Nancy Elane Duncan, 82, of Blythe, passed away on Feb. 25, 2013 in Mesa, Ariz.
Nancy, who preferred being called Elane, was born on Dec. 28, 1930 in Kingman, Ariz.
She grew up in Wikieup, Ariz., often called the Big Sandy. She was the daughter of Lane and Ida Cornwall and was the youngest of six children. She was considerably younger than her siblings and said that she could never remember a time when her brothers weren't married.
Elane grew up on her family's cattle ranch and had a wonderful childhood. She would always tag along with her father and brothers during the work day, which helped her develop her outgoing and humorous personality. She was definitely a "tomboy", preferring to go on exciting outdoor adventures instead of playing with dolls or learning how to cook. She idolized her brothers, Bud and Joe. They taught her all the essential cowboy customs, along with some non-essential ones like swearing.
Elane attended grade school on the Big Sandy and attended high school in Kingman, where she graduated early, by means of correspondence. During this time, she discovered her voice for singing and ability to play the piano by ear, while participating in the Glee Club.
Nancy Elane Cornwall married Walter Worth Duncan on Sept. 19, 1948, after falling in love with him while gazing at his picture as a young soldier. They welcomed their first son, David, in 1951 and soon after relocated to Blythe. She worked as a dispatcher in Blythe's Sheriff's Office, but soon devoted her time and energy to her family when they welcomed their daughter, Jolane, in 1952. In time they welcomed a son, Walter, in 1959, followed by son, Lee, in 1960.
If that wasn't enough, during this time she was involved in the Blythe Women's Riding Club, the LDS Relief Society, and many local rodeo events. She was a top-notch barrel racer and all-around cowgirl, winning several local rodeo events.
In 1968, the Duncan Family moved to El Centro, Calif. where Worth became the Director of the Migrant Education Program, while Elane received her real estate and broker license.
During this time, she and Worth developed their musicianship and singing skills. She became an accomplished guitarist and vocalist with her own distinctive style and sound. Their country-western band would jam almost every week and play for local dances throughout the Imperial Valley.
The Duncans' moved back to Blythe in 1975, a place they always considered their home. After Worth's retirement, Elane devoted most of her time to grandchildren, music and hobbies. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Elane and Worth traveled around the country attending and performing at fiddling and music festivals. She enjoyed performing for people and she made lifelong friends during these years. She also played a major role in the founding of the Blythe music festivals.
Elane was the kindest and most beautiful person inside and out, a quality that a stranger or close family could recognize. She lost her husband in September 2012, and always looked forward to tomorrow, even though she knew her health was failing.
Elane will always be remembered and truly missed by everyone who knew her.
She is survived by her daughter, Jolane; and sons, David, Walter and Lee; 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Elane was preceded in death by her parents, Lane and Ida Cornwall (Stevens); her sisters Ila Fern, Anna Lee, Norine Aletha; and brothers Joe and Wilbur (Bud).
Services will be held in Blythe at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, at 11 a.m., on April 13, 2013 .
Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
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David, Jolane, Walter and Lee. Elane was quite the woman and she will be missed by everyone fortunate to have known her.
Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
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I lived neighbors to Worth & Elaine many years ago, she was truly a beautiful woman. May she soar with the angels.U