Dr. Hillard R. Duckworth

Friday, December 29, 2017
Dr. Hillard R. Duckworth

Dr. Hillard Ray Duckworth, 91, of Piggott, Ark., passed away December 27, 2017, at the St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

He was born August 8, 1926, and was the son of the late Dock and Zelma (Grider) Duckworth.

He was united in marriage to Gwen Millard on July 1, 1955, at the Third Baptist Church in St. Louis, Mo., and to this union three children were born.

His eldest son, Robert Duckworth, preceded him in death.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Gwen Duckworth of the home; children, Thomas Duckworth and wife Terri, of Jonesboro, Ark. and Laura Duckworth French and husband Gary of Piggott, Ark.; grandchildren, Matt Duckworth and wife Kristin of Little Rock, Ark., Hillary Ray French, Haley French and Hunter French all of Piggott, Ark., Tristen Pickle of Jonesboro, Ark. and Heather Noel and husband Rev. Tim Noel of Searcy, Ark.; great-grandchildren, Eli Noel, Abbi Noel and Evan Thomas Noel; a sister, Josie Brandon and husband James (deceased) of Piggott, Ark.; and many, many friends.

Dr. Duckworth graduated from Piggott High School and later attended the University of Arkansas Medical School, graduating in the Class of 1953 with honors. He did his Post-graduate training at St. Louis City Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., and established medical practices in Piggott, from 1955 until 2017. He was a dedicated physician and was instrumental in the re-opening of the old Piggott Hospital in 1955, which had been closed for months due to lack of physicians. He was instrumental and privileged to be involved and a big part of the opening of the new Piggott Community Hospital in 1980 and he practiced there until the time of his death. He saw patients at both the Piggott Medical and Campbell, Mo., clinics and was still seeing patients at the age of 91 and one-half. Dr. Duckworth was a longtime Clay County Health Officer. Dr. Duckworth loved his patients.

Dr. Duckworth was a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Piggott where he faithfully served as Deacon and Adult Department teacher. He was a pillar in his community and was loved deeply by all. He was a 50-year member of the Arkansas Medical Society and the Greene-Clay County Medical Society, serving as President and Vice-President. He was a member for 40 years of the American Academy of Family Practioneers. Dr. Duckworth was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Piggott Lodge #545, a charter member of the Sugar Creek Country Club, and a member of the American Legion. He also served as Honorary Grand Marshal of Piggott Fourth of July parade in 2016. He served his county in the Korean War in the U.S. Army Medical Corps Reserves.

He will be sadly missed by the community and others and will leave a deep void in the medical community and his family.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 30, at the First Baptist Church, in Piggott,with Bro. Rondal Richardson officiating. Burial was in New Hope Cemetery in Pollard, Ark. Pallbearers were Matt Duckworth, Frank Staples, Bill Veal, Kirby Johnson, Barry Johnson and Scot Sale. Honorary Pallbearers included members of his Sunday School Class, along with Harry Niewald, Sr., Tommy Hardcastle, Guy Brinkley, Joe Cole, Vivan Reed, Dr. Gary Dehls, Stew Dehls, Dr. Randy McComb, Dr. Larry Lawrence, Dr. Steve Pu, Dr. J.T. Dewitt, Dr. Jerry Muse, Dr. Greg Mallard, Dr. Dennis Blake, Dr. James Sheridan, Roy Whitfield, Don Roeder, Thomas Sneed, Larry Holcomb, Jim Poole and James Magee. Hoggard and Sons Funeral Home, of Piggott, was in charge of the arrangements. Visitation was held Friday evening at the funeral home.