North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

March 3, 2009

Person You Should Know — Omar Duncan

Omar Duncan, 85, is a retired machinist who is known as a pillar of the Kimberly community. In February, Duncan was voted the Kimberly Senior Center 2009 King, with Inez Phillips elected as queen.

• What do you do in your spare time?

Since the center (Kimberly Senior Center) opened, I spend most of my time here. In May of last year, I lost my wife of 65 years. This place here has been more help than anything I can think of to help me get over my loss.

• What do you enjoy about the senior center?

It’s small, so it gets crowded sometimes, but we enjoy every minute of our time here. And we think we have the best director in the country. I love to get in here and sing with the group. We love to sing hymns.

• What kind of work did you do before you retired?

For 20 years I did pattern work at Harbison-Walker Refractories Company in Bessemer. It was a brickyard. The last 19 years I did machine shop work. I retired there in 1986. Then for 12 years I worked at a machine shop in Kimberly — Ralph’s Machine and Welding.

• What have you done since then?

Whatever comes along. Some wood work. Just making what-nots and cabinets. (Duncan recently made some wooden paper-towel holders for the senior center.) Since this center has been open, I spend most of my time here.

• Were you ever in the military?

I’m a World War II veteran. I served in the European theater for two years, six months and 21 days.

• Do you have children?

I had two sons and two daughters. My oldest son passed away when he was 19 years and 3 days old. I have so many grandchildren that I can’t count them, and I have two great-great grandchildren.

• Do you have a church affiliation?

In 1972, I got saved and joined Kimberly Church of God. I’ve gone there ever since. I’ve worked in the church in multiple offices. I currently work at the food bank every third Saturday. I’m also an elder.

• Is there anything else about you that people should know? (Duncan pointed to a mounted big-mouth bass hanging on a wall at the Kimberly Senior Center.) That’s the biggest fish I ever caught. It weighed almost 6 pounds.

• Where did you catch it?

Smith Lake in Cullman.