Family in Pampa realizes ancestor was the very first graduate of Pampa High School

Everyone is aware of who the Duncan family is in Pampa - there is a street named after them and they were among the first settlers in Pampa. There is an area in Fairview cemetery dedicated solely to the Duncan family.Jerry Noles of Pampa married into the Duncan family and has often visited the Duncan family graves with his wife. The family has always wondered about a particular headstone dedicated in the memory of Austa Duncan, wife of Ivy Duncan. “We never really knew who she was or anything about her until I got online and starting doing some research,” Noles said. Noles came across some of Eloise Lane’s articles on White Deer Land Museum’s website which shed some light on who the mystery woman was. “We found out that her maiden name was Rhoades, and that she was the very first graduate of Pampa High School. I just thought that was interesting information,” Noles said. Austa Rhoades Duncan walked the stage in the spring of 1912 and was the recipient of Pampa High School’s very first diploma. She was married to Ivy Duncan in 1915 and passed away three years later in 1918 during the Spanish flu epidemic. “We don’t know if she died from the Spanish flu or not, but we do know that she passed away during the epidemic,” Noles said. Although not much else is known about Austa or her life, the family is proud to know that she was Pampa High School’s first graduate. “It really is something,” Noles said. “I wish we knew more about her.”

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