Duncan F. Saal

Mon, 02/26/2024 - 8:15am

Duncan Frederick Saal, 22, of Boothbay, Maine and Santa Barbara, California, passed away on Feb. 19, 2024 with his loving family by his side.

Born in Damariscotta, Maine on Nov. 26, 2001, he grew up in the Midcoast, the greater Portland area, and spent summers in the Belgrade Lakes region. His high school years were spent in Southern California, where he enjoyed skiing with his mother and going to the beach. Duncan attended and graduated from Trivium Charter School.

Duncan’s participation in the Junior Maine Guides fostered his love for the outdoors, fish and tying flies. He was studying freshwater fish ecology at Santa Barbara City College, with plans to continue his studies at Cal-Poly Humboldt, when he was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare pediatric bone cancer, in February of 2023. Duncan was upbeat throughout the intense eight months of receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Even after a terminal diagnosis in December, Duncan in his own words chose to, “Give cancer the Stanky Leg.” He proceeded to stick out his leg and twist it around.

Duncan was not a Hallmark cancer patient. His journey was often jarring, heartbreaking, and absolutely unfair. At 22, he was dying. But, until his last day on this earth, Duncan shined his baby blues and blessed us with a smile. Many aspects of his identity were stripped from him because of his disease: fisherman, surfer, skier, fiddler, music lover, college student, hiker, bush craftsman, runner, farmer’s market stroller, thrifter, rummager of the barn, and everyone’s favorite adventurer. Yet, with his smile... Duncan gave cancer the Stanky Leg.

Duncan once said, “everyone’s a winner,” and he treated them as such - no distinctions. Medical staff spent free time and their time off with him. They knew time with Duncan guaranteed a laugh. Those on the west coast who saw his Red Sox baseball cap and exclaimed “Go Sox!” They gained a best friend. Surfers he met at Hammond’s Beach in California and Popham Beach in Maine will miss him in the lineup. Undoubtedly, his soul touched many. Painful and challenging times proved him to be courageous, light-hearted, kind, appreciative, patient, compassionate, and a friend. His presence lives on where he loved most: nature.

Duncan leaves behind his mother, Lisa Saal; his father, Fred “Pops” Saal and bonus mom, Melissa Saal of Boothbay, Maine; sisters, Fiona (Gregory) Bond, Siubhan (Steven) Smith and Sunniva Saal; his partner, Stella Gallagher; grandmother, Claire Saal; niece, Alaina Smith; and cousin, Ashleigh Saal. Duncan also has numerous other family members on the east and west coasts.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Angel Flight NE, 492 Sutton Street, North Andover, MA 01845. Duncan’s #1 wish was to return home to Maine and tap the maple trees, and Angel Flight NE made that happen.

We will be celebrating Duncan’s life at the Boothbay Railway Village on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. This is a precious place that held great meaning and was close to Duncan’s heart. He and his Dad would spend most summer days of his childhood on the four o’clock steam train. The celebration of life will be followed by his burial at Evergreen Cemetery, Boothbay Maine, at 1 p.m.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543.  Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting: