The Duckett list

{child_byline}Tricia Jones

For The News-Review

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of monthly profiles of the mayors of Douglas County. “Meet The Mayors” explores the men and women who occupy the most visible unpaid role in each of their respective cities.

Check out our pages on the first Tuesday of each month for the next profile in the series.

RIDDLE — A neighborhood tripping hazard propelled a Riddle man into more than four decades of public service.

William “Bill” Duckett found a crack in the sidewalk outside his home some 42 years ago. He complained to City Hall and the crack was fixed. Afterward, a couple of people talked Duckett into running for a spot on the Riddle City Council.

That led to 16 years on the council, which in turn resulted in Duckett’s 1994 election to the mayor’s seat. He’s been in the job ever since.

“With community service, it seems you never get through with it,” Duckett said.

Duckett won’t say he’s the best occupant for his post.

“The best person will never run for mayor, because that person has too many other things to do,” Duckett said.

Yet Duckett is not a man to sit waiting for a call to action. When a windstorm whipsawed through Riddle several years ago, Duckett headed for a building supply store. He then hiked his ladder up and down the street, rain still falling, and covered neighbors’ damaged roofs with the tarps he’d purchased.

That recollection comes from his wife of 53 years, Pat Duckett, because “that is something he would never tell you.”

The Ducketts moved from Lane County to Riddle in 1972, when Bill Duckett accepted a job as a supervisor with Roseburg Forest Products. He stayed with the company until his retirement in 2003. The couple have two grown children and share their empty nest with a couple of cats inherited from a granddaughter.

Barring drenching rain or biting cold, the Ducketts take one or two daily walks down to Cow Creek through Riddle City Park. They enjoy spotting various forms of wildlife along the way – nutria, deer, osprey and otters.

Bill Duckett is a willing cook, handy both in and out of the house. He admits to being slow with computers. After his retirement, Duckett got an associate degree in automotive technology from Umpqua Community College. He knows his way around car engines, but doesn’t get to practice the skill regularly.

“I have no time to restore a car or the space to put in in,” he said.

Besides looking after his property, Duckett enjoys carpentry work. He produces the occasional cabinet as well as plaques for his wife’s tole painting projects.

What Duckett seems never to do is sleep, according to Riddle City Manager Kathy Wilson.

“Not only does he take care of what he needs to for the city, he also is there for anyone in the community who needs a helping hand,” Wilson said.

Wilson credits the Ducketts with managing the city’s community center. Pat Duckett keeps the reservations calendar, and Bill Duckett sets up the building once the city has signed off on its use. He’s usually the last one there following an activity, be it senior meals or a baby shower.

“The staff has a lot of respect for Mayor Duckett,” Wilson said. “He has a lot of knowledge due to his tenure as mayor and city council prior to that.”

Wilson added Mayor Duckett is not a micromanager. “He trusts us to do our jobs,” she said.

Duckett said public attendance is usually sparse at city council meetings. He figures those who don’t complain are probably content with the way city business is run. He doesn’t mind after-hours calls about water leaks or other property problems. But he does wish more people would call and ask what they can do to help in the community.

Nevertheless, Duckett has few complaints of his own. He’s grateful for 76 years on the planet and more than 53 years of marriage, though he likes to say his wife is “still under warranty.”

His ideal day starts with waking up, putting both feet on the floor and watching them move.

“After that, it’s a great day,” he said.

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{child_related_content}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}Editor’s Note{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}Introduction{/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of monthly profiles of the mayors of Douglas County. “Meet The Mayors” explores the men and women who occupy the most visible unpaid role in each of their respective cities.

Check out our pages on the first Tuesday of each month for the next profile in the series.

{/child_related_content_content}{/child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}Just The Facts{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}Seven questions for Mayor William ‘Bill’ Duckett of Riddle{/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

Question: What U.S. city or state is highest on your bucket list?

Answer: Missouri, where I was born. I’d like to take my wife to some of the areas where I grew up.

Q: What’s something you no longer have that you wish you’d kept?

A: My 1965 Mustang fastback.

Q: What song title best describes your life?

A: “One Day at a Time.”

Q: You can only watch one movie for the rest of your life. What is it?

A: “War Room.”

Q: Name a skill or talent you have that very few people know.

A: Woodworking.

Q: What contest do you hope never to have to judge?

A: Ice skating. I love it, but I don’t know how they can figure the points.

Q: What five words do you want in your obituary?

A: Humorous, honesty, encouraging, dedicated, caring.

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Tricia Jones is a freelance journalist from Roseburg and a former employee of The News-Review.

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