HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Community members gathered for a visitation tonight for former Hazard city commissioner Elizabeth Snyder Duncan. The first woman to hold the office, Duncan served for nearly 30 years. People we talked to say she was a faithful public servant and an inspirational trailblazer for women in Eastern Kentucky.
Family and friends shuffled in Sunday night to share stories and celebrate the life of Elizabeth Duncan. The former Hazard city commissioner died Thursday, after suffering a stroke late last year.
"We're relieved that she's at peace, because it has been hard," said her son Bruce Duncan. "We know that she's in a better place and she's going to do fine."
Bruce says his mother always placed great importance on public service. Among other things, he says she was a champion of city workers.
"Whether it was public works department, fire department, police department, and would always stand up for them and make sure they got their raises and were not left out," he said.
Duncan was elected city commissioner in 1969, at a time when women serving in public office was practically unheard-of. People we talked to say her service has been an inspiration.
"I just really appreciated her and her understanding of what I had to go through. She always stood up for what was right," said Perry County District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens.
Others remembered Duncan for her service to the church. She was a member of First Baptist in Hazard for more than 25 years and played organ for the choir.
"She was just a master at this. I was so blessed and the church so blessed, yes," said Ron Scholer, a former minister of music at First Baptist.
From her faith, to her civic service, to the way she paved the way for women, everyone we talked to praised Duncan for a life well lived.
The funeral for Elizabeth Duncan is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. She was 86 years old.