ONEONTA – Graham Duncan, a published poet and 35-year SUNY Oneonta English professor who, with the 87th Infantry during World War II, witnessed Buchenwald’s liberation, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, following a brief illness.
He was in his 90s. His wife of 69 years, Evelyn Duncan, was at his side at his passing.
He was born in Poughkeepsie in 1922 and attended the New York State College for Teachers at Albany and Cornell University. After completing his doctorate in English, he taught for three years at Russell Sage College and 35 years at SUNY Oneonta. He retired from full-time teaching in 1991.
His undergraduate education was interrupted by the war. As a member of the 87th Infantry Division in Europe he was in the Battle of the Bulge and was at the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.
“Every Infant’s Blood: New and Selected Poems” was published in 2002. His poems also appeared in two chapbooks, “The Map Reader” (1987) and “Stone Circles” (1992), and in numerous well-known journals. He was a member of a writers group in Ithaca, where he lived for many years, and in Cedar Key, Fla., where he and his wife vacationed.
Graham and Evelyn traveled frequently and spent many happy hours hiking, often with friends, in New York State and Pennsylvania.
He is survived by his wife, Evelyn of Ithaca; his niece, Elizabeth (husband, Robert Fine) of Seabrook Island, S.C., and their three sons, (Philip, Robert and Logan); his nephew, Brian (wife, Margaret), of Kendall Park, N.J.; his cousin, Rita Gritman of Norridgewock, Maine and her daughters, (Wanda, Donna and Alinda); as well as other relatives and many friends.
He was predeceased by his parents, Herbert A. and Claire Arbuckle Duncan of Poughkeepsie; and his brother, Howard A. Duncan (and sister-in-law, Mary) of Hawthorne.
A memorial service will be held at a future date.