March 7, 1920 ~ January 23, 2011

Born in: Asheville, NC,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

William Thomas Duckworth, Jr., 90 years, died January 23, 2011 at Givens Estates Health Care Center in Asheville, NC. A life-long native of Asheville, he was the son of the late William Thomas Duckworth, Sr. and Margaret Mae Ball Duckworth and the brother of the late Margaret Duckworth Spurling of Bethesda, MD. He was the proud and happy husband of the late Mary Watson Corpening Duckworth with whom he shared 67 years of marriage and who predeceased him in 2009. He is survived by his daughter, Lynne D. Breed, son-in-law Richard P. Breed III, grandchildren Ashley B. Breed, Richard P. Breed IV and Mary-Stuart W. Breed, all of Marblehead, MA. His grand-daughter, Lindsay R. Breed, passed away in 2009. He is survived by two sister-in-laws, Mrs. Avis Corpening of Granite Falls, NC; Mrs. Jean Corpening of Salisbury, NC; a brother-in-law, Dr. Tom N. Corpening of Houston, TX; 16 nieces and nephews and 14 grand nieces and nephews. Bill was born on March 7, 1920 and attended Grace School through high school graduation. He traveled around the world for a year as the valise for his great-uncle, O.D. Revell. Upon return, he entered Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, NC where he met and fell in love with Mary Watson. He transferred to Wake Forest College, joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity and graduated in 1942 with a BS degree. Three weeks later he married Mary Watson at the First Baptist Church in Granite Falls, NC with a reception in the garden at her home. After a brief honeymoon in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Bill was inducted into the US Army and was stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC as Quartermaster Sergeant. Mary Watson joined him in 1943 and they lived there for the duration of WWII. In 1946 the young couple moved to Asheville permanently and Bill joined his father as a realtor and appraiser in the W. T. Duckworth Company. After traveling through New England to purchase antique furniture, Mary and Bill decided to build a classic Cape Cod home at 32 Maywood Road in 1950 where they lived blissfully for 55 years. They were active members of the First Baptist Church as teachers for the Youth Sunday School and Bill served as a Deacon. In the summer of 1953, he took a post graduate course at Duke University Divinity School as he considered becoming a minister. In 1954, Bill enrolled in a summer course at Harvard University in appraising. When his father died in 1960, Bill took over the management of the company as well as managing the Revell Estate. He received many designations and awards during his illustrious career as an appraiser including MAI, AIREA, SREA and a lifetime member of the Buncombe County Realtor Association. He taught advanced courses at UNC-Chapel Hill, NC as well as speaking nationally and locally at professional appraiser's conferences. He was a director of the Asheville Savings Bank, a member of the Asheville Zoning and Planning Committee, a member of the Asheville Housing Authority, Chairman of the Buncombe County Welfare Board, Secretary of the Young Democrats Club, Director of the YMCA, a member of the Greater Asheville Council. President of the Central Asheville Association, President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Asheville Merchants Association, Chief of Staff of the Rhododendron Royal Brigade of Guards, member of the Knights of the Laurel, a member of the Board of Governors of the Asheville Country Club, a member of the Asheville City Club and a member of the Rotary Club. His work as a respected appraiser and realtor helped to shape the urban renewal growth and development of downtown Asheville. Highlights of his career included the honor of appraising the Biltmore Estate and the Cherokee Indian Reservation. In 2005 they moved to Givens Estates in Oxford Commons and they shared 4 more years together there. As a couple they loved to travel and took advantage of every opportunity to do so as often as possible. They also shared a love of ballroom dancing and gourmet cooking and entertained frequently with friends and family. In 1970, Bill and Mary built a beloved cabin at Lake Tahoma, Marion, NC and christened it appropriately, "Hoot 'N Holler". Bill named his boat 'The Queen Mary" and Mary graciously prepared endless meals of freshly caught rainbow trout, bream and bass. Active in civic duties his whole life, Bill always contributed to meetings by toasting the events with his inimitable joke-telling, most notably with his hysterical rendering of "The Wide Mouth Frog" joke, delivered with perfect timing, inflection and facial expressions, charming young and old. Bill loved to hunt, fish, and camp in the mountains and enjoyed being surrounded by nature, feeding his birds and squirrels with much devotion. Some of his happiest times were spent singing barbershop harmony with his dear friends, Jim Hall and Bob Carter, and playing his harmonica at the piano or around the campfires. Fondly called "Grand Bill", his enthusiasm and gusto for life's big and little adventures spilled over to everyone he met and his generosity and love was abundant in all he did. Bill was a true Southern gentleman in every way who will be adored forever. A memorial service will be held at the Pulliam Chapel at Givens Estates at 4:00 pm, Friday, January 28, followed by a reception in the adjoining room. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to First Baptist Church, 5 Oak Street, Asheville, NC 28801, Givens Estates, 2360 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803, Mars Hill College, P.O.Box 6677, Mars Hill, NC 28754 or to Wake Forest University, Office of University Advancement, Box 7227, Winston Salem, NC 27109. Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family. Even though he was a "lefty", he lived his life right!

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Guestbook

  1. Bill’s Family, Bill did not survive his old buddy Robert Vance Carter very long. I was always amused by their annual visit to leave a few pennies on the grave of William Sydney Porter {O’Henry} at Riverside Cemetery. Regardless of age, health, or any other circumstance we are never ready to lose our loved ones. The only comfort has to come from our Faith in the Sovereignty of God and the manifested concern of caring friends. Bill was always a very gracious person and we are thinking of you. Joe Clark

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  2. Lynne, Rick, Ashley, Richard and Mary Stuart….we are so sorry to hear of the passing of Grand Bill but know he is in a better place with Grand Mary and Lindsay. With sincere sympathy, Dave, Sandy, Jeff, Lauren, Tim, Mike and Hascy

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  3. Lynne and Family,
    Our prayers and sympathy are with you.
    We will truly miss your Dad. He will continue to hold a special place in our hearts. He was most certainly, the ultimate southern gentleman and one we should all try to be more like.
    I know you find comfort in knowing he is at home with his Lord and with his Mary.
    Love,
    Doug and Nona

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  4. I AM SO SORRY TO HEAR OF MR DUCKWORTH,PASSING,I MET HIM AN HIS SWEET BEAUITIFUL WIFE A FEW YEARS BACK,,I WORK FOR CAREPARTNERS AN USE TO GO HELP WITH MARYSHE WAS A DOLL ,I ALSO WENT WITH MR DUCKWORTH TO HOSPITAL AN STAYED WITH HIM IN ER,,HE WAS A WONDERFUL MAN,I THANK GOD I GOT TO KNOW THEM BOTH,I LOVED IT WHEN I WAS THERE AFTER DINNER AN THEY WOULD DANCE TOGETHER,SOMETHING I WILL ALWAYS KEEP IN MY HEART FOREVER,,HE IS HAPPY NOW HE IS WITH HIS SWEET MARY AN GRANDAUGHTER,LYNNE AN FAMILY IM SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS AN ALSO THE LOSS OF YOUR DAUGHTER,TAKE CARE GOD BLESS ,,SORRY I NEVER MET YOU,BUT DID SPEAK TO YOU ON PHONE I AM A FRIEND OF MARY GADDY,,GOD BLESS

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  5. MAY GOD BLESS YOU WITH HIS COMFORT AND DRY YOUR TEARS WITH HAPPINESS. YOUR DADDY WAS ONE OF A KIND AND SO IS HIS FAMILY. HE LOVED YOU ALL VERY MUCH AND WAS ESPECIALLY PROUD OF HIS DAUGHTER. NOW HE IS AT PEACE AND FINALLY HOME!

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  6. Lynne,
    I was saddened to learn of your father’s passing. Of course we have not seen each other since you were almost college age and we were kids living across the alley from your family. I had the pleasure of seeing your father at Brigade functions over the years and he was such a wonderful man, a true gentleman and such a treat for all his friends. We always enjoyed his telling of a good joke. He will be missed but leaves us all with many wonderful memories and smiles.
    Love and prayers to your family.
    Thomas B. McMahon
    ‘Tommy’

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  7. Lynne & family,
    Bill and Mary were some of the kindest souls I’ve ever met. I know that they have made a great impact on the lives of so many, including my father (Richard Jacobs) and the rest of our family. I will always hold childhood memories of Lake Tahoma as some of the best times – which wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for these two amazing people! You all hold a very special place in our hearts and are close in our prayers during this time.

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  8. Bill certainly was a Southern gentleman. He was greatly admired by his peers in the appraisal field. I will always remember the good times Bill and Mary provided for our local appraisal organization at their lake house. It is an honor to have known and worked with him over the years.

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  9. Lynne,
    1966 was a long time ago but I remember your parents so well and their kindness and affection to me.
    my deepest condolences to you and your family.
    with love
    brinda

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  10. Lynne,
    1966 was a long time ago but I remember your parents so well and their kindness and affection to me.
    my deepest condolences to you and your family.
    with love
    brinda

    Reply
  11. Lynne: I’m very sorry to hear that Bill passed away, although I think he had a long and enjoyable life. My best wishes and thoughts go with you. John

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