Darla, was born. Next was Memphis, TN, but by 1952 they were back in Atlanta. After renting an apartment for a time, they bought a home at 2370 Howell Mill Road in Atlanta, where they lived and raised a family until 1965.
In 1964, Harold accepted his first position as the Hospital Director at the VA Hospital in Saginaw Township, Michigan. Rose Mary stayed behind in Atlanta for a year so their oldest daughter, Linda, could graduate from Northside High School. (Harold and Rose Mary could not have anticipated that some two decades later, in 1988, daughter Linda and her family would be transferred from Georgia to Saginaw Township.)
During the year that Rose Mary and the girls lived without Harold at home, a male dog named Dusty became part of the family. Rose Mary really learned to love dogs, and Cuddles and Little Buddy became her canine companions in later life.
Rose Mary and Harold were active in the Saginaw Country Club, and she learned to play golf. She also learned to ski in Saginaw and made many friends there.
Playing bridge and shopping with friends were pastimes Rose Mary enjoyed, but cooking and baking were her passions. At family gatherings, she could always be found in the kitchen preparing the meal or adding special last-minute touches. She was known for her buckeye Christmas cookies and her chocolate chess and other pies—always with homemade crusts. And Rose Mary loved to read, especially cookbooks.
After seven years in Saginaw, Harold received an opportunity to transfer to Dublin, GA, where he was in charge of a larger Veterans Administration Hospital. Here is where Rose Mary really put down roots, beginning in 1971. Harold died in 2002, but Rose Mary continued to reside in Dublin until 2009 when she moved to Mount Vernon, MO, with her daughter Darla.
In 2014 she moved to Freedom Village in Holland, MI, to be closer to her daughter Linda. She died at Freedom Village.
Rose Mary is survived by her two daughters Linda Lee Burn (Richard) of Holland, MI, and Darla Meyers (Jerry) of Bella Vista, AR, and four grandchildren: Laura Witvoet (Brian) of Caledonia, MI, Richard D. Burn (Jennifer) of Chula Vista, CA, Jeremy Meyers (Jennifer) of Panama City, FL, and Greg Meyers of Springfield, MO. She also had eight great-grandchildren.
She is remembered as a survivor of COVID 19 in 2020, but she did get her COVID shot in early 2021--great work for a 98-year-old.
She is buried at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, GA, next to her husband, Harold Duncan, and close to her parents, Charles and Rosalie Long.
In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to your local animal shelter.