Pam Duncan

16 August, 19384 March, 2023
Obituary of Pam Duncan
Pam Duncan, 84, of Colwood, BC, passed away peacefully on March 4, 2023 surrounded by her family. Pam, the much-loved daughter of Jim and Gladys Duncan, and younger sister to brother Nevin, was born on August 16, 1938 in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Raised by parents who strongly valued education, Pam was an exceptional scholar who remained a life-long learner and student of the topics that intrigued her keen mind. Pam was always interested in discussing current events, history, philosophy, gender issues, religion, and more. Pam pursued her academic passions all the way to a PhD, graduating in 1968 from University of Wisconsin. After graduation, Pam moved from the USA to Canada, where she became a citizen in 1972 and took up a position in the Psychology Department at the University of Victoria. She was one of the first - if not the first - openly gay faculty members at the young institution. Pam spent her 31year career at UVic in Psychology and Womens’ Studies, retiring in 1997 as the Chair of the Psychology Department. A gifted researcher, lecturer, mentor, and graduate student advisor, it was well known that when Pam was teaching a course it was filled almost instantly. She found deep satisfaction in supporting and developing — and learning from -- her students and remained close with several of them to this day. Not only did Pam excel in academia, she was a devoted animal lover and rescuer of dogs (with a particular love of Border Collies), and an intrepid adventurer who explored the hidden nooks and crannies of the US in a Volkswagon Westphalia. Pam was game to try anything once, including whitewater rafting where our heroine nearly met an untimely end. A jack-of-all-trades, Pam and her partner of 41 years, Mary, built a Panabode log home and various other structures on their 5-acre property from the ground up. She could often be seen in the summer sawing, painting and installing the projects that made the property an oasis of calm and beauty. After the passing of both of Pam's parents, winters were spent in the Duncans’ former home in St. Petersburg, Florida, a world away from the rainforest of BC. Until the last few years, Pam drove across the US herself each year as she did not prefer to fly. Those who knew her well can attest, she led a full and eclectic life. Pam loved her friends and family, and she and Mary filled their home with warmth and kindness. Despite the distance separating them Pam remained close to both her parents and her brother. She maintained a strong and caring bond with her first partner, Kay, who lived until her death in a separate home on the property Pam shared with Mary. Pam was M.O.M. (my other mother) to Mary’s children, Helen Lewis (Greg) and Scott Petersen (Anita). She was Auggie (other grandma) to grandchildren Katie Walsh (Chris), Johnathan Lewis (Crystal), Monique Laforest (Kevin), and Marie-Elise Laforest (Peter). Pam was an advocate for the biological children of foster parents, who shared their homes and parents with other children in crisis. Along with a small group, Pam founded a not-for-profit society called VISTA which provided scholarships to help those children further their education in either academic or vocational streams. Though the society was wound up in the past few years, Pam still receives cards and letters from the kids whose lives VISTA improved. We will miss her greatly but take great comfort in Pam's long life, well-lived and well-loved. At Pam’s request there will be no funeral nor formal Celebration of Life with speeches or “fuss" - Pam liked to keep things informal; however, the family will be hosting an open house on the property at a date to be determined to allow Pam’s many friends to come share remembrances and a hug as we send Pam off to her next adventure!

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