Old J.C. Duncan floor finds new home
Cassville School District honors Patty Duncan with plaque for late husband, coach
When Cassville Schools Superintendent Richard Asbill called Patty Duncan and asked her to come to the October school board meeting, she had no idea what to expect.
It was a surprise to her to see about 15 of her family and friends, including her three children, waiting for her arrival in the newly-renovated board room, and it was even more of a surprise the gesture they made toward her late husband, J.C. Duncan.
J.C.'s name graces the Rock Gym, which was damaged in January when a water main broke and flooded portions of the building, also damaging the gym floor beyond repair.
When inspecting the damage, Asbill and the board members knew they would have to replace the floor, and they saw it as an opportunity to honor the late coach by presenting a piece of center court to his widow, Patty Duncan.
"Dr. Asbill said I should come to the meeting because they have a gift for me," she said. "I did not know anyone would be here, let alone my children. I thought it may be something from the gym, but I didn't know."
After the meeting was called to order, Asbill unveiled the plaque, which contains a piece of center court, a photo of J.C. and an inscription that reads, "J.C. Duncan; Cassville R-IV School District; 'Coach;' 1956-1987."
When the piece was unveiled, Patty was almost brought to tears by the gesture.
"I was overwhelmed," she said. "I had no idea it would be something like that."
A 1955 graduate of the University of Tulsa and married to Patty the following year, and for almost 54 more, J.C. was a coach and teacher at the Cassville School District for 31 years, and Patty said he would not have done anything else.
"He absolutely loved coaching," she said. "He knew that's what he wanted to do before we were married.
Asbill said he knew J.C. in his later years with the district as a bus driver and someone who was always interested in what was going on at the school.
"Coach was straight forward, fair and just a good Cassville community member," Asbill said. "He always cared about the kids and what the school was doing, and he wanted to be a part of it."
Asbill said it took multiple people to put the plaque together, including Industrial Technology Teacher Joe Schmitz, who helped put together the design, the Barry County Museum, which supplies the photo of J.C., and Sports World in Cassville, which donated the inscription."
Patty said the gesture is just a small way to show how big the community aspect of Cassville truly is.
"Cassville is just a blessed place to live, and [the school's presentation] shows what kind of community it is, pulling together whether it's bad times or good times," she said.
Asbill said making such a presentation to Patty is one of the things he loves about his job.
"I really value those types of events because you can see her friends and family there, and it's a unique event we take a lot of pride in," he said. "We value those small gestures the school can provide for her and for the community."
Asbill went on to talk about Patty's contributions to the community, which rivaled her late husband's.
"Patty sees me and my son every Sunday as we walk into church, and I hear people talk all the time about how Patty would babysit for them and how she's always around to help people. She and J.C are successful people who have a deep-rooted pride in family, and it's great to have someone like Patty to share in that blessing because she is that kind of lady."