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All in the Family

November 10, 2022 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

Among the 17,000-plus employees of Huntsville Hospital Health System, you can find husband and wife duos, parents working alongside their grown children, brothers and sisters caring for the same patient.

But few families in North Alabama are as connected to the hospital as the Duncans and Taylors.

The family matriarch, Annette Duncan, is in her 20th year with Huntsville Hospital’s Environmental Services (EVS) cleaning team. Her daughter Shirlirica Taylor and 19-year-old grandson, Zamarian Taylor, recently joined her on the Floor Masters crew that puts the sparkle in about 20 acres of flooring on the hospital’s downtown campus.

That makes three generations from the same family working side by side in the same hospital department, on the same shift, for the same EVS supervisor: Second Shift Operations Manager Elvest Watkins.

Annette Duncan (middle) started a trend when she came to work for Huntsville Hospital in 2002. Her daughter Shirlirica (left) and grandson Zamarian (right) now work with Annette on the Environmental Services Floor Masters team.

Shirlirica says being co-workers with her son and mother allows her to spend more time with them than she would otherwise. That’s because Zamarian is also busy with school and has a girlfriend; Annette is a self-professed “workaholic” who has a second cleaning job and spends her weekends as a private caregiver.

“We see each other more because we all work together,” says Shirlirica.

The family’s deep ties to Huntsville Hospital began in the summer of 2002 when Annette and her husband, McKinley Duncan, were both offered jobs with EVS on the same day. They worked together until McKinley’s death two years ago.

Zamarian was the next to come to work for the hospital, just a few days after graduating from Buckhorn High School in May 2021. He is using the money he earns cleaning floors and scrubbing restrooms to pay for nursing school at Calhoun Community College. He starts the nursing program there in January and wants to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

“Being around the hospital and seeing the medical field up close is a really good head start for me,” Zamarian says.

Shirlirica continued the Duncan-Taylor hospital employment tradition by accepting a job with the Floor Masters crew in February. A former stay-at-home mom, she says her son’s ambition to become a nurse anesthetist has motivated her to consider returning to school.

“I’ve thought about something in nursing, like maybe LPN (licensed practical nurse) or phlebotomy,” Shirlirica says.

Both of her sisters and her brother also worked for Huntsville Hospital in the past. And Shirlirica says the family’s hospital ties could grow even stronger in a few years.

“My daughter wants to be a surgeon,” she says. “Who knows, maybe she and Zamarian will end up working together.”