The Lord has called home one of his most precious angels. Jean Helen Sundstrom Duncan, 87, of Clinton passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017.
A celebration of her life was held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Clinton. Interment followed the ceremony and will be held at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, Miss. Visitation was held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at Lakewood Funeral Home, and again from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jean was born in Minneapolis, Minn., on Aug. 18, 1930, to Fred Daniel Sundstrom and Violet Helen Jackson from Minn. Jean spent her childhood playing music, dancing and riding horses. She was devoted to her family and loved her brother Fred Sundstrom Jr., deceased, and her younger sister Deanna Collins of East Peoria.
Jean moved with her family from Minnesota to San Francisco, Calif., when she was a young girl and developed and nurtured a love for music and dance from her father. She soon demonstrated an incredible talent for song and dance. She began dancing and singing professionally, at a very young age traveling with her father to perform in a number of venues and later in life as a composer of children songs and musicals, most notably “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde.
Jean developed and honed her skills for piano and dance as a teenager and went on to study music and dance at the San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif. She often reminisced about traveling with her dad and tap dancing on table tops and singing at Juke joints, county fairs and family gatherings. While at school, 16-year-old Jean met a handsome young sailor on shore leave who became the love of her life. She often told how she met Walt and that by the end of the first date, knew that he would be the man she would marry. He obviously felt the same and at the end of the evening, while dancing to her favorite song, “How Deep Is the Ocean”, Walt asked her to marry him.
Jean’s father asked her to wait until she finished two years of school before marrying the young, dashing sailor. Three-and-one-half years later, her promise to her father fulfilled, Walter Jean Duncan and Jean Helen Sundstrom were married on Sept. 30, 1950. They remained together until Walt passed away on Nov. 20, 2009, after 59 wonderful years.
Following their marriage, Jean and Walt moved to Peoria, where Walt enrolled in school at Western Illinois and soon began his lifelong career with the Farm Bureau Insurance Company. Jean worked odd jobs and taught piano to help pay the bills and was soon blessed with the first of six children.
Jean dedicated her life to her family, friends and church. She touched the lives of everyone she met. Her smile and loving words, always kind and inspiring, filled with love and compassion, made life-changing impressions on those she met making their lives richer and better. Throughout her life, Jean delighted family members and friends by composing personal songs and lyrics that inspired them and helped to make the world a little less lonely and sad.
After a long career with Farm Bureau, Walt and Jean moved to Clinton, Miss., and became an integral part of the community and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where Jean was a genealogy specialist and played the church organ and piano until she passed away.
Jean was one of the rare, beautiful people, placed on this Earth to make it a better place by affecting the actions of others by sharing her love of family and church. Her selfless acts of devotion, kindness and generosity were witnessed by countless numbers of people. Jean's love for the church and her belief in God was ever present in her life and an inspiration to everyone who knew her.
Jean Helen Duncan touched our lives through her music, actions and her love for others. She would brighten the world and uplift the spirits of those in pain or less fortunate with her smile and kind words. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends and those she touched.
Most of all, Jean loved her husband, Walt, and her children, grand-children, and great grandchildren more than anything else in this world. Her entire life was dedicated to them. Her loving tradition of family reunions are legendary and family gatherings for birthdays, holidays, marriages and anniversaries is testimony to her belief in the importance of the family and her faith in God and country. She never sought recognition or praise for the wonderful things she did for others.
Jean is preceded in death by her husband Walter Jean Duncan, her son Kevin Barry Duncan, and her daughter Tammy Lynn Duncan. She is survived by her children Michael Gene Duncan and his wife Sandra of Gulf Shores, Ala., Daniel Francis Duncan and his wife, Tricia of Terry, Miss., Jeanie Marie Munn and her husband Louie, of Petal, Miss., John David Duncan and his wife Melissa of Canton, Miss., and Sheila Dennis Duncan Wilkinson and her husband Tim of Atlanta, Ga.; her grandchildren, Jeremy and Stephanie Duncan, Chris and Somer Duncan, Kelli and Josh Gillman, Ryan and Trish Channell, Jason Duncan, Matt and Amber Duncan, Joey and Sam Munn, Michel and Kandice Munn, Jake Munn, Josh Duncan, Jennifer and Brian Dunlap, Greyson and Eric Duncan, Amanda and Wyatt Oakey, and Lauren and Ross Gaudet; her great-grandchildren Trace Duncan, Caleb Gillman, Charleigh Munn, Jack Channell, Audrey Channell, Zelma Munn, Dennis Chappell, Zoey Duncan, Emmy Duncan, Ellie Dunlap, Gavin Gaudet and Penny Gaudet.
Jean would not want you to be saddened by her passing. Instead she would prefer that you remember her smile and honor her memory by sharing your love and generosity with your family and friends. Look for her in a beautiful sunset, feel her warmth in a gentle summer breeze, find her in the beauty of a rose and remember her in your heart and prayers.