Marilyn Duncan Smith



On Sept. 23, 1927, in New Brighton, Pa., Marilyn Jean Shaffer was born. She was raised to be a generous, compassionate Christian woman — and became a devoted wife and loving mother. Miss Marilyn gently passed away on Oct. 31 at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs, Colo. She was 94.

After receiving a BA at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio,1950, Marilyn married her high school sweetheart, Spike Duncan. Together they raised three sons: David, Ross and Robert. In 1963 the young family moved from Beaver, Pa., to faraway Dallas, Texas, learned the language and strange customs, and made it their home. 

In 1969, Marilyn received her master’s degree at SMU in speech therapy and pathology. She started her career at the Richardson Independent School District and became coordinator of the Speech Therapy Program: 1972-1992. 

Marilyn was a member of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, and was an avid volunteer: initiated Volunteer Program helping children with mental disorders (Beaver County); Sunday school teacher for 15 years; a home-bound visitor for many decades; was a Daughter of the American Revolution, Regent of the Nancy Horton Davis Chapter, North Dallas; and was a Friend of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. She was a beacon to all, a teacher, social lioness, world traveler, fashion maven (considered a clinical shopaholic) — and was a pure delight. She will be missed terribly. 

Preceding her in death: parents Amy and Herbert Shaffer, of New Brighton, Pa.; older sister Maneeta Heckathorne, of Midland,Texas; husband of 50 years, MP “Spike” Duncan, of Dallas; son Robert P. Duncan, of Dallas; nephew Wendell Heckathorne, of San Antonio; grandson Tait Duncan, of Los Lunas, N.M.; second husband,George T. McCulloch, of Dallas; third husband Lt. Col. (retired Army) Jack P. Smith, of Dallas.

Survivors include: younger sister Beverely Inge Price (Ron), of Sebring, Ohio; son DC Duncan (Jaye), of Pagosa Springs, Colo.; son Ross Duncan, of Pagosa Springs, Colo.; niece Amy Sue Ray (Jack), of Hilton Head Island, S.C.; nephew Richard Inge (Marianne and children, Amy Elizabeth and Ben), of Beaver, Pa.; nephew, Gregory Inge (sons, Jeb and Jake), of Beaver, Pa.; nephew Lt. Com. (Chaplain, retired Navy) Robin Heckathorne (Kathy and children, Whitney and Chris), of Hendersonville, N.C.; all her wonderful stepchildren and step-grandchildren including stepdaughter Julia Monroe and family; close friend and confidant, Tracy Wofford, and her friends at Presbyterian Village North, Dallas; best friend, Love Decker, of Carrollton, Texas; her good friends, Carolyn Adriance and the Golden Girls of greater Dallas; and all of those who Marilyn touched in so many ways.

A memorial service will be held at the Wildwood Chapel at Restland Memorial Park (Greenville Avenue, just north of LBJ) on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 10 a.m.