Archie Ernest (Ernie) Duncan

Archie Ernest (Ernie) Duncan passed away at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital on December 24, 2019, at the age of 78. His passing was unexpected.

One of nine children, Ernie was born on September 21, 1941, in Prescott, Arizona, to Arch and Letha Duncan. He spent his childhood in Prosser and Selah, graduating from Selah High School in 1960. He then spent several years in Seattle studying at the Seattle Art College.

Ernie married Bobbi Hartsell in Selah in 1961. They soon had two children, Brad and Kelly. After living in the Tri-Cities, where Ernie managed the local CBS television affiliate, they moved to Yakima in 1970, where Ernie played a similar role with KIMA. He had very fond memories of, and many stories about, working closely during those years with personalities like T.J. Close and “Uncle Jimmy” Nolan. Ernie left KIMA in 1979 to develop a free-lance commercial photography and filmmaking business, a career he pursued happily until his retirement in 2004. During this period, Ernie worked for clients like Chateau Ste. Michelle, Chinook RV, Boeing, Boise Cascade, Yakima Bait and the Yakima Valley Fair, among many others.

After retirement, Ernie enjoyed the freedom to indulge his love of art, with a focus on watercolors. Over the past few years, he produced hundreds of pieces, many of which were featured in gallery shows in the area and on magazine covers for regional and industry publications. Local businesses frequently borrowed his works for display, and he sold many pieces to private buyers. His passion for this work continued until the end. He was also a devoted fan of the Mariners and of Gonzaga basketball.

Ernie was known to his family and friends as a profoundly kind, steady, honest, and intelligent man with a deeply artistic, creative personality, and a dry sense of humor. To his children, he was calm, reliable, and forgiving. To his wife — he and Bobbi were married for 58 years — he was loving, caring, supportive, and patient. To his friends, he was self-effacing and quick to share his broad experience in many, many areas. He will be forever missed by anyone who had the great fortune of coming to know him.

Ernie is survived by his wife, Bobbi, of Selah. He is also survived by his son and daughter-in law, Brad and Cheryl Duncan, of Fall City, Washington, and by his daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Mike Harwick, of Lewiston, Idaho. He leaves five grandchildren: Katie Duncan, Casey Harwick, Elizabeth Duncan, Drew Duncan, and Kenneth Duncan. He was preceded in death by his parents, by his two brothers, Buck Duncan and John Duncan, and by a sister, Ethel Morrison. He leaves his sisters Deanna Crate, Barbara Sorenson, Linda Stankevetz, Norma Duvall, and Donna Carah.

The family expects to hold a private service in the coming weeks, for which notice will be given. In the meantime, the family would like to express its gratitude for the condolences offered by Ernie’s friends, as well as for the kind professionalism shown by the staff of the Critical Care Unit at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital.

(1) entry

George Cccc

Oh, Ernie, I am so sad...

You were soooooooooooooo good to me after I first met you in the early 1980's.

I'd often get to central Yakima at 10:30 in the morning and then go to your studio from where we would depart for Yakima Meadows shortly after 11:00am. If I'd been in town overnight, we might go to breakfast at the then-ALmost-thriving Yakima Mall across the street before heading to the fairgrounds.

It was such fun to powwow in your paddock office between races, no matter whether it was 18 degrees out, or not. Sometimes we'd shut the door, but other times we wouldn't bother.

When the races were over, often you'd go slightly out of your way to drop me off at the fast food choice of the evening over on South First Street (and I'm sure it was you who at some point first introduced me to Miner's Burgers). Other times, I'd go to your studio while you printed the day's Winner's Circle photos and then perhaps we'd go and have a bite at Mel's Diner.

I usually needed to stand very still, in the dark, when in your studio as you were developing film, but the company was great, and I almost never happened to be in front of the garbage can which you used with impressive familiarity despite the darkness.

You were such a nice guy to everyone, and you knew your way around just about every place in the greater Yakima area, with old stories to share when applicable.

I always tried to visit you whenever I was in your area, even when racing wasn't ongoing... and of course I always wish there could have been one more chance to share stories with you as we gazed out over Selah in the years since Yakima Meadows.

I still have a 16x20 photo you took hanging above my bed, and I still recall phoning you at the oddest time, from a store that had a deep discount on a suitable frame, just to clarify that the size was precisely that of the photo you'd given me. Didn't even have to pay for the print as it was among the remains in your office once YM closed its doors for good, and it happened to be the same print I first purchased from you in 1983, only larger.

Ernie, thank you for being such a kind and caring person during the 35-ish years I knew you. The many little things you so often did for me added up SO much in that they made for some wonderful, nostalgic 'road trips' to what can be a fun little town (more so when guided somewhat by a person who knew the area).

You were worth so much over time, and I will always remember you fondly.

Rest in peace, old friend.

G. in Seattle