H. B. (Ben) Duckworth Jr.(1945 - 2013)

H. B. (Ben)

Duckworth, Jr.


H. B. (Ben) Duckworth, Jr., 68, passed away Wednesday, August 7, 2013 as a result of complications of cancer.

Ben was born in Bay St. Louis, MS to Hubert Benjamin and Josephine Murphree Duckworth on March 13, 1945. The family moved to Jackson, MS in 1962 where Ben graduated from Murrah High School in 1963. He was a proud graduate of Mississippi State University (Go Dawgs!).

Ben began his professional life in banking with Deposit Guaranty Bank of Jackson, gaining valuable experience in finance and real estate development. Later he established The Duckworth Company fulfilling his business aspirations as a commercial real estate developer, overseeing retail developments in Mississippi and Louisiana. After a near-fatal cancer, Ben reduced his involvement in business until he retired.

Over the years, Ben was involved in many pursuits in his communities. He was a proud member of the Rotary Club of North Jackson, served as Louisiana state president of the Mississippi State Alumni Association, and led fund-raising efforts for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. He, for many years, was a member of St. Phillip's Episcopal Church in Jackson, where he held a number of leadership positions. He was also a 25+ year member of the Harley Owners' Group, and found great pleasure cruising the open roads on his Harley Davidson motorcycles with his friends. In Pensacola he was a member of the Five Flags Rotary Club and First United Methodist Church, and prior to his illness, he joined Ros as a volunteer for Manna Food Pantry and ARC Gateway.

In 2011, through Facebook, Ben reconnected with an old friend from Biloxi, MS, and in 2012 he and Rosilan Hunt Leahy were married in Pensacola, where they made their home. Though their time together was short, they enjoyed many joyful moments, and celebrated their great love and the blessings of their life.

Ben is survived by his wife, Rosilan, his daughter, Kim (husband Lynn, California); his sister, Marion Duncan (Rev. Bill Duncan, Starkville) and his special nephews, John, Mark and David Duncan and their families; as well as many loving cousins and friends. Also remembering him with love are Ros's children, John Rabon, Faith Gilliland and Kelly Dempsey and their families.

Ben will be remembered as the consummate Southern gentleman whose sweet Christ-like nature was a blessing to everyone who knew him. Blessed with a brilliant mind, he was always entertained by good conversation, politics and any pursuit that helped him grow as a Christian. He always tried to share his faith with everyone he encountered. God brought Ben through many crises, from surviving Hurricane Camille in 1969, a devastating motorcycle accident, and two bouts of cancer. Ben always trusted God's word: "For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28)

A Memorial service will be held Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 4:30 P.M. in the chapel of First United Methodist Church, Pensacola. A reception will follow in The Wright Place.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a memorial donation be made to First United Methodist Church, Pensacola, or a .

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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Aug. 14, 2013