Lawrence Duncan Jr.

TOPSHAM – Mr. Lawrence Duncan, Jr. “Larry” “Junie” “Dunc”, resident of Topsham, who passed away Sept. 9, 2021, was born in Abington, Pa. to Ida Mae Bridges and Lawrence Duncan on August 16, 1936. Lawrence grew up in Willow Grove, Pa., with four siblings, two older brothers, Lloyd Bridges “Buster” and Clarence Bridges “Clem”, an older sister, Mildred Duncan, and a younger brother, Ronald Duncan “Ronnie”.

At the age of 17, Lawrence decided to serve his country and enlist in the U.S. Air Force in November 1953. He loved life in the military and enjoyed seeing the world. While stationed at McGuire Air Force Base in 1958, he was invited by his brother, Clarence, to meet Eva Vantieal Mitchell from Philadelphia and escort her to her high school prom. When he arrived to take her to the dance and saw her at the top of the stairs in her long white prom dress with live red roses, it was love at first sight. Lawrence and Eva soon married on Dec. 28, 1958. Their first child, daughter, Darren Jermaine, arrived in February 1960.

Lawrence was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1963. But after a short time away from the military, he decided he wanted to continue serving his country. So he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in February 1964. His duties began with VA-153, an attack squadron of the U.S. Navy based in Lemoore, Calif. operating off the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea during the Vietnam War.

Later, Lawrence was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan. While in Japan, Lawrence and Eva welcomed their second child, son, Lawrence III, into the family in December 1967. In 1968, the family left Japan and moved back stateside when Lawrence was transferred to the Naval Air Station in Brunswick.

During his time at NAS Brunswick, Lawrence was a member of Squadron VP-23 and he supported numerous missions for P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft, including tracking Soviet submarines during the Cold War. He also deployed for special duty in Sigonella, Sicily. Over the years, Lawrence received many awards and letters of commendation for his military service, including the Good Conduct Medal in the Air Force and Navy, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam), Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, and the National Defense Service Medal.

After 20 years of military service, Lawrence retired from the Navy in 1974. He then began a new career with the U.S. Postal Service. Lawrence began working as a letter carrier in Portland and then worked as a mail handler. He was later promoted into management and became one of the most recognized African-Americans to serve in postal management in the State in Maine. He worked at major postal facilities in Portland and Auburn and held several management positions throughout his career, including Superintendent of the Mails, MPLSM Supervisor, Supervisor of Distribution Operations, and Postmaster. Between the Air Force, Navy and Postal Service, Lawrence devoted more than 45 years of his life to Federal Service.

Lawrence was a strong family man who centered his life around his beloved spouse Eva, his children Darren “Sissy” and Lawrence III “Larry”, his daughter-in-law, Janell; and his three grandchildren, Vantiel Elizabeth “Tiel-E”, Alexandra “Lexi” and Lawrence IV “Lance”, all of whom he adored. Lawrence and Eva raised a close-knit, loving family. He took them to car races and car shows, he attended their performances and concerts, watched their games, coached and encouraged them whether they won or lost, and he listened patiently to their stories and questions about all things, big and small, and always gave them the best advice he could. He took great pride in his children’s and grandchildren’s many talents and accomplishments and he let everyone know about them. He especially loved cheering for them loudly.

Lawrence always made special efforts to create fun and adventurous times for his family, often planning vacations and trips. He especially loved historic landmarks and opportunities for outdoor recreation and site seeing. Lawrence was a big car enthusiast, a passion that he passed onto his children and grandchildren. And he especially loved hot rods and muscle cars. He owned many sports cars over the years, including two red Corvettes — his favorite. He also took great pride in keeping his cars in pristine condition. He loved car shows and attended them regularly. He also bought and restored classic American cars and he enjoyed driving them fast. He also rode motorcycles and enjoyed taking long rides up the Maine coast with his young son Lawrence III riding on the back. Lawrence enjoyed music – especially Motown, R and B and Jazz. Since he was an early adopter of technology gadgets and the latest stereo and video equipment, he often made sure to capture special moments at family gatherings with the best music playing in the background. He loved to barbecue on the Fourth of July.

Lawrence was a handsome man with a beautiful smile. He had a great sense of humor and a memorable laugh that made everyone feel good. Lawrence was a “Man’s Man,” and his remarkable physical strength was only exceeded by his strength of character and the love in his heart.

In his later years, Lawrence fought an incredibly courageous four-year battle with cancer. He endured many highs and lows during this time while dealing with several other serious health challenges. But Lawrence handled his fight with cancer the same way he lived his life— with strength, determination, hard work, and a commitment to never give up. When many thought the end of his life was imminent, Lawrence kept moving forward with purpose and focus, bravely choosing to undergo chemotherapy while doing kidney dialysis three times a week and dealing with heart failure and diabetes. Despite his health conditions, he kept “going to work” on cancer, never wavering from his zest for life and his desire to spend time at home with his family.

Lawrence is survived by Eva Vantieal Mitchell Duncan, his loving wife of 62 years; his daughter, Darren Jermaine, his son, Lawrence III (Janell); and three grandchildren, Vantiel Elizabeth, Alexandra, and Lawrence IV.

The funeral service for Lawrence will occur at 10 a.m. on Wednesday Sept. 15 at Brackett Funeral Home located at 29 Federal St. in Brunswick. His burial service will occur at 10 a.m. on Thursday Sept. 16 at Togus National Cemetery for veterans. All attendees of the funeral and burial services must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Lawrence Duncan, Jr. can be made to the Maine Cancer Foundation.

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