Duncan McNiff Family Fund

Dear Friends of the McNiff Family,

Duncan McNiff’s life was cut short, on June 14, 2016, suddenly at his home in Benicia, California.  He suffered a massive and fatal heart attack.  This sad news is so unexpected and so tragic.  This family’s devastating loss leaves them crushed.  This much loved husband and father leaves behind the love of his life, wife, Ikue and their three amazing children, Kana (9), Lachlan (7) and Hugo (5).

Duncan was self-employed and worked from home.  This was the perfect job because he had the flexibility to take the kids to school, pick them up afterwards, and drive them to their activities.  Daddy also prepared the meals.  He was a wonderful father and the fabulous 2016 version of “Mr. Mom.”

Ikue’s job requires that she commute 1 ½ hours from Benicia to San Francisco.  Having Duncan at home gave her the opportunity to go back to work full time.  At the moment, Ikue is unable to go back to work.  Less one income, and now a single parent, Ikue is trying to figure out the best solution to juggle home life and work.  Both of Duncan's and Ikue's immediate families live overseas in Ireland and Japan.

Besides the emotional stress, finances are a struggle.  If you can, please help support the McNiff Family get through this difficult time.  Anything you can spare will be a much needed relief for the family.

Thank you from Ikue, Kana, Lachlan and Hugo

*         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *        

Please read the following article from Greystones Guide, a newsletter from Duncan's hometown:

If ever you needed proof that death is an ass who often applies neither rhyme nor reason in his choosing, Greystones has just experienced a shining example.

What is forgivable, and understandable, is when you have two fine old Greystones gentlemen passing away in the same June week who each happen to be at the ripe old age of 94.

What isn’t forgivable, or understandable, is when, still in the month of June, you have a happily-married, 49-year-old father of three being stopped mid-life, mid-flight, mid-sentence.


Before he moved to San Francisco in 1995, Duncan was lucky enough to grow up in Greystones, a son of Gwen and Peter McNiff, sharing his good fortune with older brother, Gavin, and younger brother Bennet. In a family not exactly short on wit and imagination, Duncan somehow still managed to be the joker of the pack. That wacky sense of humor would serve this young man well too when it came to finding his place in the world.

After the traditional stints at St. Brigid’s and St. David’s, Duncan headed off to agricultural college – where his years of hard study led him to the conclusion that there were buckets of money to be made going around nightclubs with buckets of roses. And he was right.

It was hardly surprising then when, having settled in the US, Duncan became the Broccoli Baron of America’s West Coast. Like Greystones own Jolly Green Giant, Duncan exported tons of broccoli to Japan.

It wasn’t only the green stuff that was keeping Duncan in San Francisco though. That’s where he left his heart, after all, when he met Ikue, the two marrying in a Buddhist ceremony in Palo Alto in 2005. Their first child, Kana, soon followed, as did boys Lachlan and Hugo.

Suffice to say, Duncan McNiff was a happy man. Truth be told, I don’t think I ever saw Duncan without a smile on his face. And it was a smile that always suggested that he was onto something. And, quite possibly, up to something.

Which makes it all the more difficult to accept that he’s gone.  It’s disorientating when the good ones are taken early. Is this some kind of test? Is it a warning that death can strike at any time? Or maybe it’s just a simple reminder that life is largely random, and, hey, you might as well get your happy on right about now…

For those of you who would like to hear Duncan’s voice, and wit, one more time, a San Francisco friend has pointed us in the direction of a collection of audio diaries he kept, which are available to listen to on Soundcloud right about here (https://soundcloud.com/duncan-mcniff).  Wonder where that journalism gene came from…?

- See more at: http://www.greystonesguide.ie/a-few-words-on-the-tragic-passing-of-duncan-mcniff/#sthash.gzaKdIdK.dpuf

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  • Kevin Kelly
    • $500 
    • 7 yrs
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    • 7 yrs
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    • $50 
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    • $500 
    • 7 yrs
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    • $50 
    • 7 yrs
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Organizer and beneficiary

BrandiBette Smead
Benicia, CA
Ikue Suto-McNiff

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