John Duncan always liked to surprise people by saying he grew up in a funeral home. But it is true, when he was born, on January 17, 1948, his parents Joe and Helen Duncan were the second generation of Duncan Funeral Home owners, and John and his younger brother, JR, spent much of their young lives in the back of that beautiful rock building in Mountain View, Missouri.
John was a student leader in Mountain View Schools, graduating as the Salutatorian of his high school class in 1966. As a high school senior, John felt impressed that God was leading him into full-time Christian service, so he chose to attend Oklahoma Baptist University, and graduated with a church music degree. His senior year, he served as President of the Bison Glee Club, and went on OBU's European Study Tour. On that tour he got acquainted with his future wife, Jennifer Eighmy. They married the following year in 1970.
John and Jennifer lived briefly in Dallas, Texas, where John attended mortuary school, so that he could join the family business. During their years in Mountain View, John also served as music director of the First Baptist Church there. In 1974, John and Jennifer received what they considered the greatest miracle and blessing of their lives, when twin sons Jay Matthew and Jeffrey Mark were added to their family. When the boys were seven, John again felt a calling of God's spirit to become a pastor. The family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, for John to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1985 and was called to pastor First Baptist Church of Cassville, Missouri. John served there for 23 years and earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Denver Seminary. During these years, two daughters-in-law, Jennifer Lawson and Christa Milligan, and four granddaughters, Grace, Emma, Kate and Meredith were added to the family. One of his greatest joys was being called "Granddad."
In 2008, a change came for John and Jennifer when they felt clearly led to leave the Cassville church and serve, through the International Mission Board, as pastor of "The Gathering" in Chiang Mai, Thailand. While there, they learned to love the Thai people and culture, and began leading Missouri groups to minister there through short-term mission trips. These mission efforts continue, every summer, even now. Upon returning from service in Thailand, John was called to pastor Arnhart Baptist Church in Purdy, Missouri, where he served happily and well until his death on July 30, 2015, at age 67.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Pamela Jo, who died in infancy and by his parents, Joe and Helen Duncan. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, to whom he would have been married 45 years on August 7, 2015.
Also surviving are son, Jay and his wife, Jennifer, and daughters, Grace and Kate, of Lantana, Texas; son, Jeff and his wife, Christa, and daughters, Emma and Meredith, of Washington, Missouri; brother and best friend, Dr. J.R. Duncan and his wife, Kim, and daughters, Abby and Whitney, of Springfield, Missouri; brother-in-law, Dr. Jeff Eighmy and his wife, Catherine, and family; sister-in-law, Jaclyn Potter and husband, David, and family.
John was greatly loved and respected in the communities where he served, and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant..." Matthew 25:21.
The family received visitors on Sunday, August 2, 2015, and services were held on Monday, August 3, 2015, at Arnhart Baptist Church in Purdy, Missouri, under the direction of Fohn Funeral Home, Cassville. The burial was at Greenlawn Cemetery, Mountain View, Missouri, where John's body was carried by a Duncan Funeral Home hearse.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the building fund of Arnhart Baptist Church c/o Fohn Funeral Home, Cassville, MO 65625.
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