Duncan Rand

Obituary of Duncan Dawson Rand

RAND, Duncan Dawson

October 28, 1940 – Biggar, Saskatchewan

February 4, 2024 – Calgary, Alberta


Duncan Rand, beloved husband of Nancy Rand (nee Daugherty), of Calgary, AB, passed away peacefully with family by his side, on Sunday, February 4, 2024, at the age of 83 years.


Duncan was born on October 28, 1940, in Biggar, SK, where he spent his youth delivering papers, contending with the backyard rooster, attending Salvation Army Summer Camps, and going on trips to the city (Saskatoon) with his Uncle Duncan in his black Dodge. An avid Boy Scout, Duncan attended the Eighth World Scout Jamboree at Niagara on the Lake, ON, in 1955 and earned the Queen’s Scout Award. He was later a member of the 300 Fisher Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as well as high school president.


After high school, Duncan enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon; this decision would be life changing. On a trip to Regina, he met a Registered Nurse named Nancy Daugherty working at Regina General Hospital and the path for the next 60 years was set. Despite the numerous courting trips back and forth between Saskatoon and Regina, Duncan did manage to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (1963) and earned a Honeyman Scholarship too, and eventually graduated with, a Bachelor of Library Sciences (1964) at McGill University.


On September 7, 1963, Duncan stood at the altar of First United Church in Nancy’s hometown of Thamesville, ON, as she walked down the aisle, and they were married. Moves came over the following decades of Duncan’s career as a librarian and library director. And children too.


Duncan and Nancy moved back to Regina where he worked at Regina Separate Schools and was Vice President of Saskatchewan Association of School Libraries prior to taking the position of Assistant Chief Librarian at Regina Public Library. Then to London, ON, where Duncan was the Acting Director of London Public Library and Art Museum. By the time the family moved to and became established in Lethbridge, with Duncan as Chief Librarian of the Lethbridge Public Library, all their children had arrived: Jacquie (d. 1966), Duncan Jr., Thomas, Jennifer, and John.


Duncan’s professional commitment over the years included terms as the President of the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, President of the Library Association of Alberta, as well as his role in the establishment of the Chinook Arch Regional Library System, The Alberta Library, and the construction of the new Lethbridge Public Library building. New library technologies brought on board during this period varied from a new bookmobile to computer and internet-based card catalogues, and new media.


Duncan’s commitment to the community was exemplified by his service and volunteer work with the Rotary International, including at the much-loved annual Rotary BBQ Chicken Dinner, which was recognized with a Paul Harris Fellowship, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and as an assistant Scoutmaster including at the Fifteenth World Scout Jamboree in Kananaskis, AB in 1983.


Duncan is remembered as a loving father who took the family on epic trips to visit the cousins in Saskatchewan at Thanksgiving, and summer holiday trips in the station wagon loaded with four kids, a dog, and a trailer in tow driving across British Columbia. Camping, hiking, burning marshmallows, listening to CBC radio on the way to Vancouver Island for a of couple weeks of sitting, reading, writing, and listening to music while kids explored and beachcombed. Winter ski expeditions were no less epic with weeks at Whitefish, Fernie, and Fairmont often with kids’ friends joining the party. When not on holidays he was the taxi service for hockey, swimming, scouts, and skiing, also trips to the library after hours to empty the book chute, a great time for kids to chase around the dark book stacks.


Duncan did find time for hobbies and personal and spiritual development. Music was an important part of this whether playing guitar and piano, singing, or listening to a spectrum of music ranging from musical theatre to Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jim Croce, to Willie Nelson and Corb Lund, and through to Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart. Duncan was an avid researcher of family history and genealogy building the Rand and Gabie family trees back into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and could often be found scouring old cemetery headstones for more data. Books and reading were Duncan’s passion, and he would usually be found with no less than a half dozen books being read at any time ranging from poetry anthologies and mysteries to biographies and spiritual texts. Duncan collected his years of insights in his writings: volumes of personal journals going back to his university days, collections of bound anthologies which can be found on the family’s shelves, and his Day in the Life of a Town which was published in 2010 and can be found on the shelves of the National Library of Canada. Spiritually over the years, Duncan studied Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Presbyterian, and United faiths and was active in the church choir and community. Spiritual studies also included Shambala and Radha houses, Kundalini Yoga and Satsang. Duncan was confirmed into the Roman Catholic faith which became central to his life in later years.


After retirement, Duncan and Nancy moved to Calgary, AB and enjoyed new fellowship and found more time to read and write, including with friends and colleagues Mango and Nimbus (the cats), volunteer with Mountain Bluebird nestbox management and banding, cheered for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and enjoyed the sun and snow on the balcony.


Besides his loving wife, Duncan is survived by his daughter Jennifer Rand of Tofield, AB, and three sons, Duncan Jr. (Maria West) of Halifax, NS, Thomas (Tracy Rand) of Calgary, AB, and John (Julia Rand) of Calgary, AB; several grandchildren, Ashley Rand (Jennifer) of Tofield, AB, Maxwell Rand (Thomas and Tracy) of Calgary, AB, Brooklyn Rand (Thomas and Tracy) of Calgary, AB, Benjamin Rand (John and Julia) of Calgary, AB, Joshua Rand (John and Julia) of Calgary, AB; and great-grandchild Alexah Rand-Johnston (Ashley Rand) of Tofield, AB. Duncan is also survived by his sister Rhoda (Allan Doll), Tisdale, SK, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.


Duncan was predeceased by his daughter Jacquie Rand (d. 1966), parents, Dawson Ellis (d. 1973) and Elizabeth Edna (d. 1960) Rand; and brother Kenneth Stanley (d. 1974).


Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church (1600 Acadia Drive S.E., Calgary, AB) on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 11:00 a.m.


Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Duncan’s family here.


In living memory of Duncan Rand, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, Ab t2x 3j3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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