Longtime UI Chaplain Edward Duncan Dies
A longtime associate of Monsignor Edward Duncan says he has heard from a lot of former University of Illinois athletes, who plan to attend Duncan's funeral mass last week.
Duncan, who died this week in California at age 96, was chaplain at the U of I Urbana campus for more than half a century, from 1943 to 1998.
Jack Hatfield worked at the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics for several years, and he is currently the Director of Advancement at St. John's Catholic Newman Center on the U of I Urbana campus. He said said Duncan's strong social skills made it easy for people to talk to him.
"I think he substantially impacted football players from the '50s, '60s and '70s, when he was in his prime," Hatfield said. "So you got thirty or forty years there of people who really relied upon him as a guide, as a counselor, as an adviser, whatever portion they chose to lean on his for their faith or spirituality."
Hatfield said Duncan rescued the center from near bankruptcy when he first arrived there in the 1940s.
Hatfield said the Newman Center benefited from Duncan's strong business sense, having come from a wealthy family with several business interests. He said the same social skills that helped make him an effective chaplain also made Duncan a popular the dinner guest in Champaign-Urbana society circles.
In addition, Hatfield said Duncan channeled his personal wealth into donations to the U of I, notably the Newman Center, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.
A wake and visitation for Monsignor Edward Duncan will be held in his home town of LaSalle, Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 4 PM to 7 PM at Hurst Funeral Home. Peoria Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky will celebrate a funeral mass for Duncan at St. Patrick's Parish, also in LaSalle, on Wednesday, Jan. 11th at 11 AM. A memorial mass will be held at a later date on the U of I campus.