James T. Duncan
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James T. Duncan

April 15, 1932 -

July 27, 2018

Jim Duncan was born in Chicago. He received a PhD in biology from Stanford University in 1960. He taught biology for 31 years in the California university system.

Retirement brought Jim to Ashland, Oregon. He immediately joined the Siskiyou Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO). For years he was involved with the annual 4th of July Wildflower Show in Ashland. He collected flowers for the show for many years and was organizer of the show from 2001 to 2014.

During Jim's years in Ashland he collected a large number of plant specimens. He compiled a personal herbarium of over 3,300 specimens which he donated to the Southern Oregon University Herbarium.

Jim first hiked the Grizzly Peak trail in September 1993 and during the ensuing years he made 38 trips to the top. In 2008 he wrote a Plants and Places article about Grizzly Peak for the Native Plant Society of Oregon's Kalmiopsis, which included an exhaustive plant list of more than 300 species.

Jim wrote the text and arranged for the necessary layout and printing of three brochures of local wildflowers. He was one of the unfailing volunteers at the Southern Oregon University Herbarium. For years he spent one afternoon a week working in the herbarium, verifying identifications, and annotating herbarium sheets with updated nomenclature. Jim was also an avid gardener and grew mostly native plants.

Lest you think that Jim was only a plant nut, he did have other interests and activities. He was a fine woodworker, making a large number of items to furnish his home. He was a home winemaker, making a variety of wines for over 30 years. In 2004 he took up the violin again after not playing it since high school.

In his last years, Jim suffered from a debilitating muscle-wasting autoimmune illness and cancer, but he always had a smile and a twinkle in his eye. He succumbed at last to prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Elaine Plaisance, and his daughter Sarah Duncan and her son Gareth Duncan who live in Renton, Washington.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Oregon Flora Project. Checks should be made payable to the Agricultural Research Foundation. Please include "Oregon Flora Project" on the memo line, and mail to:

Agricultural Research Foundation1600 SW Western Blvd Ste 320Corvallis, OR 97333

Printed Obituary
Published in the Daily Tidings
on August 9, 2018
Click to view a printable version