Verdugo Views: A tale of two active generous citizens

Two families, the Duncans and the O'Loughlins, lived next door to each other on Thompson Avenue in Northwest Glendale for several years. The two fathers, Paul and Legory, respectively, shared an interest in public service and gave freely of their time to the community.

Duncan was a member of the Glendale Kiwanis Club, the North Glendale Methodist Church and chair of the boy's building committee at the YMCA. He also served on the board of directors of Goodwill Industries of Southern California. He was part of the Quarterback Club and active in the Glendale Community Concert Assn.

Duncan and O'Loughlin were both very active in the Glendale Historical Society. Duncan served as master of ceremonies while O'Loughlin was president. Duncan was appointed to the post in October 1950, during O'Loughlin's first term as president, and held the post for three years. He was also involved with Kiwanis and was elected club president while serving as master of ceremonies for the historical society.

In an undated Glendale News-Press issue on file in Special Collections at the Glendale Library, O'Loughlin said that Duncan had given much time and energy to the duties of his office with the historical society in the previous two years and had been largely instrumental in increasing the popularity and prestige of the society.

Duncan, in the same article, said he was glad to have been a part in helping make it a success.

After Duncan served three years as master of ceremonies, O'Loughlin created a new post, “master of mirth,” to provide musical programs at the meetings.

The new post was in anticipation of relocating the meetings from the Carnegie Library on Harvard Street to the Adult Recreation Center at 201 East Colorado Street. Part of the reason behind the move was that a piano was available at the center and the atmosphere was more conducive to noise than it was at the library, noted the News-Press, Aug. 8, 1953.

Duncan was the proprietor of Duncan's Variety Store at 1045 Kenneth Road. His son, Don, who was the principal at Hoover High for many years and now lives in the Temecula area with his wife, Barbara, recalled, “we moved to Glendale when I was five.”

Before that, his father had worked for JCPenney in Redding, then in another Penney store in Washington State. “It was a farming community,” Don Duncan said in a recent phone interview, “and even though the store was successful, the powers that be decided to close it.”

That's when the Duncans moved to Glendale. “My father wanted to be on his own.” Paul and his wife, Elsie, opened their first store in the village and later opened a second one at Central Avenue and Stocker Street.

Don Duncan began working for his father when he was very young and continued to do so through elementary school and high school. “I made 50 cents an hour working there,” he recalls.

He recalled receiving his first paycheck with a hand-written note: “SS: 35 cents.”

“I was 8 or 10 at the time and didn't know what ‘taking out Social Security' meant. I had to ask for an explanation from my father. I didn't know what Social Security meant then,” laughed the retired principal, “but I do now!”

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