Marilyn Duncan

Print Obituary
Marilyn Kay Duncan, of Belleville, IL, passed away peacefully in the home of her daughter, Paula, on the evening of Friday, March 15, 2024, two days after her 90th birthday.

She was born on March 13, 1934, in Cairo, IL, to Roy Andrew and Mary JoAnnette (Wright) Miller.  Her parents divorced shortly after her birth, and her mother was killed in an automobile accident when she was two, so Marilyn was adopted by her maternal grandparents, Homer and Gertrude Wright, who raised her on the family farm in Southern Illinois until Homer’s death.  She and Gertrude eventually moved to East St. Louis to be closer to family, where Marilyn met Paul John Duncan, whom she married on July 9, 1953, at St. Patrick’s Church in East St. Louis.  Paul and Marilyn had three children, Cathleen (Harry) Buller, of Breese, Paula (Rick) Carel, of Belleville, and John (Barbie Sax) Duncan of Belleville.

The family moved from East St. Louis to Belleville in 1959, where all three children graduated from St. Augustine of Canterbury Grade School and Belleville West High School.  In order to be more available to her children when they were young, Marilyn worked out of the home making and selling doll clothes and addressing envelopes for the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Later in life, she took a job working in the Pathology Department at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, where she remained until retirement.

Because she led such an isolated life as an only child of elderly grandparents, family was especially important to Marilyn.  Holidays, birthdays, vacations, and random Saturday nights were celebrated with a house full of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Marilyn will be remembered for her strong Catholic faith; she was an active member of St. Augustine of Canterbury, St. Luke, and St. Teresa Parishes throughout her life.  She studied the Bible and offered prayers for family and friends on a daily basis.  She loved following and boasting about the exploits of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom participated in athletic and dramatic endeavors.  But perhaps most of all, those who knew her well will remember what they lovingly refer to as “Marilynisms,” the most memorable being how she ended all phone calls and written communications: “Love you. God bless.”

Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Paul Duncan; her son-in-law, Rick Carel; as well as her parents, grandparents, and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, whom she treasured and cherished.

In addition to her three children, Marilyn is survived by seven grandchildren, Matthew (Jen) Buller, Andrew (Megan) Buller, Jessica (Shawn) Kohl, Meagan Winkelmann, Brandon Carel, Emilye (Nick) Lombardo, and Joshua (Mikayla) Duncan; twelve great-grandchildren, Xavier, Avery, Grant, Myles, Oliver, Isabella, Alexandra, Wyatt, Ryleigh, Maria, Scottie and Jesse; and a host of nieces and nephews who will remember her with great fondness.

In lieu of flowers, plants, and gifts, the family requests memorials be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation:  Friends may visit from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, and from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday, March 21, 2024, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.

Funeral:  A Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 21, 2024, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, with Fr. Joseph Oganda and Rev. Kenneth York concelebrating.

Private burial will be at Valhalla Gardens of Memory, Belleville, IL, at a later date.


6 Comments on Marilyn Duncan

Joan Hibdon said : Guest Report Mar 20, 2024 at 4:32 PM

I wish to express my sincerest condolences to the Duncan family. Sorry for your loss.

  • Grand Junction
  • CO
carol said : Guest Report Mar 20, 2024 at 2:57 PM

John and family: I was your mother's' neighbor in condo's across the street. and knew your mom for many years. She was a faith filled woman. She is now at peace, united with her God celebrating her 90th birthday in Easter resurrection joy. Also remember when a loved becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure, treasure her memory! Sister Carol Baltosiewich, SFCC

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Jane Drury said : Guest Report Mar 20, 2024 at 2:20 PM

Marilyn was my father's cousin and I remember seeing her when we would visit St. Louis. She was always cheerful and determined. She loved having us as family. She kept in touch a bit in the last few years. She was a wonderful person,

  • Shawnee
  • KS
Betty & Norm Meder said : Guest Report Mar 17, 2024 at 7:15 PM

What a beautiful memorial and tribute to Marilyn. She was a beautiful person inside and out. We remember so many good times with our St Augustine‘s group. She will be missed. Prayers for all the Duncan family.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Barbara Monken said : Guest Report Mar 17, 2024 at 6:42 PM

Dear John, Barbie and Family, I am so very sorry for your loss and I will continue to keep you in my prayers. You have another Angel in Heaven looking after you and your family. Love, Barb Monken

  • Swansea
  • Illinois
Shari Dahm said : Guest Report Mar 17, 2024 at 11:55 AM

Oh Paula. I’m so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Belleville
  • Il

Add Public Condolence

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.