Cumberland Times-News


February 24, 2013


FROSTBURG — John Junior “Biggy” Duckworth, 79, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, Cumberland, surrounded by his family.

Born on Dec. 16, 1933 in Westernport, he was the son of the late John Wesley and Mary Myrtle (Norris) Duckworth. In addition to his parents John was preceded in death by a sister, Naomi “Dutchie” Ayers; three brothers Willard Duckworth, James Duckworth and Richard Duckworth; sister-in-law, Helen Duckworth, and brother-in-law Ernest Brumage.

He attended Bruce High School until 1950. He drove truck for Moran Coal Co. and Abe Feldstein until he married the love of his life Retha Derham on August 6, 1955. They moved to Sandusky, Ohio where John learned the ceramic tile and concrete trades. After a few years he returned to Frostburg to start Duckworth Brothers Tile and Concrete Co. with his brother Richard Duckworth. John is remembered through many ceramic tile and concrete projects in homes, businesses and schools across the tri-state area. In 1974 he ventured into the coal business by starting John Duckworth Coal Co. He operated in Allegany and Garrett Co. in several locations. Over the next few decades in addition to mining coal he also worked on various mine reclamation projects. John won national recognition in 1987 being honored in Chicago by the U.S. Department of the Interior with an Award for Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation. He took pride in leaving his project sites in better condition than they were originally.

John and Retha loved to travel with family and friends. They afforded the opportunity for others to share in their experiences. John loved hunting and enjoyed several trips to the mid-west with friends to hunt elk and pheasant. One of his greatest joys was teaching others to water ski and time with family.

John spent his life serving God and his fellow man. He was a member of First Assembly of God in Lonaconing where he faithfully served in various capacities including Sunday school teacher, bus driver, treasurer and deacon. He was also a driving force behind the construction of the church, parsonage, motel and Family Life Center. Along with his local contributions, John and Retha graciously hosted missionaries and evangelists in their home as well as their cabin at Deep Creek Lake. His generosity was felt globally as his heart was always on the mission field.

In addition to his wife Retha he is survived by children, Joyce Fitzwater and husband Ralph of Oakland, Darlene Smith and husband Kevin, of Frostburg, Jo Ann Broadwater and husband Terry, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., John D. Duckworth and wife Susan of Frostburg and Dwayne Duckworth of Frostburg. Grandchildren, Casey Broadwater and wife Julianna, Corey Broadwater and wife Lauren, Cayla Broadwater, Matt Smith, Tim Smith, Nathan Fitzwater and wife Kimi, Sarah Duckworth and John W. Duckworth. John became a great-grandfather on Jan. 25, 2013 with the birth of Austin Wayne Fitzwater with another great-grandson due in early March to Corey and Lauren Broadwater. John is also survived by his oldest sister, Catherine Brumage, of Frostburg. He will be sadly missed by all who loved him.

Friends will be received Friday, March 1st at Boal’s Funeral Home in Westernport from 5 to 8 p.m.

A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 2nd at Trinity Assembly of God, 19906 Old Midlothian Road SW Midlothian, MD with the Rev. George Loar officiating and the Rev. Rob Culler assisting. Friends may also call at the Church one hour prior to service.

In lieu of flowers, in honor of Liz Burke, a longtime friend and secretary, memorial contributions may be directed to the Lonaconing S.H.I.P. Program, C/O First Assembly of God Church, 17222 Assembly Ln., Lonaconing, MD 21539.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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