Elzora Mary (Park) Duncan

Honored by:Charles Heggen
Brick location:F:2  map

Born: 28 January 1901, Obion County, Tennessee
Died: 29 May 1984, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa

Married: Tom Andrew
6 December 1922, Ponca City, Kay County, Oklahoma

My grandmother's ancestors arrived in America in the early 1600's and a grandfather served in the Revolutionary War, but that didn't protect her from a sometimes difficult and lonely life.

Her mother died when she was 13 and as a child she, along with her brothers and sisters, worked in the cotton fields of Tennessee and Arkansas. As a young woman, she held a job and was self-supporting, an unusual accomplishment in those days.

My grandfather worked for one of the early oil companies and soon after the birth of their only child (my mother), they moved to the oil fields and rough-and-tumble boom towns of the southwest. Always strong and courageous, she would drive by herself back to Oklahoma to visit relatives.

She was widowed when she was only 58 years old, but for the next 25 years her spirit and humor never faltered. To me, she seemed the perfect grandmother for three little boys; always ready to play ball or bake cookies or help assemble Christmas toys. I still remember her laughing at the failed wireless set.

She wrote poetry but never called herself a poet; simply wrote things from her heart. She was a member of the Iowa Poetry Association and had her work published in both Lyrical Iowa and Hawkeye Lyrics.

She kept a journal, and after her death we found the following entry dated on her birthday in 1977:

To My Grandsons - "Such stuff as dreams are made of" become reality only through hard work but you are strong and I have no worries about you.

Typically she preferred to look forward and concern herself with our lives rather than reflect on the past years of her own.

She lived to see all three of those grandsons graduate from Iowa State University and medical school at the University of Iowa. If we were strong, perhaps it was because we inherited the genes of this gutsy, feisty, warm and resilient woman who showered us with love and laughter.

Grandsons: Charles N. Heggen ISU 1975; William D. Heggen ISU 1975; Thomas A. Heggen ISU 1979