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Collier L. Duncan

Oct 21, 2009 1:40 PM | 8 comments



The blog has fallen silent for a few days. Last Friday afternoon our colleague and friend, Collier Duncan left the library wishing us all a good weekend. Collier was not supposed to work on Fridays, but even so, he could usually be found at his desk down among the Brooklyn Daily Eagle files on a Friday afternoon. "I was coming to the library anyway, so I thought I'd swing by," he would say. It had been a week like any other. Our research assistant for the last five years, Collier had been busy, with an ever increasing load of requests for searches of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper "morgue" files, requests for microfilm searches, and a never-ending refoldering project. And then, there was the important job of keeping half of the library staff entertained.

On Saturday, we heard that Collier had suffered a heart attack and died.

Collier L. Duncan had a successful career with the City Planning Commission and in the beverage industry before coming to the Library in his retirement to help out in the Brooklyn Collection. A man of immense personal charm and warmth, Collier was the opposite of the stereotypical history buff. Although he loved digging around in old stuff, finding treasures among the photographs and making discoveries on behalf of our patrons, he was also outgoing, personable and funny.  In any line of work there are people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, often without much recognition. That was Mr. Duncan here in the Brooklyn Collection. As "Captain" of the Eagle morgue, through dogged perseverance he was often able to put together the missing pieces of a family's history. He loved to help others explore their background, and was a moving force behind a planned Genealogy Group that will start meeting in the Brooklyn Collection as of February 2010.

Collier had a great way with children and relished opportunities to join our Librarians on school visits. When he did, if another trip was planned, the children's major question would always be "Is Mr. Duncan coming back?" Collier always had a story, and he always had a smile. And now he won't be coming back.

We'll miss you Collier.





10/24/2009 3:28:56 PM #

You so beautifully captured Collier's warmth, intelligence and marvelous way with people. He was a wonderful, thoroughly enjoyable part of the Brooklyn Collection team. I will miss him greatly.


10/27/2009 1:41:53 PM #

There is no better way to honor and praise Collier Duncan than through the written word.  Collier had a passion for reading and knowing.  He was a man full of grace, intelligence, wit, and most of all love of family and friends.  (BPL you were both to him):>) His passing has awakened a need to embrace life and fulfill every single moment.  I've known him since I was eight, and I'm now 54.  I, too, once worked as a part-timer with BPL when I was 17 and as with Collier, I embraced the BPL staff that became my family and friends.  So, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the BPL for honoring my brother Collier in this most gracious manner.  He is missed, but never will Collier be forgotten.
Love & Peace,
Robin L. Glover  

Robin L. Glover

10/27/2009 5:51:25 PM #

This is definetly an honor to Mr. Collier Duncan. I have known him for over 20 years. I had the honor of calling him Uncle Collier and have been blessed to have him not only in my life but my entire family. He was family, still is. He inspired me to research my family history. I will deeply miss him, he was a blessing to all that knew him. Love you always, Michelle Swiney & family

Michelle Swiney

11/13/2009 1:20:07 PM #

Thank you, beautifully written! In the Yoruba tradition, we honor Collier, now one of our glorious Ancestors, by saying "Ase" —a celebration of the life force that is given to everything by the Creator of the universe. Collier was truly a wonderful human being.


11/19/2009 11:49:00 AM #

Collier, Clarence, and I were born months apart, all cousins, all residing in Brooklyn, and all attached to the Fergusoin clan.  Clarence and Collier went to Boys High School, where I was also scheduled to attend but my family moved to Queens where I attended John Adams HS.  Clarence was the fencer, Collier and I played football.  No individual whom I have known was more gracious, more giving, and of good cheer than Collier.  He was a magnificent friend and relative.  I'll miss his calls, "Irma, can you get the old dude out of bed?" I always thought we'd cross into our 70's together.  We miss you much!!!
Love, Oliver & Irma Patterson

Oliver Patterson

2/13/2010 10:17:15 AM #

Through family I knew Collier and Carol Duncan.  They were the couple that most admired.  I loved seeing him the mornings I was running late for work and caught the B41 Bus along Flatbush Avenue and there he was heading to the library.  Our brief conversations was a delight in the morning and always ended in a loud chuckle.  Out of touch, I learned of his death and was unable to attend the service.  I want Carol and the family to know I miss running into him on those rare occasions and learning of a new discovery he made searching through photographs and documents so excited, so happy and always glad to see you.  Last night I was talking with friends and Collier's name was mention so a search began and I found this Blog.  Great job honoring him.  Thank you. Peace, Love and Joy always Carol.

Sandra Swiney

6/8/2011 12:46:59 PM #

OMG!  - Today Collier ran across my mind, and so I looked up his name on the internet and found this site.
Collier, was my first serious boyfriend.  He was a very caring and special person.  We kept in touch for many years.
He will always be special to my heart.  

One Love,


6/8/2011 12:54:24 PM #

Today Collier Duncan crossed my mind.  I entered his name on the internet and found this site.  
I am profoundly sadded to hear of his transition.  
Collier was my first serious childhood sweetheart.
We kept in touch for many years.  I need to take this moment to say in my way "farewell dear friend".
Your spirit on this earth will be always greatly missed.
Collier will always be special to my heart.

One Love,