- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
Herman Alford Duckworth passed away Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. For over 91 years he lived a rich, Christian life and will be remembered for his sense of humor and quiet strength.
He was preceded in death by two wives, Beulah (40 yrs.) and Adeline (24 yrs.). He is survived by his children Leroy Duckworth, Lloyd Duckworth, Sharon Cloos, Carol Blankenship and Judy McClure; and Adeline’s children, Bill Curnutt and Betty Curnutt; 15 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; sister Wasene Hoskins; and brother Eugene Duckworth.
He was born on a farm in the Ozark Mountains to Jess and Jessie Duckworth on June 21, 1921. From a very young age he loved digging in the soil and watching things grow. Until the last year of his life, he continued to use skills learned from his father to make things grow – even when he was limited to strawberries and tomatoes grown in wooden barrels outside his home.
He started school in Otter Creek and was in the first graduating class of the new Thornfield High School built in 1937. Shortly after graduation, he traveled with friends to the Yakima Valley in Washington. Stories of the fertile land in Washington State were legend and they thought everything but bananas and pineapples could be grow there. The first morning in Washington, he visited the home of a former Missouri family where he met 17 year-old Beulah Humbyrd. Before returning home that fall, he spent $5 on an engagement and wedding ring from Sears and Roebuck, which Beulah wore for 40 years.
Herman and Beulah were married on June 2, 1941 and returned to the Ozarks in November. After Pearl Harbor, they settled down to farm life, living in the two story log house where Herman was born. Their two sons were born in the same house before Herman was drafted in 1945. He did his basic training at Ft. Reilly, followed by training with the Horse Calvary. Two weeks after the war ended he was shipped to Okinawa where, in typical Army fashion, he used his horse training to guard prisoners of war and drive trucks.
After Herman’s discharge in 1946, he moved his family to the Yakima Valley. Three daughters were added and in 1957 they bought a small farm north of Prosser. He was employed by the USDA from 1963 to 1983 at the Irrigated Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
In 1964 Herman sold the farm, moved his family just outside Prosser and scaled his farming down to a few acres of grapes. His 12 grandchildren have fond memories of working with him in the grapes, feeding the pigs, driving the tractor, taking turns on the crank of the ice cream maker and watching him peel an entire apple in one long, curling peel.
After Beulah’s death in 1982, Herman married Adeline Curnutt from Springfield Mo., and warmly welcomed her children and grandchildren into his family. They lived in Springfield, Mo., until her passing in 2006. Herman returned to Yakima in 2007 where he resided until his death.
Services will be held Friday, Jan. 25 at the Prosser Church of God, where he was a member for over 30 years. Services under the direction of Garry Robertson of NW Best.