Duncan Doane

Duncan Doane did some important things in life even before coming to Mountview. He grew up in Edgewood, Pennsylvania, a town just outside of Pittsburgh with shady trees and steep sidewalks. Duncan’s father was an electrical engineer, himself a descendant of a big Doane lumber company, and Duncan’s mother wrote columns for journals about literature, and especially on issues of women’s health and careers. His grandfather was Edgewood’s resident Presbyterian minister, a stern but humble descendant of the Cameron Clan of Scotland.

As an adolescent in Elmira, NY, and in New York City, Duncan was interested in pet mice, electrical wires and female dance partners, in no particular order. He lived in London Terrace Apartments with his mother while attending Trinity High School, in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He spent summer vacations with his grandparents at a summer cabin along the shore of Lake Weslemkoon, in the forests of Ontario, Canada. He enjoyed swimming, canoeing, fishing, playing his trumpet, gathering ice from the ice house and shooting his rile, for which he later received multiple trophies in marksmanship.

In 1940, Duncan joined the 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard, before it was nationalized at the onset of war. While in the Army Air Force in the Second World War, he spent most of his time in the deserts of North Africa, and in Italy, as a specialist in the brand new field of radar. After the war ended, now on the GI Bill, Duncan attended USC College of Engineering from which he graduated in 1949. He met his wife, Mary at USC, through his fraternity associates of Lambda Chi. Mary would not set a wedding date until Duncan finished his engineering studies at USC, and when he did, they choose a small chapel, the Wee Kirk o’ the heather, in Glendale for their wedding. Their honeymoon was at the Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite Park. They enjoyed watching the Firefall from Glacier Point after sunset.

After they were married, they settled in the newly built town of Panorama City, the “heart of the e San Fernando Valley,” where Duncan worked as an electrical engineer at Dendix, while Mary was teaching at an elementary school. He spent most of his career at Tektronix, Inc, specializing in the application of oscilloscopes to the Los Angeles TV stations on Mount Wilson. Duncan and Mary had three children, Greg, Donna and Penny.

The Doanes moved to La Canada in the late 1960s, and, Mary developed a second interest in La Canada’s Women’s Thursday Club, where she served as president. Greg went on to study at Columbia University, then taught high school math and later went to medical school and became a child psychiatrist; Donna went to Stanford and later Yale, and now lives in Thailand working as a researcher for NGOs. Penny specialized in chemistry and toxicology at UC Davis, then did research at Berkley, and now manages a research database corporation in North Carolina. Duncan has two sons-in-law and four grandchildren. Duncan and Mary enjoyed playing bridge with friends. They traveled in their available time, with vacations to the Canadian Rockies, Europe, Hawaii and Japan. Duncan built his own stereo sound systems from kits and components, and kept up an interest in communications, from walkie-talkies to Hamm Radio. They enjoyed hiking, backpacking, camping and road trips to Iowa, Colorado and Portland for relatives and work. He enjoyed inviting friends to drink gin, eat a good meal, play cards or talk about travel, philosophy or politics. Duncan maintained his interest in astronomy and his associations with JPL, and remains fascinated by space travel.

Among favorite old musicals is “South pacific.” And he especially liked the area of Kauai where this was filmed. Together, they traveled to his ancestral towns of Tarporley, England, and Beuly, Scotland. His wife Mary regrettably passed away in 2005, which clearly diminished his stamina in life.

Until recently, Duncan was continuing his studies in French Language at Glendale City College. But if you ask him if he speaks French, he will probably only tell you “mais oui!” At this point in his life, he still enjoys his gin, good food, conversation and female dance partners. Some things never change.

 Duncan will be greatly missed by everyone he came across.

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