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Fern McGee Duckworth
April 28, 1917-Nov. 14, 2012
Born Fern McGee in Kirtland, as a youth she helped with her family's trading posts on the reservation, still using horse-drawn wagons.
Fern completed an Associate's Degree at Snow College Utah, then taught at a BIA reservation school.
In 1939, she became the assistant to the Farmington town manager.
In 1942, Fern was selected for the first Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Officer's Training, and was commissioned equivalent to an Army Second Lieutenant. She traveled around the U.S. for Army recruiting and military administration. In 1946, 1st Lt. McGee applied for discharge and married Army Cpt. George Duckworth.
The couple moved widely on Army assignments ranging from the Panama Canal Zone to Alaska. In 1957 to 1958, in Washington, D.C., Lt. Colonel Duckworth was in charge of ceremonial honor guards, and Fern arranged formal social receptions for visiting dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth and the Shah of Iran.
When Colonel Duckworth retired in 1970, they settled in Farmington. Fern joined the San Juan Hospital Auxiliary as a volunteer occupational therapist. She remained active in the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), giving school presentations on WWII U.S. history.
For over fifty years Fern was a prolific artisan of beautifully hand painted ceramics that decorate thousands of home around the country.
Fern is survived by her husband, George Duckworth; sons, George Jr. ""Hal"" and David; four grandchildren and two great-grandsons.
A funeral service for Fern will be 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home with Bishop Jared Lusk of Farmington 2nd Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conducting.
Interment will follow in Memory Gardens, 6917 E. Main St. in Farmington with full military honors provided by VFW Post #2182 of Farmington.
The family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to all relatives and friends who were so kind and supportive during this time. Your kindness will always be remembered.
Fern's care is entrusted to Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington, 505-325-8688.
Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home
103 East Ute Street
Farmington, NM 87401
Published in Farmington Daily Times from Nov. 15 to Nov. 22, 2012