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Engineer (Professor) John Willie Kwamina Duncan (1933- 2019)


Engineer (Professor) John Willie Kwamina Duncan was born in Lagos on February 11, 1933. He was educated at St. Gregory’s College, Ikoyi, Lagos. After a short spell at Yaba College of Technology and University College, Ibadan, he proceeded to England to Woolwich Polytechnic, London University on a scholarship and graduated with a BSc Engineering Honours degree in 1959. He went on to pursue his postgraduate degrees at McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1963-1964); and Doctorate at the John Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, United States of America (1965-1967).

Professor Duncan held a number of appointments including Senior Executive Engineer at the Federal Ministry of Works and Supply, Iju Waterworks (1961 -1963); Lecturer in the Department of Community Health, College of Medicine, Lagos University (1967-1970); and World Health Organisation (WHO) Consultant and Professor of Environmental Health (1970-1993). He retired from WHO, AFRO in 1993 after 20 years of outstanding service, having served at the following duty stations – WHO AFRO, Brazzaville, Congo; Nairobi, Kenya; Lusaka, Zambia; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Professor Duncan was a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (CEng) and also a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, as well as recipient of a number of merit and outstanding awards. In his younger years, he was an accomplished athlete, representing Nigeria in the 1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. He was also an avid swimmer, tennis player and golfer.

Duncan, a devout Catholic and Member of St. Anthony’s CC, Surulere, passed away in hospital on Thursday, November 21, 2019. He leaves behind his dearest wife, Beatrice Orleans Duncan; his two children: Joseph Willie Kofi Duncan and Julitta Elizabeth Aba Onabanjo; five grandchildren: Kiki, Ivie, Remi, Ayona and Tomi and one great-grandchild, Maryann.


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