Duckworth Honored at 90th Birthday Party

Thursday, August 11, 2016
James L. Magee, of Piggott Community Hospital, presents Dr. Hillard Duckworth with a commemorative trophy in honor of his 90th birthday and lengthy service to the community.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

Long-time Piggott physician Hillard R. Duckworth was honored with a party on Monday, Aug. 8, as he celebrated his 90th birthday. Duckworth, a native of the Pollard area, has practiced medicine in Piggot since returning to the region in 1955. Over the years he has delivered well over a thousand babies, tended to several generations of Clay County residents and served as an active member of the community. The party was held in the Piggott Community Hospital Home Health offices, located behind the main campus of the hospital, and was hosted by the the hospital administration.

With a large crowd of family, friends, co-workers and supporters in attendance Duckworth was "surprised" by the birthday get-together Monday afternoon.

"I was a bit surprised, but I thought something was going on," he offered with a smile when asked about the party. "I figured something was up when I talked to my granddaughter and told her I thought I'd just lay around all day. And, she told me I needed to get around and get my tail to the hospital."

The festivities began with the presentation of a commerative gift by PCH president and CEO James L. Magee. The acrylic trophy bore the inscription--"Outstanding Leadership, awarded to Hillard R. Duckworth, M.D., for providing thoughtful guidance and inspiring excellance. Thank you for leading with honor, commitment and integrity."

Duckworth was also honored earlier this year, as the diagnostic sleep center at PCH was dedicated to him as the H.R. Duckworth Diagnostic Sleep Center.

From those humble beginnings at Pollard, Duckworth attended the University of Arkansas Medical College, and spent two years of internship at St. Louis City Hospital. In 1955 he returned to Piggott with new wife, Gwen, in tow, and began to see patients, a practice he still continues with regular rounds at PCH and hours at the Campbell Medical Clinic. Gwen also served as a nurse in his practice for many years prior to her retirement. He practiced at the old Piggott Hospital prior to the construction of PCH, and has been a fixture at the local hospital since it opened in 1979.

"I'm up here about every day, making a few rounds and checking the mail and such," he said of his current schedule at Piggott Community Hospital. "And, I keep office hours a couple of days a week." No small feat for a man of his experience.

During the party a variety of staff members, fellow doctors and administrators took time to speak with Duckworth, and offer him happy birthday wishes. Several of the current, and former, members of the Piggott Health Care Facilities Board were also in attendance, along with Mayor Jim Poole and City Clerk Ramona Magee.

Choked with emotion early in the party, he later offered thanks to those in attendance and shared one of his favorite stories from his days caring for local residents.

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